Bridgeport, CT - Marek Mazanec made a team season-high 46 saves for the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the Webster Bank Arena, in a 2-1 shootout win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Mazanec also went 3-for-3 in the shootout, and rookie forward Ryan Gropp had the shootout’s only goal, on his first career pro shootout attempt. Peter Holland scored a shorthanded goal for the only Wolf Pack tally in regulation, and Travis St. Denis had the only Bridgeport score. Kristers Gudlevskis made 25 saves for the Sound Tigers, who outshot the Wolf Pack 47-27.
“We’ll take that win,” said Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge. “I thought we didn’t play with our usual structure, gave up too many grade A chances, but we will take that win. There’s been a few games this season that we’ve lost and we deserved to win, and that’s usually the way the season works itself out. Our goaltender played really good, we had some good chances in the first period, but Bridgeport for the most part had us on our heels in that back half.”
The Wolf Pack had a strong first period, outshooting the Sound Tigers 10-7 and taking the game’s first lead with 2:54 left in the frame, when Holland scored with Joe Whitney in the penalty box for slashing.
After a Bridgeport pass missed connections in the offensive zone, Holland broke out on the right side, and Cole Schneider joined the play to create a 2-on-1. Holland fed to Schneider, who passed back across the goalmouth to set Holland up with an open net.
The Sound Tigers controlled much of the second period, though, with an 18-9 shots advantage, and they tied the game just 59 seconds into the second.
St. Denis worked the puck away from the Wolf Pack’s Steven Fogarty in the neutral zone, and Michael Dal Colle lifted it towards the pack net from the right side. St. Denis drove up the slot and deflected it past Mazanec.
That was it for the scoring, however, despite the Wolf Pack having four power plays in the final two periods, and the Sound Tigers putting 19 more shots on Mazanec’s net in the third.
After overtime failed to settle matters, Gropp scored what would turn out to be the decisive goal in the shootout’s second round, snapping a forehand shot past Gudlevskis on the glove side.
“In practice you do shootouts, and he was the winner of a shootout the last time we did it, and you could see, by the goal he scored, why,” said McCambridge of the decision to give Gropp a shootout nod.
The Wolf Pack continue a stretch of four straight road games this Friday night, January 12, when they make their first-ever visit to Laval, Quebec to take on the Laval Rocket. Faceoff is 7:30 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The next home game for the Wolf Pack is next Friday, January 19, when the Utica Comets return for a 7:15 contest. As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Dave & Buster’s.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 (SO) at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 1 0 0 0 - 2
Bridgeport 0 1 0 0 - 1
1st Period-1, Hartford, Holland 13 (Schneider), 17:06 (SH). Penalties-Gilmour Hfd (high-sticking), 6:26; Whitney Hfd (slashing), 15:34; Helgeson Bri (interference), 18:23.
2nd Period-2, Bridgeport, St. Denis 9 (Dal Colle), 0:59. Penalties-served by Bernier Bri (bench minor - too many men), 12:35; Johnston Bri (high-sticking), 15:24.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Schneider Hfd (hooking), 5:22; Burroughs Bri (tripping), 7:56; Fritz Bri (holding), 18:01.
OT Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Bourque Bri (double minor - high-sticking), 4:54.
Shootout - Hartford 1 (Tambellini NG, Gropp G, Kosmachuk NG), Bridgeport 0 (Dal Colle NG, Fritz NG, Beauvillier NG).
Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-9-5-2-1-27. Bridgeport 7-18-19-3-0-47.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 6; Bridgeport 0 / 3.
Goalies-Hartford, Mazanec 6-2-1 (47 shots-46 saves). Bridgeport, Gudlevskis 4-6-4 (26 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Corey Syvret (42), Terry Koharski (10).
Linesmen-Eric Ernst (24), Petr Hejna (76).