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Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 2

By Henry Lucey (on behalf of Hartford Wolf Pack)

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Hartford, CT - Defensemen Mat Bodie and Ryan Graves had a goal and an assist each for the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the XL Center, but Steve Bernier scored twice for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 4-2 Bridgeport win.

Despite outshooting the Sound Tigers 15-11, the Pack found themselves trailing 2-1 after the game’s opening frame. Bridgeport opened the scoring floodgates when Carter Verhaeghe sent a shot off Magnus Hellberg’s chest protector and onto the waiting stick of Bernier, who easily flicked the rebound into the net at the 3:40 mark.

The Wolf Pack were quick to respond, however. A minute and twenty-six seconds after Patrick Cullity was booked for interference, Graves drilled a one-timer off of a pass from Bodie through the legs of Bridgeport goaltender Eamon McAdam to even the score at 1-1.

After this promising power play effort, Hartford was poised to strike again when Bridgeport’s Connor Jones was whistled for high-sticking at 11:13. Those aspirations fell flat, though, when Josh Holmstrom pounced on a Hartford turnover, skating nearly the length of the ice before quickly deking and sending wrist shot over Hellberg’s right shoulder at 12:56. Holmstrom’s goal, the first of his AHL career, sent the Sound Tigers into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.

As Hartford looked to turn the game around in the second period, Bridgeport had other intentions. Jon Landry made these intentions clear when he fired a snap shot past Hellberg’s blocker, and just inside the left post, at the 8:57 mark. On the other side of the ice, McAdam denied all seven of Hartford’s attempts, giving his club a 3-1 lead as they prepared for the final frame.

Facing a two-goal deficit, the Wolf Pack got an opportunity to cut into the Sound Tigers’ lead when Travis St. Denis was called for slashing at 6:55. Bodie, the Hartford captain, guaranteed that this opportunity would not go to waste, driving a slap-shot from the left point past McAdam’s blocker at 8:14. The strike, Bodie’s fourth of the year, was assisted by Graves and winger Chris Brown.

With the momentum now in their favor, the Pack continued to bombard McAdam from all angles. As the clocked ticked down, however, Nicklas Jensen was whistled for cross-checking at 18:11, greatly neutralizing the effect of pulling Hellberg, which the Pack would soon do. With his net empty, Bodie unleashed a hard slap shot, only to have Bernier dive in front of the puck, which bounced off his body with enough force to slide 140 feet into back of Hartford’s net at 19:15. The unthinkable goal spoiled the prospects of Hartford’s comeback, leaving the Pack with a crushing 4-2 loss.

Following the game, Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander, pointed to a lack of urgency, saying, “Given our current record, our current standing, the fact that we need these points and were at home, the level of desperation should have been there from the beginning and through the conclusion of the game.”

The Wolf Pack are back at the XL Center on Friday night, hosting the Albany Devils at 7:15 PM.
The first 2,000 fans into the game will receive the second of four sets of Wolf Pack 20th-anniversary trading cards that will be given away during this 2016-17 season, presented by KOTA, and, 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.

Tickets for all 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.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - XL Center
Bridgeport 2 1 1 - 4
Hartford 1 0 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Bridgeport, Bernier 5 (Verhaeghe), 3:40. 2, Hartford, Graves 3 (Bodie), 6:23 (PP). 3, Bridgeport, J. Holmstrom 1 12:56 (SH). Penalties-Cullity Bri (interference), 4:57; Kampfer Hfd (interference), 7:38; C. Jones Bri (high-sticking), 11:13; Gilmour Hfd (slashing), 16:15; Nieves Hfd (cross-checking), 20:00.
2nd Period-4, Bridgeport, Landry 1 (Lafranchise, St. Denis), 8:57. Penalties-Glass Hfd (elbowing), 18:32.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Bodie 4 (Graves, Brown), 8:14 (PP). 6, Bridgeport, Bernier 6 19:15 (PP EN). Penalties-St. Denis Bri (slashing), 6:55; Jensen Hfd (cross-checking), 18:11.
Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 11-7-9-27. Hartford 15-7-10-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 / 5; Hartford 2 / 3.
Goalies-Bridgeport, McAdam 3-0-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Hartford, Hellberg 4-4-2 (26 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Terry Koharski (10), Geno Binda (22).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Luke Galvin (2).

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