Hartford, CT- The Wolf Pack returned home to the XL Center Friday night after over a week away facing the Hershey Bears; they returned to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Playing Hershey last week, the Wolf Pack had a split in the series. After the two-game split road trip, Hartford’s loyal fans came in hot with a loud, and passionate “Let’s Go Wolf Pack” chant to start the their teams’ game off. However, the enthusiastic hometown air and spirit was sucked from the arena within minutes of the initial face-off. Joy and bliss simply could not last.
To say it was a rough night for the Wolf Pack would be an understatement because Bridgeport truly dominated in the game. Although, Hartford controlled the puck the majority of the first period, the Wolf Pack found themselves’ down 3-0 in the end.
The onslaught of scoring began within four minutes of the game by Bridgeport’s Justin Courtnall. Courtnall, had a huge shot on Cédrick Desjardins, Hartford’s starting goalie. By passing Desjardins’ right shoulder the puck slid into the goal. This was just the beginning of a torturous night for the young Wolf Pack goalie. It only became worse for Desjardins as the game progressed.
It was a rough night for the Pack. Despite being excited to be back home on their own ice, they were swallowed whole by Sound Tigers’ goalie Kevin Poulin. Even with the excitement, joy and passion of the fans, the Pack couldn’t seem to find any sort of luck the entire game. They couldn’t catch a break all night, not a bounce of the puck, or deflection off the goalie. The Wolf Pack couldn’t get the puck past Poulin. After Hartford’s initial goal, Poulin stonewalled them. Poulin clearly was too strong against the home team, one of the Wolf Pack’s lone opportunities of the night bounced off the post. Desjardins gave up two late goals in the first period, this lead the Tigers to build an early hold on the game. The scoring outpour ruined what was once an abundance of good vibes in the XL Center. After this everything seemed silent from the previously excited Hartford crowd.
The game continued to become tougher and more intense approaching the second period. Within minutes a fight broke out between Justin Vaive (Hartford) and Brett Gallant (Bridgeport). The fight certainly brought a dull crowd back to life and the enthusiasm only continued from there. Hartford’s right wing, Ryan Haggerty, scored a goal on a rebound. Assisted by team leading scorer, Oscar Lindberg, who has only been continuing his impressive season, and Ryan Bourque.
While the third period approached, Hartford found themselves still down, 3-1. With their rough start and despite their game long leading shots on goal- they proved a themselves to be unfocused, and not at all oriented. Bridgeport managed to score 3 more goals against Hartford before the final few minutes. It was clear that there was incredible frustration from Hartford- why wouldn’t there be?
The Wolf Pack did manage an out-shot on the Sound Tigers, but were unable to find the back of the net, AGAIN. Desjardins, yet again could not barricade the puck from being penetrated by the Tigers.
Upon the fourth goal the Wolf Pack lost all remaining composure and positive energy that was once displayed. The Pack had left. Giving Bridgeport up an additional two goals, the Pack finally got put out of their misery as Bridgeport scored their final goal at 18:04. Thus making the score 6-1- a huge lose at the Wolf Pack den.
Hartford Scratches Crabb, Stamler, Potulny, Tarnasky
Hartford Goal Ryan Haggerty
Bridgeport Goals Courtnall, Halmo, Quine, Pulock, McDonald (2)
Shots on Goal Hartford 35 Bridgeport 21
Hartford 0 for 5 on power play
Tomas Kaberle made his Hartford debut tonight, as did Ryan Malone
Hartford and Bridgeport face off again Saturday night in Bridgeport at 7 p.m.