CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK THRASHED BY SOUND TIGERS
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 7, Hartford Wolf Pack 3
BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack
Bridgeport, CT, November 24, 2017 – Adam Cracknell scored his first two Hartford Wolf Pack goals Friday night at Webster Bank Arena, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers broke open a close game with three third-period scores on their way to a 7-3 win.
Josh Holmstrom, Seth Helgeson, Casey Bailey and Scott Eansor all had a goal and an assist each for Bridgeport, which outshot the Wolf Pack 37-21 in the game, with a combined 26-13 advantage over the final two periods. Steven Fogarty had the other Hartford goal.
“I thought there were blocks of that game where we were able to create some offense, get our defensemen involved, in the first period,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said, “but the second period, spending too much time on our heels, in our own zone. We get ourselves close in the game, 4-3 game going into the third period, and then they’re just at will getting to the front of the net and being able to bury those second-chance opportunities. This is a divisional opponent that we see a lot of, and have seen a lot of. We have to find ways to win these games.”
The two clubs combined for three goals in the first period, and they all came in a span of 2:50 starting at the 4:17 mark. That is Helgeson gave the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the season. The defenseman Helgeson’s shot from the left point went through a screen and inside the goal post on the glove side of Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.
Hartford got that goal back only 33 seconds later, at 4:50, as Fogarty scored from the bottom of the right circle, putting a shot over Sound Tiger netminder Christopher Gibson’s glove-side shoulder, off of a pass from below the goal line by Ryan Gropp.
Bridgeport grabbed the lead back, though, at 7:07, with Eansor notching his team-leading eighth of the season. Eansor forced a turnover just outside the Wolf Pack blue line and broke 2-on-1 with Travis St. Denis. Using St. Denis as a decoy, Eansor fired a shot from about 30 feet out that went past Georgiev low on the glove side.
The Sound Tigers upped their advantage to 3-1 at 2:25 of the second period, as Mitch Vande Sompel unloaded a shot from the right point and Ben Holmstrom deflected it through Georgiev’s legs.
Cracknell scored his first goal in 12 games with the Wolf Pack at 6:47, making the score 3-2. Cracknell got to a loose puck in the right-wing corner and sent it toward the front of the goal, and Gibson, who had come out of his crease to play the puck, had it go off of his stick, as he retreated, and into the net.
Josh Holmstrom put Bridgeport back up by two just 1:35 later, at 8:22, on his first goal of the year. Helgeson put the puck wide of the net from the left point, and Connor Jones picked up the carom behind the goal and found Holmstrom wide open at the right side of the goal mouth.
The Wolf Pack got a late one, though, to cut the margin to 4-3, and it was Cracknell getting his second of the game with 56.7 seconds showing on the clock. From the right point, John Gilmour fed Vince Pedrie on the left point, and Cracknell tipped Pedrie’s quick snap shot past Gibson.
The third period, however, was almost all Bridgeport, and the Sound Tigers effectively put the game away with a pair of goals 42 seconds apart starting at the 5:44 mark.
Sebastian Aho scored his seventh of the year at 5:44 after Ryan Bourque won a puck battle in the right-wing corner. He passed to Aho at the point, and he worked his way up the slot before ripping the puck in for a 5-3 Bridgeport lead.
Then, at 6:26, St. Denis increased the margin to 6-3 with his fifth goal of the year. A pass from below the goal line by Ross Johnston went off of Wolf Pack defenseman Neal Pionk’s stick right to St. Denis in the slot, and he backhanded it through Georgiev.
Bailey completed the scoring on a power play at 10:51, with Adam Chapie off for hooking. Georgiev stopped a shot from the top of the right circle by Michael Dal Colle, but, with Johnston and Eansor occupying defenders in front of the goal, the rebound came to Bailey on the left side, and he put it into the net.
The Wolf Pack are back home at the XL Center on Saturday night, hosting the Hershey Bears in
a 7:00 game. That is a “Red Out” night at the XL Center, as the first 4,500 fans will receive a free red Wolf Pack t-shirt, courtesy of CT-DOT. Also, that’s the night of the Wolf Pack’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss”, presented by County Wide Mechanical Services. Fans are asked to bring soft toys to the game, to toss onto the ice when the Pack scores their first goal, and the toys collected will be donated to Operation ELF and Toys for Tots.
Tickets for all Wolf Pack 2017-18 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, online at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found online at 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 3 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers 7
Friday, November 24, 2017 – Webster Bank Arena
Hartford 1 2 0 – 3
Bridgeport 2 2 3 – 7
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Helgeson 1 (Stevens, Dal Colle), 4:17. 2, Hartford, Fogarty 4 (Gropp, Chapie), 4:50. 3, Bridgeport, Eansor 8 7:07. Penalties-Chapie Hfd (hooking), 15:59.
2nd Period-4, Bridgeport, B. Holmstrom 4 (Vande Sompel, J. Holmstrom), 2:25. 5, Hartford, Cracknell 1 6:47. 6, Bridgeport, J. Holmstrom 1 (C. Jones, Helgeson), 8:22. 7, Hartford, Cracknell 2 (Pedrie, Gilmour), 19:03. Penalties-Lafranchise Bri (interference), 3:25; Dal Colle Bri (slashing), 15:39.
3rd Period-8, Bridgeport, Aho 7 (R. Bourque, C. Bailey), 5:44. 9, Bridgeport, St. Denis 5 (Johnston), 6:26. 10, Bridgeport, C. Bailey 3 (Eansor, Johnston), 10:51 (PP). Penalties-C. Jones Bri (interference), 2:25; Chapie Hfd (hooking), 9:06.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 8-5-8-21. Bridgeport 11-12-14-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 3; Bridgeport 1 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Georgiev 3-5-3 (37 shots-30 saves). Bridgeport, Gibson 6-4-0 (21 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Evgenii Romasko (39).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Petr Hejna (76).