SPRINGFIELD, Mass – The Hartford Wolf Pack came back from a 3-1 deficit with three third-period goals Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, defeating the Springfield Falcons, 4-3.
Andrew Yogan scored the game-winner at 8:14 of the third period, and also added an assist, and T.J. Hensick also had a goal and an assist. The Wolf Pack also got goals from Kyle Beach and Marek Hrivik, and David LeNeveu made 28 saves. Ryan Craig, J.F. Jacques and Austin Madaisky scored for Springfield.
It was the Wolf Pack’s third consecutive win in the season series against the Falcons, after Hartford went 0-4-0-2 in the first six games between the two teams.
“We came back to the locker room and went back to our game plan,” Yogan said of the third-period comeback by the Wolf Pack, who had lost a 3-2 lead late in the third period of their 4-3 home defeat to Bridgeport the night before. “We all talked about it, hard on the forecheck, and when we’re playing in the offensive zone and we’re protecting the puck and cycling, there’s not too many teams that can skate with us and handle our physical attributes, and we were able to capitalize on that.
“Whenever I can help out and contribute offensively, I’m going to do that, and I’m proud of the guys the way they responded in the third period.”
After a second period in which they were outshot 16-7, and trailing 3-1 going into the third, the Wolf Pack erupted for three scores in a span of only 2:57 in the third, starting with a goal by Hensick at the 5:17 mark.
Aaron Johnson headmanned the puck out of the Wolf Pack zone to Justin Vaive on right wing in center ice, and Vaive handed it off beautifully to Hensick. Hensick got behind Andrew Joudrey, who was covering for the Springfield defense, and beat Falcon goaltender Mike McKenna (19 saves) on the glove side with a move to the backhand.
Just 2:26 later, at 7:43, Hrivik tied the game with his second goal in as many games, and his fourth in the last six games. Hensick intercepted a Madaisky breakout pass on the right-wing boards and found Hrivik all alone in front, and Hrivik was able to make a move to the forehand and slip the puck past McKenna.
Then, only 31 seconds after that, at 8:14, Yogan scored what turned out to be the winner, after he jumped on a fumble by Joudrey. Moving laterally at his own blue line, Joudrey coughed the puck up to Yogan, who burst down the left side and gunned a shot that McKenna got a piece of but could not stop. The goal was Yogan’s fourth of the season, all of which have been game-winners.
The Wolf Pack controlled much of the play in the first period, and outshot the Falcons 8-6, but Springfield got the only goal.
Craig put the Falcons on top at 13:42, firing a high shot off of left wing past LeNeveu on the stick side, after Trent Vogelhuber worked the puck away from Shawn O’Donnell just outside the Wolf Pack blue line.
The Wolf Pack tied the game at 7:32 of the second period, taking advantage of Falcon goaltender Mike McKenna losing his stick. Yogan worked the puck to Beach in the left-wing corner, and Beach got it past McKenna, as the Falcon netminder scrambled to try to recover the stick.
Springfield came back with a pair before the end of the period, though, the first on a power play at 11:49. With Dylan McIlrath off for interference, Tim Erixon moved down the left-wing boards and fed a pass into the slot to Jacques, who ripped a shot past LeNeveu for a 2-1 Springfield lead.
Madaisky then made it 3-1 at 16:53, with an unassisted goal. Madaisky prevented a Wolf Pack clearing attempt at the right point, and then unloaded a slap shot that deflected off the Pack’s Darroll Powe and past LeNeveu on the glove side.