Tommy Hughes game winning overtime series deciding goal looked like it happened in slow motion. The biggest Pack goal of the season may have come from the most unlikely goal scorer. The over time goal by Hughes gave the Wolf Pack a 3-2 series win. The Wolf Pack have clawed and scrapped their way into the second round after overcoming many obstacles that for some end playoff seasons.
“It is definitely the biggest goal I have ever scored.” Hughes said after the game. “They don’t come to often being a defensive defenseman.” Hughes said he got a good bounce when he cut around Bruins defenseman Chris Breen and threw the puck on net. That good bounce put a rebound in front of the net as Jeremy Smith tried to control the puck, Hughes quickly shot the puck back on net and it went right under Smith. That was it, the Wolf Pack celebrated in the Northeast corner of the ice and then shook hands with the team they have battled for five games straight, six really because game three was 102 minutes long.
How fitting that number five on the Pack scored the fifth goal in the fifth game. Wolf Pack forward Chris Mueller teased after the game that since Hughes doesn’t score that often he doesn’t know how to celebrate. The media questions presented to the team definitely point toward a theme of a team that just finds a way to win. Plenty thought that the Pack were done after losing game three, many probably felt they might lose tonight after being down 1-0 and 2-1. But again they did find a way to win, this time using the often not used power play. Both of Chris Mueller’s goals were on the Pack power play. In the beginning of the season the New York Rangers signed Chris Mueller to play for the Wolf Pack with a game like this in mind. He knows big playoff games last season he won the Calder Cup with the Texas Stars.
It wasn’t easy and it also was a concerning start for the Wolf Pack as the Bruins looked like they were up 1-0 early. Just 1:30 into the game play had stopped to review a shot that hit the right side cross bar behind Yann Danis. The goal light went on but after a lengthy review the call of no goal on the ice stood.
The Bruins put them selves in the lead twice. First with a goal by Colin Stuart almost eight minutes into the game and then again they took a one goal lead when they capitalized on a Shawn O’Donnell interference penalty. It was the Wolf Pack lack of give up that brought them back again when Chris Mueller tied the game for a second time. With a one timer that rifled in and out of the net. Oscar Lindberg had a hat trick of assists, he was a part of every goal and here threw a pass across the ice through three Bruin defenders to find Mueller.
The Wolf Pack advance to the second time in the last four seasons. After tonight the picture will be much clearer about who the Wolf Pack will play including when and where. The circus is in town next week and that has had a tendency to disrupt the normal playoff schedule. Three seasons ago game four of the Connecticut Whale Norfolk Admiral Eastern Conference Semi-Finals was moved to Bridgeport and the team responded horribly with a 4-0 loss.
Casey Wellman scored the last Hartford series winning overtime goal in round one of the 2011-2012 Calder Cup playoffs.
If there was an MVP of the first round in all of the Eastern Conference how great a case would Yann Danis have to win it. He is the only goalie to start all five games, he has played 76 more minutes than any other goalie, faced more shots than any other goalie, made more saves than any other goalie, plus he is fourth in goals against average.
In game three these two teams played 102 minutes and put up 94 shots. In game five in 64 minutes these two teams put up 82 shots.