Brennan Othmann stays hot to lead Hartford Wolf Pack
The Hartford Wolf Pack continue to find ways to win regardless of the situations presented. This past weekend featured a Brennan Othmann led sweep against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The rookie scored four points total (3 goals, 1 assist) in a dominant 7-3 win on Friday, followed by a 5-4 comeback win Saturday to keep Hartford’s impressive winning streak alive.
“He has a lot of hockey sense,” coach Steve Smith said of Othmann. “He was squeezing his stick for awhile, but his teammates have done a nice job of taking him under their wing and made him feel comfortable.”
Hartford enters the first full week of December riding a 6-game winning streak as the club continues to coast 2nd in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Expanding our scope to the league standings, the Rangers farm club is ranked 3rd, trailing 1 point behind 2nd against the Calgary Wranglers. The club is also 5 points away from 1st place, which belongs to the Hershey Bears. Both clubs will meet in January to begin the 4-game season series.
Currently, Hartford has 2 games in hand against the Bears and could make up ground. The Wolf Pack are 14-4-2 through 20 games as the prospects are in a groove with guidance from the veterans.
Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Brennan Othmann hot
Rangers Rookie Brennan Othmann Dominates Weekend
The 20 year-old, 1st-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft broke through offensively beginning November 17th against Syracuse. After a quiet start in the beginning of the season, Othmann has beeb determined to provide Hartford with his goal-scoring ability.
The veterans in the group guided the rookie and encouraged him to keep plucking away for a goal and it eventually came in droves. However, while he was working on his offense, Othmann was playing well defensively and has been very good in the transition game. He’s also played with an edge, becoming involved in scrums and finding other ways to give Hartford momentum.
From a development standpoint, I was not concerned for Othmann. We know that he has a high ceiling and that adjustments to the pros takes time.
The Rangers organization has been patient with the rookie, allowing him to develop and prosper under Hartford’s coaching staff. At some point, he’ll be ready for a call up this season. Although the Rangers would be better served allowing him time to dominate the AHL prior to his first regular season NHL stint with New York.
The rookie is getting ready for the next steps in his career when the opportunity arises. Currently, Othmann is on a 3-game point streak, securing 6 points with 5 goals and 1 assist. In the last 7 games, Othmann has collected 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points. On the season to date, he has 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 20 games.
“During that cold streak I was playing good hockey but not my best,” Othmann said. “Guys were telling me to stick with it and to shoot the puck… I’m starting to learn the pro style and details.”
Despite Losing Brodzinski, Power Play Continues to Impress
Ranked second in the AHL, Hartford’s power play continues to be a focal point early in the season. After struggling significantly last season, Hartford continues to find production on both units. Beginning the week, the Wolf Pack recorded 22 goals with the man advantage, operating at 25.3%. The power play unit features Othmann, who is playing well as of late. Riley Nash also is seeing time, who is also playing well and dominating the scoresheet in recent weeks. On the back end, Mac Hollowell remains consistent quarterbacking the unit while Robertson continues to develop more offensively.
In Hartford’s blowout against the Phantoms, the club recorded 4 power play goals on 6 opportunities. In their comeback win, the power play struck once to begin the comeback, going 1 for 3 in that game.
Penalty Kill Remains Consistent
Switching gears to being down a man, the penalty kill remains strong. Hartford has held down defensively in moments where the momentum could swing. A great example is from Saturday’s comeback win as the Phantoms had 5 opportunities and converted on only one. The Wolf Pack remained calm, especially on a late call in the 3rd when Mackey was sent off for elbowing with under 2 minutes to play. As the Phantoms pressed for the go ahead goal, the defensive units performed well and made simple plays to get the puck out. Dylan Garand also held down the fort and was unwavering in Lehigh’s attack. In overtime, Hartford killed the remaining time of the penalty to eventually win the game.
The penalty kill killed 8 of 10 penalties from the weekend and secured a short-handed goal. Currently, Hartford is ranked 3rd in the league.
Adam Sykora Continues to Impress
The youngest forward on Hartford’s roster, Adam Sykora (19), has found his offensive touch and continues to roll. Over the weekend, Sykora recorded his second multi-point game of the season in a 4 point night against the Phantoms last Friday by netting 1 goal and 3 assists. In recent weeks, the rookie is gaining further confidence and is beginning to generate offense consistently. In addition to his offense production, Sykora is a thrilling player to watch as he utilizes his speed and stick handling abilities effectively. As we approach the second half of the season, Sykora is a must watch player as his potential ceiling is getting higher with further development.
Riley Nash’s Late Surge Boost Wolf Pack’s Offense
A great off-season signing, the 34 year-old center has surged in recent weeks. Currently, he has goals in 4 of the last 5 games, recording 4 goals in total. He also recorded assists in 7 games as the forward is a strong playmaker. The veteran is consistently on the scoresheet as the season continues and has guided prospects such as Othmann in various situations.
In the last 9 of 11 games, Nash secured 6 goals and 7 assists for 13 points. He is ranked 18th in the AHL for production.
“I felt like Riley Nash was a really good influence on our young guys tonight,” Smith said over the weekend. “He was calm on the bench. He was calm in between periods, and he kind of settled guys into the game”
- Experienced defenseman Mac Hollowell has points in 5 straight (10 assists). His lone game without a point was against Bridgeport on November 10th. He left that game early from his injury. Hollowell is tied among defenseman for points (20). He is ranked 13th in the AHL for production.
- Alex Belzile recorded 3 assists over the weekend. He is ranked 9th in the AHL for production, securing 21 points (7 goals, 14 assists).
- Hartford has 3 active players in the top 20 for production. Including players removed from the roster, that number extends to 4 (Brodzinski).
- Nikolas Brouillard is on a 4 game assist streak (6 assists).
- Brett Berard has goals in the last 3 of 6 games (3 goals).
- Ryder Korczak recorded 2 goals in Friday’s game.
- Matthew Robertson has assists in the last 6 of 8 games (6 assists).
- Brandon Scanlin has assists in the last 3 of 4 games (4 assists).
- Matt Rempe recorded a goal in the last 2 of 4 games.
- Matej Pekar recorded his first assist of the season in his 2nd game of the season. He was called up prior to last weekend’s action.
- Dylan Garand had a strong game in Saturday’s comeback win. Despite a high scoring outing, Garand had multiple strong saves, especially at the buzzer prior to overtime. Garand stopped 32 of 36 shots for his 7th win of the season. Garand is 7-2-2 with a 2.89 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
- The Wolf Pack had healthy crowds this weekend, with 4,727 Friday followed by 5,563 Saturday. Their season average is 4,843 through 10 home games.
- Defensman Zach Berzolla is now out with an injury. He is listed as week to week.
- Adam Edstrom was out due to illness. He should return shortly.
- The following players have no changes to their timeline of return:
- Ben Harpur (out for season).
- Jake Leschyshyn (week to week).
- Keep an eye on Riley Nash. He left the game in overtime as he was in front of Lehigh Valley’s net and faced a shot that appeared to hit his wrist.
Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule
In a scheduling quirk, Hartford’s upcoming 5 games will be opponents from the North Division.
Wednesday, December 6th vs Cleveland Monsters (Columbus) at 7pm, XL Center
- Hartford will face the Cleveland Monsters for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The Wolf Pack swept the 2 game season series that season.
- This season, Hartford will have a 4 game season series against the Blue Jackets affiliate. The Wolf Pack will visit the Monsters for 2 games on January 26th and 27th.
- Entering the week, Cleveland is 13-5-1 for 27 points. That ranks the group 1st in the North Division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The Monsters 5 game winning streak was snapped on Sunday against Utica. Cleveland is 7-1-1 on the road.
- Experienced forward Trey Fix-Wolansky leads Cleveland in points with 22. Through 16 games, the prospect recorded 6 goals and 16 assists. Jake Christiansen is 2nd for points with 16. The defenseman has 4 goals and 12 assists.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Friday, December 8th vs Laval Rocket (Montreal) at 7pm, Place Bell
- This is the 1st of 4 meetings in the season series. Both clubs last met in the 2021-22 season and the series was split apiece at 1.
- Laval will visit Hartford for the 3rd and 4th game of the series on February 16th and March 1st.
- Entering the week, Laval is 5-11-3-1 for 14 points. They are ranked 7th (last) in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Rocket are on a 7 game losing streak (0-4-2-1).
- Canadians prospect Joshua Roy and forward Brandon Gignac co-lead the team in points with 18 apiece. Roy has 7 goals and 11 assists. Gignac has 6 goals and 12 assists.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, December 9th vs Laval Rocket (Montreal) at 3pm, Place Bell