Hartford Wolf Pack and Brennan Othmann heating up under coach Steve Smith

Brennan Othmann
Brennan Othmann ready for action (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The Hartford Wolf Pack ended a difficult month of November strong after dealing with injuries and a coaching change. Steve Smith took over as interim head coach after the Edmonton Oilers hired Kris Knoblauch and helped guide the team to a 7-2-2 record during this stretch.

As we approach December, the club has completed a quarter of their regular season schedule in the American Hockey League. Reflecting on the continual changes, Hartford is showing resilience and character. as their depth has been tested while finding ways to win.

Entering this weekend’s action, the Wolf Pack are on a four-game winning streak and collected six out of six points last week to maintain second place in the Atlantic and Eastern Conference. Overall, the Pack are ranked third in the AHL with a record of 12-4-2 for 26 points.

Related: Gabe Perreault and Drew Fortescue lead BC

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Brennan Othmann
Hartford Wolf Pack start strong (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Character and Comeback Wins

Two of the three games last week featured comeback wins as the club was down by two goal deficits in both outings. In the first game against the Providence on November 22nd, the Bruins scored 30 seconds in to put the Pack on their heels. Hartford responded with 2 goals only to let Providence score 3 to take a 4-2 lead through 2 periods of play.

Hartford peppered the Bruins with 17 shots in the final frame, and found a spark on the man advantage. The veterans and prospects stepped up their game, with Alex Belzile securing the first power play of the game to cut the deficit to a one goal game. Brennan Othmann, who recently began collecting assists notched the tying goal which was his second of the season ending a long dry spell.

The Wolf Pack were not done as they were buzzing offensively. Then with under a minute remaining, Hartford struck once again on a late power play. Alex Belzile recorded his second goal of the night to lift Hartford on the scoreboard over the Bruins. Adam Edstrom secured the victory with an empty net give as Hartford won 6-4.

“There’s a lot of skill and speed on our power play,” Smith noted. “It wasn’t just the goals they scored, it was the possession they had that turned the tide.”

On November 25th against Belleville Senators, Hartford faced a 2 goal deficit once again in the first portion of the game prior to securing the victory in overtime.

Once again, it was Othmann playing a big role for Hartford by netting two goals. He gave the club life netting Hartford’s first goal of the contest early in the second period. Fellow prospect, Adam Sykora tied the game moments later. However, the Senators regained the lead early in the third and the Wolf Pack had to dig deep in the final frame.

While Dylan Garand was keeping the Wolf Pack in with some big stops, Hartford started to turn the tide. Then with under 2 remaining, Garand was pulled for the extra attacker and Othmann put home his second of the game off a beautiful tap in rebound to tie it at 3. In overtime, Riley Nash won it with less than a minute on the clock.

Brennan Othmann coming on strong

The 20-year old prospect is having a good rookie season in the AHL. While he’s been held off the scoresheet for long stretches, the effort has alway been there. After going pointless for five straight games, Othmann now has points in the last four of five games, securing 3 goals and 3 assists during this stretch. He also tied his season high of shots (7) in Saturday’s game against Belleville.

Focusing on the other aspects of his game, Othmann does have a physical presence but is playing disciplined. He certainly helps bring a snarl to the lineup with his penchant for solid body checks. Othmann’s development is progressing, and he appears to have a chance for a call-up to the Rangers.

Captain Jonny Brodzinski Lights Up League

The 30 year-old center continues to dominate for Hartford. Brodzinski is having a strong season offensively as he’s registered 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 16 games. Over the weekend, he competed against Springfield’s top scorer Adam Gaudette, and netted 2 assists while Gaudette was held off the scoresheet. Prior to Friday’s outing, Springfield’s Gaudette was leading the league for production while Brodzinski was within striking distance.

Hartford’s captain is scoring at a 1.56 points per game rate, which is ranked sixth in the league. Brodzinski is ranked fourth in the AHL for goals, while also ranked seventh in assists.

Mentorship is also pivotal for the prospects in the Rangers organization, which have been in good hands since Brodzinski was signed for the 2020-21 season. He is doing everything you would want from a captain and it’s hard to find a knock on his game.

Riley Nash Maintains Consistency

A free agency signing over the summer, the 34 year-old center has settled in and is beginning to produce. Nash enters this week on a seven-game point streak, securing an assist in each of the last 7 outings and has recorded goals in back to back matches. Through 18 games, Nash has 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points. He is ranked 19th in the AHL for production.

Matt Rempe Continues to Provide Toughness in Lineup

The 21 year-old forward continues to make an impact on Hartford’s roster. While not known for scoring, Rempe is giving opponents a tough time on ice from his rough and tough play. He continues to defend teammates when needed and is willing to stir the pot on ice to throw opponents off from their game.

On Friday, Rempe scored the game winning goal on a breakaway to register his second of the season. Then on Saturday, he challenged and dropped the gloves with Belleville’s Bokondji Imama and held his own with one of the AHL’s toughest.

One Timers

  • Alex Belzile is ranked 2nd on the roster for points and 13th in the league. Through 18 games, the veteran secured 7 goals and 11 assist for 18 points.
    • Belzile recorded a 3 point game against Providence last Wednesday (2 goals, 1 assist).
    • His 5 game point streak ended on Saturday.
  • Mac Hollowell returned to the lineup from injury on Wednesday.
    • His first game back featured a multi-point game as he recorded 4 assists.
    • Hollowell did not miss a beat as he is currently on a 3 game point streak (7 assists).
    • He leads all defenseman in points throughout the league (16). He is one point away from being the league leader in assists.
  • Adam Edstrom has points in the last 4 of 6 outings (4 goals).
  • Adam Sykora has points in the last 3 of 4 games (1 goal, 2 assists).
  • Matthew Robertson has points in the last 5 of 6 games (5 assists).
  • Connor Mackey is ranked 3rd in the AHL for +/- with a +11. That is impressive to do while missing majority of games in November.
  • Brennan Othmann and Brett Berard are in the top 20 for production among rookies.
    • Othmann is ranked 11th for 13 points.
    • Berard is ranked 16th for 11 points.
  • Louis Domingue is ranked 3rd in the AHL for the lowest goals against average (1.72). He is ranked 2nd highest in save percentage (.937). Domingue has 6 wins, which is the 7th highest in the AHL.
  • Dylan Garand has 6 wins in the season which puts him 12th in the league in the category.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

Hartford will be home heavy in the month of December as the club will play 7 games at the XL Center and 3 away.

Friday, December 1st vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 4th of 6 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 2-1 against the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley won the last meeting on November 3rd by a score of 5-4 in overtime.
  • Entering the week, Lehigh Valley is 9-6-3 for 21 points. That ranks the club 3rd in the Atlantic Division 6th in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms are on a 6 game point streak, posting a 5-0-1 streak. Lehigh Valley is 6-2-2 in their last 10 outings.
  • Flyers prospect Olle Lycksell leads the Phantoms in points with 18. Through 18 games, Lycksell has 12 goals and 6 assists. The forward has a goal in each meeting between the clubs. He is also ranked 10th in the AHL for production.
  • Experienced forward Tanner Laczynski is 2nd on the team for points with 17. Through 16 games, Laczynski posted 6 goals and 11 assists. He has 2 assists against Hartford. He is ranked 20th in the AHL for production.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, December 2nd vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 5th of 6 meetings in the season series. The final meeting will conclude at the PPL Center on January 12th.
  • 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