The Hartford Wolf Pack played a home and home series against the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday and Saturday night. These were the first two games out of ten times the teams meet this season and that showed as they took to twitter to battle it out before the games even started. The fans following either team ate it up, deciding for themselves which team came out on top of that war.
Friday night’s game was in Hartford and the teams combined for 100 minutes in penalties. It started early, just over two minutes into the game, when two separate fights broke out. Adirondack’s Zack FitzGerald took on Hartford’s Shawn O’Donnell. Hartford enforcer Dylan McIlrath fought Derek Mathers at the same time. Later that same period, Adirondack’s Mark Alt started on Hartford’s Brandon Mashinter. The second period was not any calmer than the first with FitzGerald shedding his gloves again, this time to take on Hartford’s Stu Bickel. Hartford’s McIlrath found himself with a second fighting major on the night when he took on Ben Holmstrom later that period. In the third period, things turned to a scene out of Slap Shot. Hartford’s Michael Haley bent down, sending Adirondack’s Oliver Lauridsen flying over his back. The ensuing fight would be the final of the night, with both players getting extra penalties.
With all of that fighting, fans might have have expecting fireworks in the scoring as well. But, they certainly got an exciting game. Hartford opened up the scoring in the first with a powerplay goal from Chris Kreider. But, Adirondack followed with two of their own. Bruno Gervais added a powerplay tally as well before Rob Bordson shot one home unassisted.
In the second period, Adirondack jumped out to a 3-1 lead with a goal from Michael Raffl. But, McIlrath brought it back to 3-2 before getting into his second fight of the game. Hartford’s JT Miller tied it up early in the second. The seesaw continued when Chris VandeVelde put Adirondack back on top just a few minutes later. Although the Wolf Pack were easily outshot, they kept the shot count close in the third and eventually, Danny Kristo was rewarded by tying the game up once again.
As if the fights weren’t enough, the game ended up going to a shootout where Kristo and Miller came through for Hartford, both scoring and giving the Wolf Pack the 5-4 shootout victory. The teams headed back to Adirondack where they faced off again on Saturday night.
In Saturday’s game, the two teams showed just how strong their rivalry is and still combined for 70 minutes in penalties. They seemed to have gotten most of the fighting out of their systems for the time being, though. Only Hartford’s McIlrath and Adirdondack’s Mathers earned fighting majors in this game. There were a few misconducts assessed though with the referees paying closer attention after the game the night before.
The shots were much closer during the second game. But, despite being outshot, Hartford came out on top once again. JT Miller notched his fourth goal in only his third game. Rookie Tommy Hughes scored his first professional goal while returning Wolf Pack favorite Brodie Dupont got his first of the season. Mark Alt and Ben Holmstrom both chose to keep their gloves on for Saturday night’s game and each scored their first of the season. However, it was not enough as they fell to the Wolf Pack for the second night in a row, this time 3-2 in regulation.
Fans have to wait until December 6th to see the two teams face off again in Adirondack and December 13th to see them again in Hartford. If the first two games are any indication, this is going to be a series to watch this season.
Photo Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack