WOLF PACK WIN SHOOTOUT THRILLER OVER BRUINS AT XL CENTERJan 28, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack were forced to kill off 90 seconds of a four-on-three penalty late in overtime but were able to push the game to a shootout on Friday night at the XL Center. Jeff Taylor played the role of hero, as the Wolf Pack snapped a three-game losing streak against the Providence Bruins with a 5-4 shootout decision.
Taylor, who scored his first goal with the Wolf Pack earlier in the night, proved to be the hero in the seventh round of the shootout. He carried the puck in down the far side of the Bruin zone, before eventually snapping a shot by the blocker of starting goalie Kyle Keyser. Keith Kinkaid denied Cameron Hughes in the bottom half of the round, cementing Hartford’s victory.
The Bruins opened the scoring on this night, as Andrew Peski scored his first career AHL goal 9:12 into the contest. Matt Filipe found Peski in the slot, and he stepped into a one-timer that blew by Kinkaid to break the ice. The Wolf Pack countered late in the period, however, as Mike O’Leary would score his second goal in as many games. Zach Giuttari sent a pass from behind the net towards the side of the Bruin goal, and it clipped off the stick of O’Leary and in behind Keyser. The goal was O’Leary’s third overall on the season.
The Wolf Pack, for the second straight game, opened the scoring in the second period thanks to their powerplay. Aaron Luchuk was stationed in the near faceoff circle and took a pass from Anthony Bitetto. Luchuk loaded the gun and fired home his second of the season at 2:49 to give Hartford their first lead of the night. Like the Wolf Pack in the first period, however, the Bruins responded.
Eduards Tralmaks dumped a puck in from center ice while the Bruins were on the powerplay moments later. The puck hit the glass and bounced right into the slot, where Joona Koppanen was gifted a scoring chance. The Finnish forward deposited the puck into an empty net at 4:12, as Kinkaid had gone out to play the puck.
Hartford regained the lead less than four minutes later at 8:01 of the second period. Taylor was looking for a backdoor pass to Anthony Greco, but never connected with the veteran. Instead, the pass found its way behind Keyser and into the net for Taylor’s third career goal and first as a member of the Wolf Pack.
The third period would see the Bruins fight back not once, but twice. Jack Ahcan tied the game 3-3 5:06 into the period with his fifth goal of the season. Hughes found the defender activating into the play, and Ahcan was able to get a look in close. He buried it over the blocker of Kinkaid to even the tilt.
Hartford responded at 11:18 with their second powerplay tally of the night. Luchuk’s shot from the circle clipped the shin of Patrick Khodorenko and changed direction enough to fool Keyser and put the Pack ahead 4-3. Again, though, the Bruins had an answer. Koppanen placed a perfect cross-ice pass onto the stick of Samuel Asselin, who tapped home his eighth of the year at 16:45, eventually forcing overtime.
In the extra frame, both teams had a few chances before Justin Richards took a tripping penalty with 90 seconds left. The Bruins had a few glorious chances, but ultimately were denied by both Kinkaid and Giuttari. The defenseman made a diving block that prevented a chance with Kinkaid caught at the other side of the net.
In the shootout, the sides each struck twice in the first three rounds. Justin Brazeau and Jack Studnicka scored for the Bruins, while Ty Ronning and James Sanchez scored for Hartford. After saves by both goalies in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds, Taylor finally scored in the seventh to put Hartford ahead for good.
The Pack is back at the XL Center tomorrow night to complete their back-to-back weekend. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms come to town for the second time this season, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. Catch all the action live on AHLTV and Mixlr, with pregame coverage starting at 6:50 p.m. Tickets are still available at www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
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ABOUT THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK: The Hartford Wolf Pack has been a premier franchise in the American Hockey League since the team’s inception in 1997. The Wolf Pack are the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and play at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has been home to some of the Rangers newest faces including Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, and Ryan Lindgren. Follow the Wolf Pack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.