Wolf Pack pushed to brink, down 2-0 in playoff series against Hershey

Jake Leschyshyn Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

The Hartford Wolf Pack has been pushed to the brink in their Atlantic Division Final series against the Hershey Bears, after losing 4-2 in Game 2 on the road Saturday. The New York Rangers AHL affiliate trails the best-of-5 Calder Cup Playoff series 2-0 and will look to keep their season afloat Wednesday when the series shifts to Hartford.

Even the return of Rangers goalie prospect Dylan Garand couldn’t spark the Wolf Pack enough on Saturday. The 21-year-old made 23 saves in the loss after missing the 6-1 Game 1 defeat because he was recalled by the Rangers as an extra goalie before their Game 6 contest against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Garand and the Wolf Pack allowed the first four goals of the game, including one by Washington Capitals prized prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko on the power play just 2:50 into the game. He scored again, his fifth goal of the postseason, to make it 2-0 in the second period.

Hershey added two goals to star the third period, including one by another top Capitals prospect, Hendrix Lapierre, to take a 4-0 lead.

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Wolf Pack face playoff elimination at home Wednesday against Hershey

Adam Sykora and the Wolf Pack lost 4-2 to the Hershey Bears in Game 2 of their Calder Cup Playoff series — Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford ended Hunter Shepard’s bid for a playoff shutout when veteran forward Jake Leschyshyn scored his team-high fifth postseason goal at 17:02 of the third period. Anton Blidh added another goal at 19:11 but it was too little, too late for the Rangers affiliate.

Rangers forward prospect Brett Berard notched his team-leading fifth assist. Defenseman prospect Victor Mancini chipped in with an assist and was plus-2. Adam Sykora, New York’s second-round pick in 2022, also had an assist, his third of the postseason.

Garand dropepd to 5-3 in these playoffs. He’s been Hartford’s best player in the postseason, and his goals-against average now sits at 2.53 and his save percentage is .924, tied for fourth best in the League.

Recent history is not necessarily on the Wolf Pack’s side Wednesday. A year ago, Hershey swept Hartford in three straight in the Atlantic Division Final.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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