Springfield, MA - A three-goal second period propelled the Springfield Thunderbirds to a 5-1 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack Monday at the MassMutual Center, in a Martin Luther King Day holiday matinee.
Dryden Hunt, Chase Balisy and Curtis Valk all scored in the second for the Thunderbirds, who outshot the Wolf Pack 25-2 in the middle frame. The victory was Springfield’s fourth straight, and the Wolf Pack suffered its third consecutive loss, coming off of a road trip Friday and Saturday nights to Laval and Belleville.
“We felt we needed to give ourselves a chance to get into this game, after the last few days, with travel,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “But the second period, lots of speed, lots of pressure, and we weren’t able to handle it. I thought the third (period) was better. But at the end of the day, the second period, regardless of whether a team is playing its best that it has all season, as Springfield is, or not, we’ve got to make sure that there’s a better management of pucks, and more pucks going to the front of their net, than what we generated.”
After the two clubs traded goals in an evenly-played first period, Springfield grabbed the lead for good at the 11:17 mark of the second, with Hunt scoring from the right-wing circle. After Hartford’s John Gilmour had a pass blocked near the blue line, Valk was able to get a feed from the high slot to Hunt for the goal.
Chase Balisy then made it a two-goal lead at 15:41, poking the puck out from underneath Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec (38 saves), after a wraparound bid by Josh Brown went off of Balisy’s stick.
A puckhandling mistake by Mazanec led to another Thunderbird goal at 18:21, with Valk the beneficiary. Mazanec moved towards the corner to his right to play the puck, but Jayce Hawryluk beat him to it, and fed it to Valk in the slot. Valk had plenty of time to find the net before Mazanec could get back.
The Wolf Pack recovered to outshoot their hosts 15-10 in the third, but could get no closer, and Ludwig Bystrom created the final margin with a power-play goal at 11:48 of the final period. With Dawson Leedahl off for high-sticking, Bystrom snapped a shot from the middle of the blue line that went through a Hawryluk screen and past Mazanec.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring at the 3:23 mark of the first, on a power play, after Marek Mazanec was called for delay of game at 2:25.
Rob Hamilton played the puck from the right point to Alexandre Grenier on the wing, and he fed a cross-ice pass to Maxim Mamin. His one-timer from just below the left faceoff dot was a bullet into the net.
The Wolf Pack equalized at 13:55, on captain Joe Whitney’s ninth goal of the season. Neal Pionk set up Adam Tambellini high in the slot for a shot, which was stopped by Thunderbird goaltender Samuel Montembeault (26 saves), but Whitney tracked down the rebound. His first attempt, from the right side of the slot, was blocked, but Whitney grabbed the puck again, moved toward the front of the goal and put a shot past Montembeault’s right pad.
The Wolf Pack are back home at the XL Center this Friday, January 19, when the Utica Comets visit 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 1 at Springfield Thunderbirds 5
Monday, January 15, 2018 - MassMutual Center
Hartford 1 0 0 - 1
Springfield 1 3 1 - 5
1st Period-1, Springfield, Mamin 8 (Grenier, Hamilton), 3:23 (PP). 2, Hartford, Whitney 9 (Tambellini, Pionk), 13:55. Penalties-Mazanec Hfd (delay of game - restricted area), 2:25; Valk Spr (interference), 5:49; Hamilton Spr (interference), 16:05.
2nd Period-3, Springfield, Hunt 11 (Valk, Hawryluk), 11:17. 4, Springfield, Balisy 8 (Brown, Schemitsch), 15:41. 5, Springfield, Valk 10 (Hawryluk, Bystrom), 18:21. Penalties-Crawley Hfd (holding), 3:47; Schneider Hfd (high-sticking), 4:49; Sproul Hfd (slashing), 12:58; Hamilton Spr (high-sticking), 16:15.
3rd Period-6, Springfield, Bystrom 2 (Valk, Hunt), 11:48 (PP). Penalties-Crawley Hfd (fighting), 2:18; Turgeon Spr (fighting), 2:18; Pionk Hfd (delay of game), 2:46; Farnham Spr (interference, unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:19; Leedahl Hfd (high-sticking), 10:22.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 10-2-15-27. Springfield 8-25-10-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 5; Springfield 2 / 6.
Goalies-Hartford, Mazanec 6-4-1 (43 shots-38 saves). Springfield, Montembeault 11-14-2 (27 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Tim Mayer (19), Brandon Schrader (24).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (47), Robert St. Lawrence (10).
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