Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Looking to build off successful weekend

The Hartford Wolf Pack collected five of six points in last week’s action after having a struggling to start November.

Hartford had strong outings against Springfield, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Charlotte. The club was nearly six for six on points but dropped a 6-5 shootout decision against the Charlotte Checkers. Regardless, the Wolf Pack are competitive now and closing in on the mid-tier teams in the Atlantic Division.

Entering Wednesday, Hartford is 4-4-1-2 for 11 points. That ranks the group last (eighth) in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. While that sounds alarming, Hartford kept up with the other teams in the division. For instance, The seventh place Lehigh Valley Phantoms have 11 points as well (own the tiebreaker). The sixth place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have 13 points while Springfield is in fifth with 14 points. Charlotte has 14 points in fourth.

Depending on the outcomes this week, Hartford could find themselves climbing higher in the standings. Keep in mind that the playoffs were expanded last season and in the Atlantic Division, the sixth place team is the last team to qualify in the division.

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Hartford Wolf Pack
Justin Richards (Photo: John Mrakovcich /Wolf Pack)

Andy Welinski Provides Offense From Blue Line

The veteran has found himself on the scoresheet on most nights with Hartford. Welinski has points in three straight outings, including a two point performance on November 5th against Bridgeport.

In the last four of five games, Welinski secured one goal and five assists for six points. While the defenseman provides experience and guidance to Hartford’s young defense, he compliments Hartford’s forwards group with offense from the blue-line.

For instance, Welinski’s lone goal of the season was an overtime winner, where he read the play well and converted on a great opportunity.

Welinski leads the group in points with eight (one goal, seven assists).

Lauri Pajuniemi Heats Up

The 23 year forward had a strong weekend for the club. Pajuniemi recorded two goals and one assist last week. The prospect is tied with Tim Gettinger for the most goals on the roster (five).

In the first 11 games of the season, Pajuniemi left off from where he was last season. He has shown a strong skillset, specifically his excellent shot. This season, he’s improved on his one-timers.

Pajuniemi worked on his overall game this summer and it’s paying dividends. The prospect upped his game offensively, reading plays well and has learned from his mistakes last season. After a tough rookie season, battling multiple injuries, Pajuniemi is doing well and fully adjusted to the AHL.

Dylan Garand Impresses With Beautiful Save

The talented Rangers goaltending prospect continues to play well when in net. Despite the shootout loss on Saturday, Garand made some superior saves, especially in the third when the Checkers were pressuring Hartford.

One must-see save is a candidate for AHL Save of the Year.

Transactions

  • Ryder Korczak assigned to Moose Jaw of the WHL on November 13th.
    • The 20 year-old forward played in five games with Hartford.
    • Korczak struggled in Hartford this season and had trouble making the jump from juniors to pro. However, I expect the prospect to make further strides in the WHL this season and return to Hartford next season more prepared for the rigors of AHL play.
    • While the move may look like a setback, keep in mind that this will allow for Korczak to play more minutes on Moose Jaw’s top line.
  • Cristiano DiGiacinto recalled from Jacksonville (ECHL) on November 15th.
  • Hunter Skinner assigned to Jacksonville (ECHL) on November 15th.
    • Hartford is now down to seven defenseman.

One Timers

  • Tim Gettinger, Jonny Brodzinski, and Turner Elson are tied for second in points (seven) on the roster.
    • Gettinger notched five goals and two assists.
    • Brodzinski and Elson each have two goals and five assists.
  • Gustav Rydahl’s point streak ended at three games. Rydahl has points in his last five of seven outings. He records two goals and three assists for five points.
  • Tanner Fritz had a three point game on Saturday against Charlotte (three assists). Fritz has points in back to back games for four assists.

Wolf Pack Upcoming Games

Wednesday, November 16th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings in the season series. The last meeting was held on Saturday as Hartford dropped the game 6-5 in the shootout. Hartford climbed from a three goal deficit and registered four answered goals. The next meetings will be on January 10th and 11th in Charlotte.
  • Entering the Wednesday, the Checkers are 6-4-1-1 for 14 points. That ranks the club fourth in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers dropped their previous game on against Providence by a score of 5-3 on November 13th. The Checkers are 2-3 in their last ten outings.
  • Forwards Zac Dalpe and Anton Levtchi co-lead the team in points with nine. Dalpe recorded six goals and three assists in 10 games. Levtchi notched five goals and four assists in 11 games. Chris Tirney and Riley Nash each have eight points for the next two players with the highest point totals.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, November 19th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 7pm, Giant Center

  • This is the second of six meetings in the season series. Hartford won the first meeting by a score of 4-2 on October 28th.
  • Entering the week, the Bears are 8-2-2 for 18 points. That ranks the group second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Bears have points in seven straight games (6-0-1). Hershey’s last lost was on October 29th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in overtime. Since then, the Bears have won six straight.
  • Rookie Hendrix Lapierre and forward Mike Vecchione co-lead Hershey in points with 10. Both forwards notched three goals and seven assists each in 12 games.
  • Mason Morelli is third on the team in points with 9. He has one goal and eight assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, November 20th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 4:30pm, Giant Center

  • This will be the third of six meetings in the season series. The fourth and fifth meeting will be in Hartford on November 25th and 26th.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

NHL News and Rumors

NHL Recaps. All the latest scores here.

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NHL Trade Bait Tracker: Top 20 trade candidates. Read more.