Hartford, CT, January 30, 2015 – Joey Crabb had the Hartford Wolf Pack’s first four-point game of the season, with two goals and two assists, Friday night at the XL Center, and Danny Kristo also scored twice, to lead the Wolf Pack to a wild 8-6 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in front of a crowd of 6,671, the Wolf Pack’s second consecutive lower-bowl sellout.
The Wolf Pack, whose previous season high for goals-scored in a game was five, also got a goal and two assists from Chris Bourque and a goal and an assist each from Michael Kostka and Marek Hrivik. Kael Mouillierat scored a pair of goals for Bridgeport, and Griffin Reinhart and C.J. Stretch added a goal and an assist apiece.
The Wolf Pack opened the scoring with a goal from Joey Crabb at 4:41 of the first period. Bourque was credited with the primary assist, faking a slap shot from out wide before zipping a pass to Crabb in the slot.
Forty-one seconds later, Bridgeport tied the game with a backhand goal from Justin Courtnall. It was his fourth on the season, capitalizing on a rebound chance created by a Jesse Graham shot.
At 12:12 Crabb returned the favor and to Bourque and set up the Wolf Pack’s scoring leader for his 18th goal of the year. Bourque put the puck over the glove of Bridgeport starting goaltender David Leggio to give the Wolf Pack a 2-1 lead.
With 10:41 remaining, Oscar Lindberg flipped the puck out of the zone on a shorthanded situation, springing Crabb free on a breakaway. Crabb netted his second goal of the game and gave Hartford a 3-1 advantage.
“I just tried to chip it over, and [Joey] had a nice reception. It was nice to see him put it in,” said Lindberg.”
“Both my goals were great plays by my line mates,” Crabb said. “My second goal, what a pass by
Lindberg. That’s a creative player making a real creative play.”
Bridgeport again responded quickly, with a power play goal 21 seconds later from Stretch, assisted by Reinhart and Jesse Graham. It was his Stretch’s sixth goal on the season.
Hartford didn’t take long to answer. A power-play goal from Connor Allen put them up 4-2 with 5:34 remaining in the first. Allen put away a beauty from above the left circle, his sixth goal on the year.
Things didn’t look like they would be settling down as the second period got underway.
Bridgeport struck early with 1:40 elapsed. Reinhart scored for the Sound Tigers on a power
play to bring them within one. It was his fourth goal of the season, helped by Graham and Alan Quine.
Shortly thereafter, at 5:06, Kostka put away a point chance to give the Wolf Pack a 5-3 lead. Kostka’s found its way past Leggio and off the post for Hartford’s second power play goal of the night.
Hartford added to their lead when Kristo put away another power play goal with 11:10 remaining in the second. At that point Bridgeport pulled David Leggio, who ended his night allowing six goals on 18 shots. Kent Simpson made his AHL season debut in Leggio’s place.
Bridgeport got on the board first in the third period with an unassisted goal from Scooter Vaughn, bringing his season total up to eight, at 3:45.
Bridgeport followed up with a shorthanded goal at 11:59 from Mouillierat, also unassisted. Mouillierat put a straight shot over the glove of Wolf Pack goaltender Yann Danis to bring the Sound Tigers back
to within one.
Just 1:17 later, though, at 9:18, Kristo put away his second of the game, which would turn out to be the game-winner. It was a beautiful, tic-tac-toe passing play by the Pack, as Crabb fed Kristo across the crease for an easy goal. The Pack regained their two goal advantage and led the game 7-5.
The game went right down to the wire, after Mouillierat scored another power play goal at 15:44 for the Sound Tigers, his second of the game assisted by Cory Conacher. The Wolf Pack still clung to a one-goal lead.
An empty-net goal by Hrivik with 1:09 remaining in the third put the Wolf Pack up 8-6 and effectively put the nail in the coffin.
While the offense appeared to be on fire, head coach Ken Gernander was quick to stress that there were some defensive issues that need to be addressed.
“Certainly wasn’t according to plan and I think moving forward there’s a lot of things that need to be corrected in short order,” Gernander said after the game. “Offensively we did some things that were part of our game plan, and then it seemed whenever we had a little bit of breathing room, we deviated from that.”
The Wolf Pack’s “Hartford Hockey Heritage Weekend” continues Saturday night, when the Wolf Pack host the Springfield Falcons in a 7:00 PM game. The first 2,000 fans receive a Wolf Pack team trading card set, courtesy of Team Ferior, and it is “Pink in the Rink Night”, in support of Komen Connecticut and the fight to eradicate breast cancer.