Hartford, CT - Dov Grumet-Morris made 31 saves, to improve his record to 8-1-1 in his last 10 decisions, Saturday night at the XL Center, and T.J. Hensick had a goal and an assist, as the Hartford Wolf Pack downed the Portland Pirates, 4-2.
The win was the fourth straight for the Wolf Pack, which also got goals from Danny Syvret and Dylan McIlrath, and an empty-net tally from Arron Asham. Darroll Powe and Jesper Fast had two assists apiece. Jordan Martinook and Andy Miele scored for the Pirates.
“We believe in ourselves right now and we’re rolling in the right direction,” Hensick said. “We’ve just got to keep it going into tomorrow night.”
The Wolf Pack and Pirates complete a home-and-home set Sunday afternoon at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.
After having fallen behind 3-0 in the first period of the last meeting between the two teams Tuesday night in Lewiston, the Wolf Pack scored the first three of Saturday’s contest.
Syvret opened the scoring in a four-on-four situation at 6:40 of the first period, off of an assist from Powe. Powe moved the puck from the right-wing circle to Syvret at the left point, and Syvret moved down to the top of the circle before slamming a shot past Pirate starting goaltender Louis Domingue on the stick side.
Hensick made it a 2-0 Wolf Pack lead at 9:55, with Powe again creating the play. Domingue made a stellar save, sliding to his left, on a wraparound try by Powe, but as the Pirates’ Ethan Werek tried to drop it back to Domingue, it slid through his legs and laid loose for Hensick to bang into the net.
McIlrath then scored his fifth of the season at 14:01, to increase the lead to 3-0. Hensick feathered a pass from the left-wing boards to a wide-open McIlrath headed up the slot, and McIlrath niftily pulled the puck back before rapping it past Domingue from close range.
The Pirates replaced Domingue (four saves) with Mark Visentin at that point, and Portland would get on the scoreboard with only 8.2 seconds remaining in the period. After the Wolf Pack were unable to get the puck out of their zone up the boards, Martinook broke down the left-wing side and snapped a shot that squeezed past Grumet-Morris on the glove side.
Portland carried the momentum of that goal into the second period, in which they outshot the Wolf Pack by a margin of 14-5, but Grumet-Morris kept the Pirates from cutting further into the lead.
Portland closed to within one goal at 4:17 of the third period on a power play, with Conor Allen off for roughing. Daine Todd worked the puck to Miele near the top of the left circle, and Miele’s shot went through a screen and past Grumet-Morris.
The Wolf Pack settled things down after that, though, and Asham, who had missed 15 straight games before returning to the Hartford lineup Friday night, fired home an open-net goal at 19:12 to ice the victory.
The Wolf Pack and Pirates face off again at 4:00 PM Sunday back up in Lewiston. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1410, and on-line at www.foxsportsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Wolf Pack’s next home game is this Friday, March 7, a 7:00 PM contest against the Springfield Falcons. 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.