By Zack Grenier
Hartford, CT, April 22, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Providence Bruins in Game One of their best-of-5 series Wednesday night at the XL Center by a score of 3-1.
Hartford was led by Tyler Brown and Danny Kristo, who had a goal and an assist each. Carl Klingberg had an empty-net goal late in the third. Yann Danis stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced.
Providence’s lone goal came from Zach Trotman off of an Alexander Khokhlachev pass. Jeremy Smith had 22 saves on 24 shots.
“It’s a pretty good matchup. I think they have a pretty good team and it’s not going to be easy,” said Danis. “Playoffs it’s going to be a lot of one-goal games, so I have to be able to make that extra save and I know that if I do, somehow we’ll be able to score that extra goal.”
The Pack jumped out to early 1-0 lead, when Brown tipped the puck over Smith’s glove at 4:58 of the first period. Kristo used his speed to carry the puck deep in to the zone and sent a pass to Steve Spinell at the blue line. Spinell fired a slap shot toward the net that Brown tipped for the first goal of the series.
“We know that we’re a fast team,” Brown said. “I think New York (the parent-club Rangers) definitely builds off that. They try to build not only their team, but our team down here, for speed. Us (the Wolf Pack) finishing third, and obviously New York finishing first, shows that speed definitely kills. That’s our game plan and we’re going to stick to it.”
Kristo gave the Pack a 2-0 lead when he was able to finish a pass from Chris Mueller. Mueller ground the puck out of the corner and found Kristo in front, and he had a small window to bury the puck low.
“We [Kristo and Mueller] made eye contact, I knew I had to get inside the defenseman, and went in with my stick down and was able to redirect it in,” said Kristo.
Providence found their first goal of the season at the XL Center with 11:26 left in the second period. The Bruins had a man-advantage and capitalized on a back-door opportunity. It was Trotman sitting at the side of the net patiently waiting for the pass from Khokhlachev.
“The penalty kill was very good, and unfortunately we had to go to the well one too many times,” said Hartford coach Ken Gernander. “That’s something we’re going to address and try to better ourselves moving forward.”
The next goal didn’t come until there was 3.5 seconds remaining in the game, when Klingberg put in an empty-netter to secure game one for the Wolf Pack.
“We knew that game one was definitely one of the most important ones, and we came out strong, we stuck to our game plan and it worked out for us,” said Brown.
Game Two of the Wolf Pack and Bruins’ best-of-five set is this Saturday, April 25 at the XL Center, with faceoff at 7:00 PM. Tickets for Game Two are on sale at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
After Saturday, the series switches to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence for Game Three this Sunday, April 26. Faceoff for that contest will be 7:05. A Game Four, if it is necessary, would be in Providence this Tuesday, April 28 at 7:05, and if the series went the full five games, a decisive Game Five would be next Friday, May 1 at the XL Center, at 7:00.