WOLF PACK’S COMEBACK BID FALLS SHORT, BRUINS FORCE GAME FOUR WITH 6-3 DECISIONMay 3, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – After taking the first two games of the Atlantic Division Semifinals on the road, the Hartford Wolf Pack returned to the XL Center on Wednesday night eyeing a sweep of the Providence Bruins. The Pack challenged Providence late, but the Bruins stifled the comeback attempt, forcing Game Four with a 6-3 decision.
Jack Achan potted his first career playoff goal about six minutes into the final stanza. Achan intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, sped towards the Hartford net on a breakaway opportunity, and ripped a wrist shot under the glove of Dylan Garand and into the Hartford net. The goal made the score 4-2 at the time and stood as the eventual game-winning tally.
Providence broke the ice just under the 16-minute mark of the first period. With Libor Hájek in the penalty box for tripping, a scrum for a loose puck ensued in front of the Hartford net. Garand denied Connor Carrick’s initial attempt, but Justin Brazeau collected the rebound and slid the puck through the five-hole, giving Providence a lead they would not give up. The goal was Brazeau’s first career Calder Cup Playoff goal.
Oskar Steen stretched the lead to two just before the final buzzer of the opening stanza. John Beecher won a battle along the wall and found Fabian Lysell in the right-wing circle. Lysell fed the puck to Josiah Didier at the blue line, and the Providence captain stepped into a shot that was redirected into the net by Steen. The shot beat the buzzer by .2 seconds and put the Bruins up by two heading into the second period.
Providence gained their biggest lead of the night just over 14 minutes into the second period. Zac Jones was sent to the box for tripping, setting up the second Bruins powerplay of the night. In the waning seconds of the man advantage, Luke Toporowski managed to sneak behind the Wolf Pack defense and flip a shot that beat Garand on the short side, giving the Bruins a three-goal lead.
Jones finally put the Wolf Pack on the board at 19:35 of the middle stanza. Penalties to Steen, Joona Koppanen, and Adam Clendening initiated a four-on-three powerplay for Hartford. Jake Leschyshyn won a faceoff in the Providence zone, and Jones corralled the puck. Jones blasted a one-timer that Brandon Bussi never saw, cutting the lead to two heading into the final stanza.
Hartford stayed hot to begin the third period. With Clendening still in the box serving a five-minute major for interference, Hájek rimmed the puck around the boards to clear it. Anton Blidh won a footrace for the puck and blasted a shot that Bussi denied with the blocker. Tim Gettinger tipped the puck towards the goal and Blidh attempted to jam it home but was again denied.
Finally, the rebound bounced to Gettinger, who stepped into a blast that beat the Providence netminder to bring the Wolf Pack within one. The goal was Gettinger’s second career playoff marker.
Achan converted on the breakaway at 5:58, putting the game out of reach for good.
The Wolf Pack drew back within one at 13:34, as Lauri Pajuniemi tipped a pass from Tanner Fritz over Bussi for his team-leading third goal of the playoffs.
Pajuniemi was again set up with a glorious opportunity, but Bussi flashed the leather to keep the Bruins ahead by a goal late in regulation time. The Bruins would then get a pair of empty net goals from Brazeau and Vinni Lettieri to cement the victory.
Game Four of the Atlantic Division Semifinals between the Wolf Pack and the Bruins is now set for this Friday, May 5th, at the XL Center. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. To get tickets, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com/tickets/playoff-information.
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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.