HARTFORD – Defenseman Josh Brown’s goal, his first of the season, with 4.9 seconds left capped a wild third period Saturday night at the XL Center, and gave the Springfield Thunderbirds a 5-4 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack.
With the game appearing headed for overtime, Jayce Hawryluk and Curtis Valk combined to work the puck loose low in the offensive zone for the Thunderbirds, and Valk passed to the right-wing circle to Brown, who quickly unloaded a hard shot that beat Wolf Pack goaltender Alexandar Georgiev for the winner.
That was after Bobby Farnham’s second goal of the game had tied the game at four with 5:06 left in the third.
The Wolf Pack had taken the lead on a power-play goal by Neal Pionk, his first professional goal, at 9:39, a drive from the left circle that squeezed through the legs of Thunderbird netminder Samuel Montembeault, who faced 48 shots in the game, including 23 in the third period.
With the game tied 2-2 going into the third, Springfield grabbed the lead at 3:32, on a breakaway goal by Juho Lammikko, who put a backhand shot past Georgiev’s stick side.
Joe Whitney knotted the score right back up only 53 seconds later, however, tallying his second goal in as many games at 4:25. Whitney was set up at the right side of the slot by Chris Langkow, who registered his first Wolf Pack point with the assist.
The Wolf Pack came out of the first period down 2-1, despite having outshot the visitors 14-8.
All of the scoring came in a span of 2:13, starting with a goal by the Wolf Pack’s Eric Selleck at 7:03. Selleck, scoring his second goal of the season, and second in three games, got a feed from Caleb Herbert in the left-wing circle and snapped a quick shot that eluded Montembeault low.
Springfield responded just 1:02 later, though, at 8:05, with Maxim Mamin scoring off of a goalmouth scramble. Hawryluk got two pokes at the puck in front of the net, both of which were stopped by Georgiev, but Mamin corralled the puck to Georgiev’s right and wristed it in.
Then, at 9:16, just 1:11 after Mamin’s goal, Farnham put the Thunderbirds in front. Covering the left point, Farnham took a pass from Maxime Fortunus and drove a shot that went through a screen set by Alexandre Grenier and past Georgiev.
The Thunderbirds then had a golden opportunity to grow their lead shortly thereafter, when Selleck and Adam Chapie were both assessed minor penalties at 12:38, setting Springfield up with a two-minute 5-on-3. The Wolf Pack were able to kill the penalties with no further damage, though, and that turned some momentum back Hartford’s way.
The Wolf Pack would then get the only goal of the second period, a power-play score by Scott Kosmachuk at 7:18, with Hawryluk off for tripping. John Gilmour disrupted a Thunderbird pass in center ice and led Kosmachuk down left wing, and his hard drive went past Montembeault’s catching glove.