Worcester MA – The circus is in town; quite literally as that due to scheduling conflicts, the Hartford Wolf Pack have moved to the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts to host their second series home games verse the Hershey Bears. The teams split the first two games of the series at the Giant Center in Hershey, with the Wolf Pack snagging a 2 to 1 victory in overtime Wednesday during Game One and then suffering a defeat in Game Two on Friday night.
It had been a tight game for the first two periods, both the Wolf Pack and the Bears were putting up a big fight, each desperate to break the tie that they’d come into the game on. Midway through the third period a twist came when Bears’ defenseman Cameron Schilling netted a shorthanded goal with 10:23 remaining to give Hershey a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal. This has been the first-ever postseason meeting between the Wolf Pack and Bears. During the regular season the teams had an even series, 1-2-1-0.
After a scoreless first period, the Bears came out hungry and automatically took control with Nate Schmidt (D) leading a 3-on-2 rush into the Wolf Pack’s zone. Schmidt turned the puck over to teammate Jakub Vrana (LW) who took a hard shot at Pack goalie Yann Danis; Danis blocked Vrana’s first shot but, Vrana quickly picked up the rebound and sent another shot past Danis, which he wasn’t able to block.
The Wolf Pack fought back after a delay of game penalty was called on Michael Moore (D, HER). The team ran a succession of rushes, some of which were unsuccessful and resulted in penalties. However, as the second period was coming to a close Joey Crabb (RW, HFD) made a sneaky shorthanded snap past Phillipp Grubauer (G, HER) with 40.8 seconds left on the clock.
Despite coming back out on the ice for the third period ready to roll, the Wolf Pack just couldn’t quite get the puck in the net. After a high sticking call from Jim O’Brien (C, HER) the Pack failed to capitalize on the penalty. A minute later Schilling was able fire a slap through Michael Kostka’s legs, and past Danis; ultimately sealing the fate of Game 3
Game 4 will be held at the DCU Center in Worcester, Monday night. Monday’s game determines which team will advance to the Conference finals. Tonight’s game put the Bear’s in the lead, however, the Wolf Pack have been known to surprise its opponents with major comebacks – the game is sure to be a nail biter!
Shots: 32-22 Hartford
1. Schilling (Hershey)
2. Schmidt (Hershey)
3. Crabb (Hartford)