By Zack Grenier
Hartford, CT, April 25, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack dropped Game Two of their best-of-five, first-round playoff series at the XL Center Saturday night to the Providence Bruins, 2-1.
The lone Pack goal came from Chris Bourque. Yann Danis stopped 28 of the 30 shots that he faced in the Hartford net.
Providence was led by Alexander Khokhlachev and Paul Carey, who each had a goal. Jeremy Smith stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
The Pack drew first blood at 12:21 of the second period, when Bourque was able to capitalize on a Bruins turnover. Bourque got the puck in the slot and fired a slap shot over the shoulder of Smith for his first goal of the playoffs.
“I thought we played a pretty solid two periods, and then for whatever reason, we kind of sat back, trying to protect a one-goal lead instead of going after them,” said Wolf Pack forward Chris Mueller.
Just 90 seconds in to the third period, Marek Hrivik took a boarding penalty. The Bruins were able to take advantage of the penalty with some tic-tac-toe passing. It was Ryan Spooner at the side of the net who sent a cross-crease pass over to Carey for his first of the series, at 2:28.
“They’re a good team,” said Hartford coach Ken Gernander. “We took a bad penalty and they capitalized on it.”
“Maybe we thought it was going to happen again, where we had a one-goal lead and then we were going to sit back and maybe get another easy one, and then go in and get an easy win,” said Mueller.
“Third period, it’s a series, that’s a desperate team. They don’t want to go down 0-2 in their own building, and we need to realize that and need to get that killer instinct when we get a chance.”
Only 2:08 after Carey’s goal, the Pack had a costly turnover that led to a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Bruins. Khokhlachev attempted to send a pass across the slot, but the puck went off of Hartford defenseman Michael Kostka and past Danis, to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
“It’s just an unfortunate bounce,” said Danis (28 saves). “He did a good play, it was a good try and unfortunately it just got the (skate) blade, and as I was pushing across it went five-hole.”
The bounce off of Kostka’s skate ended up being the deciding factor in this one, and the series is now tied at 1 heading in to Providence Sunday night.
“In the first game I thought we definitely took it to them, and tonight I think they were ready for us,” said Danis (28 saves). “It’s going to be up to us to respond tomorrow. We know what to expect now, and especially at their barn they’re going to be ready to go, so we’re going to have to come out flying tomorrow.”
Sunday’s Game Three is a 7:05 PM faceoff at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. All of the action of that battle 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.
Game Four is in Providence this Tuesday, April 28 at 7:05, and if the series went the full five games, a decisive Game Five would be this Friday, May 1 at the XL Center, at 7:00.
Wolf Pack home playoff tickets are available at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.