Hartford, CT - Third-period goals by Danny Kristo, Dylan McIlrath and Oscar Lindberg broke open a 1-1 game Wednesday night at the XL Center, and gave the Hartford Wolf Pack a 4-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The win improved the Wolf Pack’s record to 27-29-1-6 for 61 points and moved Hartford one point ahead of Bridgeport for third place in the Northeast Division.
Micheal Haley also scored for the Wolf Pack, and Dov Grumet-Morris stopped 28 out of 29 shots. Jesse Root, playing his first pro game out of Yale University, had Bridgeport’s only goal.
“You could say it’s kind of like a miniature version of our season,” Grumet-Morris said of Wednesday’s game, “in the sense that in the beginning of the year we weren’t really on track and then we picked it up and played better in the last third of the season.”
The game-winning goal came 2:11 into the third frame, as Ryan Bourque fended off Bridgeport defenseman Scott Mayfield in the left-wing corner and passed the puck toward the slot. Kristo deflected it into the air and over Sound Tiger goaltender Kevin Poulin (20 saves). The puck came down and hit Poulin’s left skate and went into the net.
McIlrath then scored his sixth of the year at 9:18 to give the Wolf Pack a two-goal lead. Nick Latta, making his pro debut after signing an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement with the Wolf Pack Tuesday, won a faceoff in the offensive zone to Danny Syvret at the right point. Syvret handed to McIlrath at the middle of the blue line and, as Latta headed to the front of the net to screen Poulin, McIlrath drove a 65-foot shot past Poulin’s right pad.
Lindberg created the final margin with an empty-net goal with 1:07 remaining, making it a three-goal third period for the Wolf Pack, who were outshot 15-7 in the third.
Bridgeport got the only goal of the first period, off of a rush at 13:07.
Aaron Ness sent Mayfield down the right side with a pass, and Mayfield slammed a shot on goal from near the faceoff dot. Grumet-Morris made the save, but the rebound went into the middle and Root had the puck go off of him and in, after he was knocked down and slid into the net.
The Wolf Pack then scored the only goal of the second frame, and it was Haley, a former Sound Tiger, tying the game at 11:20. Lindberg forechecked Bridgeport defenseman Jake Newton off the puck near the left faceoff dot, and Lindberg fed to Haley in front. Poulin got a leg on Haley’s shot as it went under his pads, but could not keep the puck out of the net.
The Wolf Pack are back in action on home ice this Friday, March 21, a 7:00 PM contest against St. John’s IceCaps. The first 5,000 fans into that game receive a Wolf Pack team poster, courtesy of LAZ, and all Wolf Pack Friday-night home games feature $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period, presented by Marc’s Appliance Warehouse, located at 75 Prospect Ave., Hartford, CT.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2013-14 home games are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger. To speak with a representative about season or group tickets, call (855) 762-6451.