Hartford Wolf Pack backing into a playoff spot

Victor Mancini in action
Victor Mancini in action (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The woes continue for the Hartford Wolf Pack as their struggles in March persist into April. Entering another week, Hartford’s losing streak has now reached six games (0-5-0-1). However, they remain fifth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 30-27-73 for 70 points. Five games are left to right the ship before the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs.

As the playoffs loom, the Pack have dropped 13 of their last 14 contest thanks to a sputtering offense. Hartford was outscored 12-2 last week, and with time running out they need an offensive spark.

Related: Wolf Pack sign two Rangers picks to ATO’s

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Hartford Wolf Pack
Hartford Wolf Pack celebrate a goal (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Playoff spot within reach

Entering the week, Hartford’s magic number to get into the playoffs is 4 points over the Springfield Thunderbirds, who are their opponent on Friday. A regulation win seals the deal, although a loss isn’t the end of the world since Springfield has two tough games against the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday and the Providence Bruins on Sunday.

Previewing a possible best-of-three series for the Wolf Pack, they could face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins or the Charlotte Checkers. From Hartford’s perspective, facing the Penguins is the better option as they are winless in seven outings against the Checkers.

You can check out the latest updates on the AHL’s Playoff Primer.

Roster Shuffles Expected With Illness and Injuries

Over the weekend, multiple key cogs were out with illness of injuries. Thankfully, Hartford had a long layoff before Friday’s game to get healthy.

Out with injury:

  • Ben Harpur (No change: indefinitely)
  • Tyler Pitlick (Day to day)
  • Nic Petan (Day to day)

Out with illness:

  • Hugo Ollas
  • Mac Hollowell

Players returned:

  • Louis Domingue played his first game on April 6th since February 28th.
  • Adam Edstrom was held out of the lineup on April 6th and returned on the 7th (illness).

Victor Mancini impresses

Focusing on a bright spot, 21-year-old defenseman Victor Mancini made his professional debut last week. In three games, he posted 3 shots on goal, 2 penalty minutes, and a -2 rating.

Taken by the Rangers in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft (5th round, pick 159), Mancini was poised and sound on the back end. Considering his impressive start, I expect Mancini to be competing for a spot on a nightly basis for Hartford’s defense. Looking ahead to next season, the Rangers have another good prospect with a potential long-term future.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

Friday, April 12th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 9th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 3-5 against Springfield thus far. The final meeting will be in Springfield on April 20th.
  • Entering the week, Springfield is 29-33-3-2 for 63 points. They are ranked 7th in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds are on a 4 game skid and are 3-7 in their last 10 outings.
  • Adam Gaudette leads the Thunderbirds in points with 64 (40 goals, 24 assists) in 62 games. He leads the AHL in goals and is ranked 3rd in the league for points. Matthew Peca is 2nd on the roster for points with 41 (12 goals, 29 assists) in 48 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, April 14th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 3pm, XL Center

  • This is the 8th and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 0-5-2 against the Checkers.
  • Entering the week, Charlotte is 37-23-7 for 81 points. They are ranked 4th in the Atlantic Division and 5th in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and are on a 7 game point streak (6-0-1).
  • Panthers rookie Mackie Samoskevich leads the Checkers in points with 48 (20 goals, 28 assists) in 57 games. Forward Rasmus Asplund is 2nd on the roster for points with 41 (7 goals, 34 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

Mentioned in this article:

More About: