Hartford, CT, January 31, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack jumped past the Springfield Falcons and into second place in the AHL’s Northeast Division Saturday night, with a 3-1 win over the Falcons at the XL Center, in front of a season-high crowd of 10,789, the Wolf Pack’s third straight lower-bowl sellout.
Danny Kristo had the game-winning goal for the Wolf Pack and added an assist, and Marek Hrivik also had a goal and an assist. Joey Crabb added an empty-net goal, and Mackenzie Skapski made 22 saves. Marko Dano scored the only Springfield goal and Scott Munroe stopped 30 shots in the Falcon net.
With the win, their sixth in the last seven games, the Wolf Pack improved to 26-13-3-2 for 57 points on the year, and moved one point ahead of the 26-15-4-0 Falcons. It was Hartford’s third straight win against Springfield, which has dropped five in a row in regulation and is now 0-5-1-0 in its last six games.
“We knew [Springfield] was going to be hungry coming into tonight,” said Wolf Pack coach Ken Gernander. “We knew it was going to be a battle, but we were pretty sound defensively. I’m pleased with our game.”
The Wolf Pack had early success on the power play with a goal 3:15 into the first. Hrivik put away a back-door chance, bringing his total up to seven on the year.
Springfield was able to get on the board at 7:38 of the second period, after the Wolf Pack turned the puck over deep inside their zone. Dano tallied his ninth goal of the season off of a cross-crease feed from Josh Anderson. The play was started when Conor Allen’s clearing attempt was picked off by Luke Adam.
The Pack regained the lead with 4:49 remaining in the period. Kristo’s wrist shot trickled past Munroe to make it 2-1. It looked as if Munroe had the save, but the puck slid between his legs and just found its way into the net. Kristo’s 12th goal of the season was assisted by Hrivik and Steve Spinell. It was also Kristo’s third goal in two games.
Hartford’s third and final goal was an empty netter from Crabb with 32 seconds remaining in the third. It was his ninth of the season, assisted by Oscar Lindberg and Chris Bourque.
The Wolf Pack outshot the visitors 33-23. Rookie goaltender Mackenzie Skapski had some big saves that excited the enthusiastic crowd. “Every time you scored a goal, you could feel it,” said Skapski of the energy inside the XL Center. “It really gave us momentum. It gives us a second edge over Springfield or whatever opponent we’re playing. We appreciate those nights and we’d like to see more of that.”
The Wolf Pack’s next action is on the road this Wednesday, February 4, when they travel to Syracuse to visit the Northeast Division-leading Crunch. Faceoff is 7:00 PM, and all of the action can be heard live on Fox Sports Radio 1410, and on-line at www.foxsportsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.