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Fast start leads Wolf Pack over first place Falcons

Jesper Fast used his speed to score the fastest goal in team history.
Jesper Fast used his speed to score the fastest goal in team history.
Peter Hindle (Last photo)WFSB

The Wolf Pack came off the bench and jumped into a 1-0 lead just seven seconds into the game. Wolf Pack game announcer Jared Doyon informed the crowd of 4,694 that the goal was the fastest in Wolf Pack team history. I am willing to bet it is the fastest goal in the building's history, including mites hockey between periods.

Jesper Fast scoring the fastest goal sounds like a head line dream. It's ironic but also very true. Fast took a blue line to blue line pass from Danny Syvret off the face off from J. T. Miller and put the puck in the net. He beat and probably surprised Springfield Falcon net minder Jeremy Smith. Fast broke in clean splitting two Falcon defenders before racing towards the net. He had time to make his move and beat Smith and giving the Pack a lead that they would never lose.

The Pack jumped on Smith literally from the start of the game. They put up 15 shots and scored on four of them. Smith's night was over when Oscar Lindberg scored his second of the game just minutes into the second period(2:40). Smith was pulled for Mike Mckenna, whom leads the AHL in goals against average(1.65) and save percentage(.940%). Mckenna did his job stopping the remaining 21 shots despite some good chances for Hartford to score throughout the game. Dov Grumet-Morris who started in net for the Pack held up his end protecting a lead all night. I can think of three tremendous saves that must have frustrated the Falcons, Grumet-Morris made 22 of 24 saves on the night.

Even though Mckenna did his job he still heard it from section 109 in the XL Center. As the game came to a close, the crowd behind Mckenna was giving him directions to I-91 North. The two teams are linked by the same interstate around 25 minutes apart. There has long been an I-91 rivalry for these two cities who at one time shared an NHL franchise. This was the seventh meeting of twelve this season between the two teams and Springfield had won everyone until last night. The law of averages would say that this was going to happen.

However, sometimes you have to believe what you see and that team last night played with something that can only be described in one word, effort. The effort was evident from the get go, they out shot, out scored and out lasted the Falcons for the entire game. If they could bottle that and use it before every game they could start to climb out of the Northeast Division cellar.

I found myself really asking; who was that team last night? Long time Hartford hockey fan Jim Searle answered the question. He said, "They finally came out and played some old time hockey."

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