SPRINGFIELD, Maas – .T. Miller had the Hartford Wolf Pack’s first four-point game of the season, with two goals and two assists, Friday night at the MassMutual Center, leading the Wolf Pack to a 5-2 victory over the Springfield Falcons.
Ryan Bourque also scored twice for the Wolf Pack, and Marek Hrivik had the game-winner. Dov Grumet-Morris made 30 saves for his fifth straight win. Michael Chaput had a goal and an assist for Springfield, and J.F. Jacques also scored for the Falcons.
The win was the second straight for the Wolf Pack in the season series against the Falcons, after Hartford went 0-4-0-2 in the first six, and it was the Wolf Pack’s first victory in five visits on the year to Springfield.
“There were a lot of penalties, a lot of adversity, a lot of chances our way that we capitalized,” Miller said. “A lot of good things are coming for us right now, and we’re finally playing the way we need to play, in other team’s barns and in ours.”
Hartford has now won four of its last five games and six of the last eight.
The Wolf Pack were unsuccessful on the game’s first two power plays, and then Springfield scored only 13 seconds into their first man advantage, after a hooking penalty to Dylan McIlrath at 11:05 of the first.
Jacques took a pass at the right-wing side of the goalmouth and snapped a forehand shot past Grumet-Morris at 11:18.
Hartford got that goal back in a delayed-penalty situation at 14:33, on Miller’s first goal of the game and ninth of the season.
A penalty was being indicated after Brendon Nash was hit hard behind the Wolf Pack net, and Grumet-Morris was able to get to the Hartford bench for a sixth attacker. With the extra skater out, Oscar Lindberg fed a rink-wide pass to Miller on right wing, and Miller’s snapped a hard shot over the catching glove of Springfield goaltender Mike McKenna (18 saves) and into the top corner.
The Wolf Pack then took its first lead with 45.5 seconds remaining in the period, on a power-play goal with Alex Aleardi off for slashing. Miller played the puck to Conor Allen inside the left faceoff dot, and Allen fed to Bourque in the slot. Bourque had the puck get away from him to his right, but dove to the ice to backhand it into the net behind McKenna.
The only goal of a penalty-filled second period was a power-play tally by the Wolf Pack’s Hrivik at 10:56.
Springfield’s Darryl Boyce was assessed a match penalty for high-sticking at 8:28 off of a battle with Miller, who received a roughing minor. On the long man-advantage that ensued after Miller’s penalty expired, Hrivik scored from below the goal line to McKenna’s left. A one-timer by Jesper Fast from the left circle went wide, but Hrivik was able to track down the carom, reach around the goalpost and flick the puck underneath the crossbar.
The Wolf Pack were shorthanded four times in the third period, but on the first of those penalty-kills, Miller was awarded a penalty shot at 6:57, after he was hooked by Cody Goloubef while trying to get free in front of the Springfield net. Miller converted on the penalty-shot opportunity by coming in slowly and deking from forehand to backhand to beat McKenna.
Chaput scored a power-play goal at 12:05, off of a cross-slot feed from Jonathan Marchessault, to cut the lead to 4-2, but Bourque put the game out of reach with an empty-net score at 18:51.