Hartford, CT, November 21, 2018 – Vinni Lettieri’s goal at 3:30 of overtime Wednesday night gave the Hartford Wolf Pack a 4-3 win over the Providence Bruins at the XL Center.
The goal came with the teams skating 4-on-4, after the Wolf Pack had killed a penalty that carried over from the third period. After Hartford goaltender Dustin Tokarski made a save on Anton Blidh, Lettieri rushed the puck from behind his own net all the way into the Providence end, before firing a shot past the catching glove of Bruin netminder Zane McIntyre.
“If we go into OT, it’s always important we get that win” Lettieri said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the first shift or the last shift, you just have to work hard every shift and hope something good comes of it, which is what happened to be the case for my goal.”
Matt Beleskey scored twice for the Wolf Pack, and Shawn O’Donnell also had a goal. Tokarski made 27 saves. Ryan Fitzgerald and Kyle Cumiskey had a goal and an assist each for Providence, and Karson Kuhlman also scored. McIntyre stopped 18 Wolf Pack shots.
The Bruins scored the game’s first goal at 7:50 of the first, an unassisted shorthanded marker by Kuhlman. He worked the puck away from Chris Bigras at the left point in the Providence end and went off on a breakaway, finishing it with a move to the backhand to beat Tokarski.
The Wolf Pack power play redeemed itself on its next chance, at 13:49, on Beleskey’s first of the night. A one-timer from the right side by Peter Holland deflected on its way to the net, and Beleskey got a couple of whacks at the puck from right in front. His second effort got by McIntyre and into the net.
The Bruin man advantage then clicked with 1:32 left in the period, and Bobby Butler in the penalty box for hooking. Tokarski made the save on a shot from the point by Cumiskey, but the puck slid away from him and Fitzgerald poked it in.
The second period was scoreless until the 18:58 mark, when Beleskey scored his second of the game to bring the Wolf Pack back into a tie. Ville Meskanen shot the puck into the right-wing corner, and it caromed off the glass to Beleskey in the slot. McIntyre had moved behind the net to play the puck and was caught out of position, and Beleskey’s backhand went into the net as McIntyre tried to slide back.
“I think at first it was a little hard for us to get going,” Beleskey said, “and then we started working hard and things started happening for us.”
The Wolf Pack took their first lead of the game at 9:36 of the third period, on O’Donnell’s fourth goal of the season. O’Donnell played the puck to Cole Schneider, who moved behind the Bruin net before feeding back to O’Donnell below the right faceoff dot. His quick shot found the back of the net to puck the Wolf Pack up 3-2.
That lead lasted less than four minutes, though, as the Bruins scored their second power play goal of the game at 13:23, to draw back even. The Wolf Pack blocked numerous shots on the penalty kill, but eventually a drive by Cumiskey from high in the slot went through a screen set by Jordan Szwarz and eluded Tokarski on the stick side.
The Bruins went to the power play with 25.5 seconds left in the third, but Tokarski helped foil the Bruin man advantage, setting the table for Lettieri’s OT winner.
“Tokarski was outstanding, and he really bailed us out a lot during the game, so that’s a big credit to him,” Lettieri said.
The Wolf Pack have now won three of their last four games, and are up to 8-9-1-2 on the season.
The Wolf Pack are back in action this Friday night, November 23, when they travel to Bridgeport for a 7:00 PM game vs. the Sound Tigers. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at theahl.com/AHLTV.
The Wolf Pack and Bridgeport then complete a home-and-home Saturday night at the XL Center. That game faces off at 7:30, and the first 2,000 fans will receive a free replica Wolf Pack jersey t-shirt, courtesy of CT-DOT. That night also features the Wolf Pack’s annual “teddy bear toss”. Fans are invited to bring soft toys to the game, and heave them on to the ice when the Wolf Pack score their first goal. All the toys collected will be donated to Operation ELF and Toys for Tots.
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.