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Wolf Pack go down swinging in tough loss to St. John's Ice Caps

Portland High School Choir sings the Star Spangled Banner. St. John's Ice Caps defeated the Wolf Pack 6-1 on Friday night.
Portland High School Choir sings the Star Spangled Banner. St. John's Ice Caps defeated the Wolf Pack 6-1 on Friday night.
Peter Hindle

The Ice Caps froze the Pack with a six goal onslaught, three of them coming in the first period. It had been a while since the Pack had been blown out but they were in this game, losing 6-1. The Pack had not lost by five goals or more since November 10 2013, when they were beaten by Providence 6-0.

The Portland High School Choir sings the National Anthem at the Hartford Wolf Pack game on Friday night.
Peter Hindle

The St. John's Ice Caps have never lost on Hartford ice, they are a perfect 6-0 since becoming the top affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Wolf Pack last defeated the Ice Caps 7-3 on February 10 2013 in St. John's. They will have two more shots to beat St. John's this season when the Pack play up in St. John's for their final two road games of the season.

The Packs elimination from the playoff picture is all but a formality, they are still mathematically alive they are 14 points back of the 8th seed and have only 12 games left to play. A lot of teams would need to lose and they would have to win almost every game for the season to continue. Seeing them lose like this to a playoff caliber team becomes telling even with all the improvement the team has made this season.

In this game It was the Ice Caps three power play goals that put the game far out of reach for the Pack. The Ice Caps kept good control of the puck and opened passing lanes to pull Dov Grumet Morris out of position. The game was 5-1 and far out of reach in the third period when Grumet Morris was replaced in the third period. He was replaced only after he was bowled over by defenseman Allen Connor who was speeding back to defend an Ice Cap odd man rush. Grumet Morris got up after laying on the ice for over two minutes. He got to a knee and skated off the ice under his own power to a nice ovation from the crowd. A scary moment for a goalie no doubt, I remember former Hartford Whaler goalie Mike Liut once say that as a goalie you either have a piece of hard rubber coming at you at 90 miles and hour or you have a 200 pound man coming at you at 30 miles an hour. You never know which is coming next and sometimes it could be both.

Back up goalie David Lenevue made three out of four saves coming in to replace Grumet Morris. Defenseman Danny Syvret got the lone Pack goal in the second period to make it 3-1 but that is as close as the Pack got to a come back.

Even if the game wasn't going well for Wolf Pack fans the intermissions were packed with entertainment. Local schools were invited to sing the national anthems. This is the one of only two nights all season where the Canadian Anthem is heard before a hockey game in Hartford. St. John's is the only Canadian team the Wolf Pack play. The Anthems were sung well, first O'Canada by Hartford Christian Academy's choir and then the Star Spangled Banner by Portland High School. The anthems were sung so well that the crowd was pretty pumped up by the start of the game. During the first intermission the Portland High School marching band came out on the ice to play their instruments. One of the high schools figure skaters performed at center ice while the band played. The local schools that came in were excited to perform and it brought in people to the arena. Even if you weren't a family or friend of the students performing they were all very entertaining to watch.

Next up the Wolf Pack play on the road for the final match up against the Adirondack Phantoms tonight in Glens Falls, New York. It will be the last time the Pack play the Phantoms in Glens Falls as the Phantoms will move to Lehigh Valley. The Pack have beaten Adirondack six out of their nine meetings so far this season. The next Pack home game is next Friday against the Springfield Falcons.