Brett Berard leads surging Hartford Wolf Pack’s playoff push

Syndication: Westchester County Journal News
Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Promising prospect Brett Berard has come on strong as of late and has helped the Hartford Wolf Pack extend their point streak to 5 games (3-0-1-1).

Last weekend featured Hartford collecting three of four points, after dropping their last outing against the Bridgeport Islanders in a shootout. Despite not sweeping the weekend, Hartford is on the upswing with points in 8 of their last 10 games (5-1-1-2). Furthermore, the club is in a great spot in the Atlantic Division as they remain in 4th place with a record of 29-17-6-2 for 66 points.

Entering action on Tuesday, Hartford is tied for points with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who hold 3rd place. This week will be critical to Hartford’s success as they face the Charlotte Checkers in back-to-back games, plus tough outings against the Utica Comets and Hershey Bears.

Brett Berard continues strong rookie season

Brett Berard
Brett Berard in action (Photo: Megan Boyle / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The 21-year-old speedy forward had a dominant weekend against the high-powered Providence Bruins scoring four goals in two games including his first professional hat trick.

“It always feels good to get a hat trick,” Berard said. “It’s been a long time since it’s happened. But I’ve said before, [we earned] two big points against a team that’s right in front of us.”

Through 54 games, Berard has registereds 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points. He is ranked 3rd on Hartford’s roster for production. Among rookies, he is ranked 3rd (tied) for points and 4th for power play goals.

Rangers acquire Nic Petan for Wolf Pack

At the NHL Trade Deadline on March 8th, GM Chris Drury kept the Wolf Pack in mind by acquiring Nic Petan from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for pending UFA Turner Elson.

Petan, 28, spent the season in the AHL with the Iowa Wild and was their leading scorer with 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points in 44 games. He’s also a UFA this summer, but could be another key signing for next season depending how he performs in Hartford the rest of the way. On Saturday, the forward recorded his first Pack point (assist) against Bridgeport on Alex Belzile’s tally.

AHL Trade Deadline

The annual trade deadline for the American Hockey League will be on Friday, March 15th. Players on AHL deals could be dealt between clubs. From Hartford’s perspective, they were active in the past, but this does not guarantee moves this upcoming week.

Hartford is stretched thin for players on AHL deals, making it difficult to pull deals off. If the club does make a move, expect it to be on defense where they have needs.

There are a couple of players Hartford could look at on AHL deals, such as the Comets 31-year-old defenseman Robbie Russo. Another is 33-year-old Matt Donovan of the Chicago Wolves.

Roster Updates: Key Players Return

A boost to the lineup, Hartford reinforcement in multiple fronts:

  • Matej Pekar returned to the lineup since his injury on January 20th. He provided a boost on Hartford’s 4th line and created a physical, fast buzz for the line. They were flying.
  • The return of Alex Belzile and Adam Edstrom bolstered the Wolf Pack’s dynamic forward group with further production and skill.
  • Defenseman Zach Berzolla will give Hartford options on the blue line.

One Timers

  • Alex Belzile recorded 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) since returning in 2 games.
  • Brett Berard’s point streak was snapped at 4 games. The rookie recorded 5 goals.
  • Brennan Othmann, Mac Hollowell, Bobby Trivigno, Blake Hillman, and Matej Pekar recorded 2 assists in Friday’s outing.
    • Blade Jenkins recorded 1 goal and 1 assist in the game.
  • Nikolas Brouillard is on a 4 game point streak (1 goal, 4 assists).
  • The Rangers announced the extension of Louis Domingue. The extension is for 1-year. The Wolf Pack’s roster is shaping out to be strong for the 2024-25 season.
  • Hartford recorded their 3rd 8,000+ crowd on Friday. The season average for attendance is 5,385.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

Hartford is in the midst of their 3 game road-trip. Hartford will be playing on the road for the next 6 of 7 games. Of the 18 game remaining, the split is 8 home and 10 away. Hartford’s magic number to clinch is 24 entering the week. You can view the Playoff Primer here.

Tuesday, March 12th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 7pm, Bojangles Coliseum

  • This is the 3rd of 8 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 0-1-1 against Charlotte.
  • Entering the week, Charlotte is 28-22-6 for 62 points. That ranks the group 5th in the Atlantic Division and 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 outings.
  • Defenseman Lucas Carlsson leads the Checkers in points with 39. Through 52 games, Carlsson recorded 15 goals and 24 assists. Panthers rookie Mackie Samoskevich is second in points on the roster with 37. He recorded 16 goals and 21 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Wednesday, March 13th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 7pm, Bojangles Coliseum

  • This is the 4th of 8 meetings in the season series. Charlotte returns to Hartford on March 27th for the 5th meeting. The clubs will meet 3 times in April.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, March 16th vs Utica Comets (New Jersey) at 6pm, XL Center

  • This is the 2nd and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 1-0 against Utica as the club secured a 3-2 win on November 4th.
  • Entering the week, Utica is 24-23-4-4 for 56 points. That ranks the group 7th in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Comets begin the week securing points in the last 4 of 5 games (3-1-0-1).
  • Forward Graeme Clarke leads the Comets in points with 40. Through 52 games, the forward collected 20 goals and 20 assists. Ryan Schmelzer is 2nd for points with 39. He recorded 14 goals and 25 assists in 54 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, March 17th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 5pm, Giant Center

  • This is the 3rd of 4 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-1 against the defending Calder Cup Champions. The final meting will be in Hartford on March 30th.
  • Entering the week, Hershey remains 1st in the league. The Bears are 42-11-0-4 for 88 points. Hershey is 5-3-0-2 in their last 10 outings as they are recently struggling.
  • Forward Joe Snively leads the Bears in points with 44. Through 54 games, he collected 10 goals and 34 assists. Alex Limoges is 2nd on the active roster in points with 38. Through 47 games, he recorded 16 goals and 22 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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