Hershey, PA - The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind 2-0 to the Hershey Bears Saturday night at Giant Center and never quite recovered, losing 4-2.
Veterans Nicklas Jensen and Chris Summers scored for the Wolf Pack, who twice closed to within one goal. Travis Boyd and Christian Djoos had first-period tallies for Hershey, and Paul Carey scored the eventual winner in the second period. Riley Barber added an empty-net goal.
“I thought we got off to a slow start,” Summers said. “Starts have been something that we’ve been focusing on, and for whatever reason we just can’t seem to put that first ten minutes together. I think that’s a pretty important piece of the game, and you see we get down early and it’s climbing our way back the rest of the game.”
Boyd got a break to open the scoring at 7:57 of the first, capitalizing on a mistake by Wolf Pack goaltender Brandon Halverson (18 saves). Halverson stepped behind his net to try to clear the puck around the boards to his left, but Boyd cut the feed off and quickly rapped it into the vacated net before Halverson could get back.
Djoos then doubled the lead with 1:49 remaining in the period, on his seventh goal of the year. Djoos moved down from his left-point position and got a pass from Chris Bourque, who had dropped back to cover the point. Djoos then cut to his right and put a backhanded shot past Halverson on the glove side.
The two teams traded goals in the second period, with Jensen increasing his team-leading total to 21 for the Wolf Pack and Carey responding for Hershey.
Jensen got the Wolf Pack on the board with a fine individual effort at 8:28. He picked up the puck near his own blue line and carried up the right side into the Bear zone. Jensen then cut towards the middle and, using Bear defenseman Darren Dietz as a screen, zipped a snap shot into the top corner on the glove side of Hershey netminder Parker Milner (23 saves).
The Wolf Pack would give up a late goal for a second straight period, though, as Carey restored the Bears’ two-goal advantage at 17:38 of the second. After Brad Malone forechecked the puck away from John Gilmour, a pass went off of Marek Hrivik’s stick to Carey, and his close-in shot from the left side went off of Halverson and in.
That goal would turn out to be the difference, as Summers cut the margin back to one at 4:54 of the third period with his fourth goal of the season. Allen McPherson passed the puck into the goal mouth from the left side and Summers jammed it at the net. His bid went off of Milner and slid between his legs and just over the goal line.
That would be as close as the Wolf Pack could get, though, as Barber iced the game with 1:01 remaining, after Halverson was pulled for an extra attacker. Jensen was knocked down along the right-wing boards in the Hershey end and Hubert Labrie cleared the puck just wide of the Hartford net. Barber beat the Wolf Pack into the zone to prevent an icing, and hooked the puck out from behind the goal and stuffed it in.
The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Friday night, February 17, the first of back-to-back games in Allentown, PA vs. the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Faceoff is 7:05 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 Wolf Pack home game is next Sunday, February 19 vs. the Springfield Thunderbirds. That is a 5:00 game, and it’s “Sonar Saves Pet Adoption Night”. Fans can take a look at a number of Sonar’s lovable little friends who are in need of good homes with loving families. That is also another “Click It or Ticket Family Value Pack” game. The Family Value Pack includes two tickets, two sodas and two hot dogs, all for just $40.
Tickets for all remaining Wolf Pack 2016-17 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 2016-17 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.