Hartford, CT, November 14, 2018 – Bobby Butler scored 23 seconds into overtime Wednesday at the XL Center, to give the Hartford Wolf Pack a 4-3 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in the Wolf Pack’s annual “Sonar’s Edu-skate” school-day game.
The Wolf Pack had tied the game on a power play with only 3:45 remaining in the third period, on John Gilmour’s second goal of the game. Gilmour also assisted on Butler’s winner, and Boo Nieves added a goal and an assist.
Tanner Fritz scored twice for the Sound Tigers, who also got a goal from Jeff Kubiak. Devon Toews had two assists for Bridgeport
On the winning play, Gilmour carried the puck into the Bridgeport end on the right side and backhanded a pass to the front of the net. Butler came from the left side and got behind Fritz, to deflect the puck high into the net behind Sound Tiger goaltender Christopher Gibson (19 saves).
“I tried to just get it to the net and make that pass that would hopefully be a goal,” Gilmour said. “It was a 50/50 chance, and luckily Bobby was there to put the puck into the net for the win.”
The victory was the first in four trips to overtime on the year for the Wolf Pack, and improved their season record to 6-8-1-2.
The two clubs combined for five first-period goals, with the Wolf Pack jumping in front just 46 seconds in. Nieves attacked the net up the middle and shoved a feed from the right side by Ville Meskanen into the net.
The Sound Tigers equalized at 3:14 on the game’s first power play, with Chris Bigras off for holding. A drive from the left point by Kieffer Bellows squeaked through the pads of Wolf Pack netminder Alexandar Georgiev (26 saves), and Fritz reached behind Georgiev and pushed the puck over the goal line.
The Wolf Pack went back on top only 1:12 later, at 4:26, on Gilmour’s first goal of the contest. Peter Holland won a faceoff in the Bridgeport end back to Gilmour at the right point, and he stickhandled across the middle of the zone. Gilmour was almost to the left point when he shot, and his bid eluded Gibson, who was screened by both the Wolf Pack’s Cole Schneider and one of his own defenders.
Fritz and the Sound Tiger power play struck again at 9:29, though, after a hooking call against Ryan Gropp at 8:08. Fritz took a lead pass from Toews and beat a check on right wing, before gunning a shot that went past Georgiev’s catching glove and into the top corner of the net.
Bridgeport then took the lead at 13:37, with Kubiak scoring his second goal of the season. Gibson and Otto Koivula combined to clear the puck to center ice, and Kubiak picked it up on left wing and moved into the Wolf Pack zone. Kubiak slid towards the middle at the faceoff dot and ripped the puck in on the long side.
That was all of the scoring for more than two periods, and the Wolf Pack were held to three shots on goal in the second period, before having to kill three penalties in the first half of the third.
The last two man advantages, however, went to the Wolf Pack, and their power play broke through to tie the game at 16:15.
Gilmour’s second goal was very similar to his first one, as Nieves passed the puck off the left-wing boards to Gilmour at the point, and he flung a long shot that made its way through a Tim Gettinger screen and past Gibson.
“Our power play, we had some new additions, so we didn’t really get to practice it a whole lot,” Gilmour said. “But we talked about it in the locker room and knew what we wanted to do, and we did it.”
Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge added, “With power play, it’s always important to stay patient with them. There’s a tendency sometimes to get frustrated, but eventually you wait for your opportunity and capitalize, and I thought we did that well.”
Despite the Wolf Pack having to come from behind late, McCambridge saw many positives throughout Wednesday’s entire game.
“I really liked our start of scoring 45 seconds into the game, and even when the Sound Tigers were leading by a goal, I still thought we played the right way,” the Wolf Pack bench boss said. “And it was a real solid effort in our lineup, from top to bottom, to come from behind and win that game.”
The Wolf Pack’s next game is this Saturday night, November 17, when the Utica Comets visit the XL Center for a 7:00 PM game. That is “Hockey Fights Cancer Night”, and the first 2,000 fans will receive a free Wolf Pack pop socket, presented by KeyBank. Tickets for all 2018-19 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger start at just $13 each, and all tickets will have a $3 day-of-game increase.
Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2018-19 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.