Springfield, MA – The Springfield Thunderbirds scored four power-play goals against the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday at the MassMutual Center, defeating the Wolf Pack by a score of 6-2.
The Wolf Pack were shorthanded nine times in the game, and had only four man advantages of their own. Jayce Hawryluk had a five-point game for Springfield, with a goal and four assists, and Henrik Borgstrom had two goals and two assists. Brandon Crawley had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, who scored the game’s first goal, only to see the Thunderbirds get the next four.
“It was nice to score the first goal, against a very good team in Springfield, but any time we had any kind of push or momentum, we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “I don’t care what league you’re playing in, you’re not going to win games when you’re spending that much time shorthanded.”
Tim Gettinger gave the Wolf Pack the game’s first lead at 8:45 of the first period, on a deflection. Steven Fogarty shoved the puck up the right-wing flank to Crawley, who moved to the middle of the blue line and wristed it at the net. Gettinger got his stick loose in front and tipped it past Springfield goaltender Chris Driedger (28 saves).
The Thunderbirds equalized at 12:25, on a goal by Borgstrom. After Hawryluk broke up a Libor Hajek pass attempt, Borgstrom had his first attempt stopped by Wolf Pack netminder Dustin Tokarski (33 saves), but Borgstrom was able to bang in his own rebound.
Springfield jumped into the lead with a pair of power-play goals in the last seven minutes of the second frame.
At 12:47, Peter Holland instigated a fight with Thunderbird defenseman Riley Stillman, after his high hit on Lias Andersson. On the ensuing man advantage, Hawryluk passed from along the goal line on the left-wing side to Dryden Hunt in the slot, and his one-timer just got by Tokarski’s left pad.
The Wolf Pack ran into more penalty trouble shortly thereafter, as Shawn St. Amant was whistled for tripping at 16:15, Ryan Lindgren was called for closing his hand on the puck only 13 seconds later, and Rob O’Gara went off for cross-checking at 17:27.
Julian Melchiori was the beneficiary of an extended Thunderbird two-man advantage, as he scored at 18:18 to make it 3-1. Once again it was Hawryluk with the setup, as he dished from the left side to Melchiori at the top of the opposite circle, and Melchiori’s hard drive hit Hajek’s stick and re-directed past Tokarski.
The Springfield power play bagged its third of the game only 2:32 into the third, after O’Gara was sent off for high-sticking at 1:48. Hawryluk turned finisher this time, as Tokarski stopped a shot by Borgstrom, but the rebound glanced off of Lindgren’s skate to a wide-open Hawryluk in front, and he easily snapped it in.
The Wolf Pack man-advantage unit got that goal back only 2:24 later, at 4:56, with Jake Horton off for interference. Crawley got the goal, on a shot from the left point, with Fogarty screening Driedger.
Another Thunderbird power-play marker would effectively put the game away, though, at 14:05, after a cross-checking call against Holland at 12:58. Hunt got his second of the game off of a Hawryluk pass, as Hunt’s bid from the side of the goal mouth, to Tokarski’s left, appeared to hit off O’Gara on its way into the net.
The Wolf Pack pulled Tokarski, while on a power play of their own, with just under four minutes left, but Borgstrom would ice the game with an empty-net goal at 18:06, intercepting a cross-ice pass attempt by Andersson in the Hartford zone and putting the puck into the vacated cage.
The Wolf Pack continue a stretch of five straight games on the road this Friday, November 2, when they travel to Wilkes-Barre, PA to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. 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 theahl.com/AHLTV.
The Wolf Pack’s next home game is also against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Saturday, November 10 at 7:00. That is “Country Night” at the XL Center, and tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack 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. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.