The Pack continued their hot start on the ice with another win, this time against in-state rival Bridgeport. The Wolf Pack won 5-3 on Wednesday night, Danny Kristo continues to grow into a Hartford hockey hero. He has seven goals and five assists for 12 points in the teams' first 10 games. Missiaen got the start and earned the victory, the Pack had blown a 3-1 lead but Missiaen shut the door on any Sound Tiger comeback.
Wednesday game was full of great passes. This team knows how to pass to the open man. Kristo had his two assists on the Pack's first two goals in the second period. The Pack scored early in the second period and then again at 4:20 to take the lead 2-1. They took a 3-1 lead on a shorthanded goal at 9:50 of the second period. Captain Aaron Johnson cleared the puck all the way down the ice and as Bridgeport goalie Anders Nilsson went to play the puck behind the net. However, the puck took a weird bounce and came out in front of the net and right to Wolf Pack forward Martin Hrivik. He slammed it home into a nearly empty net as a panicked Nilsson tried to get back in goal.
The Wold Pack now with a 3-1 lead began to relax a little too much and it hurt them as Bridgeport scored back to back goals to tie it. The goals were only 20 seconds apart, one at 14:37 and the second at 14:57 of the second period.
The teams remained tied until a little after eight minutes into the third period. Oscar Lindberg scored to give the Pack the lead and Kristo nailed the coffin shut with a goal with just under five minutes left. The team played in front of an announced crowd of 1,857.
After the first month of play the Pack are currently tied for the top spot in points earned in the entire AHL.
How many Hartford hockey fans know about this?
If Harry Doyle, the fictional broadcaster in the movie 'Major League', was here he might say; In case you haven't noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven't, the Wolf Pack have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to lead the entire league.
There is an old saying that winning fixes everything, well in Hartford's case almost everything. Attendance for the AHL in Hartford is at an all time low for the month of October. In fact this was the lowest attended October in the 39 years of Hartford hockey. The team is averaging 2,913.33 a game. That is over a 1,000 people less a game compared to last October when the Whale/Wolf Pack played four games and not six.
Now these are "announced" attendance numbers which means they are not a count of who was at the arena. Also attendance in the AHL picks up after or around Christmas. The AHL overall is seeing some drop in attendance but looking at just Hartford hockey the drop is significant. Over 38 games it could be a drop of over 40,000 unless attendance picks up. Now it usually does but it doesn't change the fact that this was a low attended October and saying that is being kind.
There are going to be many reasons, thoughts, ideas, theories on why attendance is down in the first month of the season but it has nothing to do with the new management company at the XL. The promotions, in-game entertainment and concessions are much improved, the difference to me personally is night and day. Global Spectrum has proven itself to be interested in Hartford and they have delivered with good in-game entertainment for hockey and top shelf concerts at the XL Center. They just hosted concerts with Pearl Jam and Phish both within the same weekend. They have Justin Timberlake and other big acts coming up soon as well.
Why is Hartford hockey in a bit of a down swing? I will leave that one up to you the reader but here are the stats. You can go ahead and look them up but I believe me they come from a very reliable source.
10/97 – 42,308/6 = 7,051.33/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/98 – 30,587/4 = 7,646.75/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/99 – 20,256/3 = 6,752.00/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/00 – 33,697/5 = 6,739.40/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/01 – 23,845/4 = 5,961.25/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/02 – 21,195/4 = 5,298.75/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/03 – 20,671/5 = 4,134.20/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/04 – 15,269/3 = 5,089.66/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/05 – 20,125/4 = 5,031.25/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/06 – 13,767/3 = 4,589.00/gm Wolf Pack (MSG)
10/07 – 15,364/3 = 5,121.33/gm Wolf Pack (AEG)
10/08 – 21,246/6 = 3,541.00/gm Wolf Pack (AEG)
10/09 – 18,394/5 = 3,678.80/gm Wolf Pack (AEG)
10/10 – 24,484/7 = 3,497.71/gm Whale (WSE)
10/11 – 14,868/3 = 4,956.00/gm Whale (WSE)
10/12 – 16,836/4 = 4,209.00/gm Whale (AEG)
10/13 – 17,480/6 = 2,913.33/gm Wolf Pack (GS)
Next up the Pack play an interesting two game set against top rival and closest team to the XL, the Springfield Falcons. I mean rival in every way shape or form. The two teams are really tight over the last two years, and I can show you. The Whale/Wolf Pack have played the Falcons 24 times in the last two years. The Whale/Wolf Pack's record is the same as the Falcons. That’s right both teams are 12-12 over there last 24 matchups head to head. The Whale/Wolf Pack won the season series winning 7 contests in 2011-12 and the Falcons won 7 contests in 2012-13. The goals scored are even close, with the Falcons scoring 71 goals and the Whale/Wolf Pack scoring 63 goals. The difference in goals can be attributed to a Falcon 10-2 win last season.
The Pack will meet this team twice in the next 48 hours with both games being in Springfield. It’s a short trip and definitely a great place to see a hockey game. The Falcons do not usually sell out so there should be tickets available.