Hartford CT: Wednesday night the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Providence Bruin faced off in game one of the Conference Playoffs; the first of many games and many rounds that lead to the Calder Cup. If you missed out on the action for game one, the Wolf Pack were victorious with a 3-1 win over the Bruins. A rather back and forth game, one of cat and mouse; anyone could tell that both teams were striving for the win.
Back Saturday at Hartford’s XL Center game two between the Wolf Pack and the Bruins commenced. The Wolf Pack appeared to have the upper hand in the first two periods, but quickly fell apart at the start of the third. “They definitely got some momentum,” Hartford’s goalie Yann Danis said, “We kind of came out flat, and you can’t do that against that team.” Although falling behind to Providence in the third, Danis played a phenomenal game with 28 saves.
Despite the loss, it was a solid start for the Wolf Pack. Hartford maintained control and limited their penalties having just two calls – 8:43 Ryan Haggerty for roughing and 12:08 Chris Mueller on an interference. But even with the good start, it took a while to put some numbers up on the board. The first goal didn’t come until 12:21 of the second period. All-Star, Chris Bourque, managed to pick up a loose puck and sent a hard slap shot past Bruins goalie Jeremy Smith for an unassisted goal.
The downfall came at 2:28 of the third. Marek Hrivik was sent off the ice at 1:30 for boarding and the Bruins took advantage of the penalty. The Bruins played around with the puck, passing it about the ice until right wing Seth Griffith sent a pass to Ryan Spooner. Spooner looked to open teammate Paul Carey who managed to sneak the puck past Danis. Caught off guard, and left alone, Danis was unable to make the save. Suddenly the game was tied up 1-1.
However, the tie didn’t last for very long. Providence’s Alexander Khokhlachev intercepted a pass on the outside of Hartford’s zone. With David Pastrnak, he and Khokhlachev led a 2-on-1 into the goal zone; Khokhlachev sent a hard, centering shot, which bounced off of Wolf Pack defenseman Michael Kostka and subsequently by Danis. The Bruins came into the 2-1 lead at 4:36.
Although Danis remained strong in the Wolf Pack goal for the final duration of the game, the rest of the team was unable to regain the momentum needed in order to capitalize on another goal. “He played strong for us again,” Wolf Pack Coach Ken Gernander said about his goalie. “[Danis] is not to be faulted. He played well, and gave us a chance to win.”
The Wolf Pack have a rough road ahead of them. With the series tied at 1-1, the following two games will be hosted at Providence’s Dunkin Donut Center: game three Sunday April 26 and game four Tuesday April 28. If game five is necessary then the Wolf Pack and Bruins will be back at the XL Center Friday night to determine which team will proceed to the next round.