Wolf Pack roll to road win in Game 1

Photo: Gary Thibault, Jr.

Lauri Pajuniemi scored twice and Hartford returned to Calder Cup Playoff action with an impressive 6-1 win over Springfield in Game 1 of the teams’ Atlantic Division first-round series at MassMutual Center on Wednesday night.

The Wolf Pack head home with a chance to close out the series in Game 2 on Friday.

Playing the franchise’s first postseason game in eight years, Hartford broke through early on Pajuniemi’s goal 3:37 into the contest. The Wolf Pack then scored twice on breakaways from players coming out of the penalty box, with Zac Jones converting at 6:02 of the second period and Pajuniemi following at 10:43.

Blake Hillman scored with 5.2 seconds left in the middle frame, and Ryan Carpenter potted his 12th career Calder Cup Playoff goal early in the third. Ty Emberson had an empty-net goal along with two assists for the Wolf Pack.

Adam Gaudette had the lone goal for the Thunderbirds, a power-play marker with 8:16 remaining.

Rookie Dylan Garand finished with 24 saves to earn the win in his professional playoff debut.

Atlantic Division First Round (best-of-3)
A4-Springfield Thunderbirds vs. A5-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 19 – Hartford 6, SPRINGFIELD 1
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 21 – Springfield at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 22 – Hartford at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern