Hartford Wolf Pack chugging along thanks to Adam Sykora and other Rangers prospects
The Hartford Wolf Pack continue to chug along despite having their depth tested due to injuries hitting the New York Rangers and some of their own.
In last week’s action they responded to the coaching change from Kris Knoblauch to interim bench boss Steve Smith by going 2-1-0. Young prospects played strong games, with Brett Berard, Adam Sykora, Karl Henriksson, and Adam Edstrom leading the way. Add in the continual strong performances from veterans Jonny Brodzinski and Riley Nash, and the squad collected four out of six points to maintain strong positioning in the standings.
Thanksgiving week features a slate of three games to close out November.
Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly
Hartford is three games away from completing a quarter of their 2023-24 schedule. As the club enters Thanksgiving week, the Wolf Pack have shown character in the face of adversity.
To date, Hartford has compiled a record of 9-4-2 for 20 points. That places them second in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. In the AHL, the organization is ranked fourth among the 32 teams.
Looking at their opponents, Hartford has yet to face the first place Hershey Bears, who will be the ultimate test for the Wolf Pack. That battle will have to wait as their first game of the season will be on January 19th at the XL Center. The Calder Cup Champions from last season will be a real measuring stick for the players returning from last year’s playoffs looking to make a statement this season against the Bears.
Currently sitting 2 points behind Hartford are the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. They are 8-5-2 for 18 points after a slow start to the season. Also 2 points behind Hartford are the Charlotte Checkers. Charlotte with a 9-4-0 record for 18 points. The Checkers are on a hot streak, winning their last 7 of 10 outings and won’t face the Pack until January 31st in Charlotte.
The Springfield Thunderbirds are fifth in the division with a record of 8-7-1 for 17 points. In sixth place are the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with a record of 7-6-2 for 16 points. The Providence Bruins and Bridgeport Islanders are seventh and eight respectively.
Wolf Pack Playing with an Edge
Last Wednesday against Springfield, the club played physical and got under the skin of multiple players to get on the power play. The Pack also did a great job keeping Springfield’s top scorers in check. Prospect, Matt Rempe led way for physically for Hartford and was not afraid to stir the pot after the whistle. Primarily known being hard to play against, he’s does all the little things that coaches expect bottom-six players to do well. Eventually, Hartford walked away with a 5-1 win.
On Friday, Hartford dropped a 5-3 decision to the Syracuse Crunch. Despite a regulation loss, the Wolf Pack were in the game fighting to get a point.
Hartford would get their payback on Saturday, by crushing the Crunch 5-2 at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack scored 1:40 into the game and never looked back. Anton Blidh and Rempe played their roles perfectly, allowing Syracuse to commit a whopping 8 penalties including a 5 on 3 opportunity. Hartford scored 3 goals in the second period and had 4 unanswered in total for the win.
Brett Berard Continues Strong Performance
The 21 year-old rookie recorded his second goal of the season Saturday against Syracuse. Berard brings speed and a willingness to shoot the puck. In fact, Berard had a season high 9 shots on November 12th and continues to throw shots on net recording 5 on Saturday. In 15 games, Berard has 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points.
Berard could be a candidate for a call up later on in the season depending on need for a speedy bottom-six winger.
Adam Edstrom Solid
The 23 year-old forward was solid last week. In Wednesday’s outing against Springfield, Edstrom recorded his fourth goal of the season and was engaged throughout. Then on Saturday he registered a goal on 2 shots, and gave Syracuse trouble physically. Edstrom was feisty, securing 12 penalty minutes on the night.
Rookie Adam Sykora Shines
The 19 year-old forward had a great weekend as he continues to adjust to the AHL. Sykora secured his first goal in the AHL on Wednesday, unloading a beautiful shot on net. On Saturday, he recorded his fourth assist this season. The rookie was feeling it offensively as he was noticeable and had a couple of chances this weekend. Sykora continues to develop as a prospect and as the season progresses, he will become more comfortable.
The best part from Wednesday’s game was Sykora being the first star of the game, taking it in and having fun with fans in attendance in Hartford’s school day game.
- Riley Nash’s point streak continues. He has an assist in 4 games straight. In 6 games, the veteran has 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points.
- Alex Belzile has points in 3 straight games, securing 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points.
- Brennan Othmann has assists in back to back games.
- Matthew Robertson has points in 3 straight games, recording 3 assists.
- Bobby Trivigno has points in his last 2 of 3 games (1 goal, 1 assist).
- Karl Henrikkson recorded his 1st goal of the season last Saturday against Syracuse.
- Entering Thanksgiving week, Hartford’s average attendance is 5,185. The club is ranked 18th in the league for crowds. The front office continues to do well as the Wolf Pack had 4 of 6 home games with crowds above 5,000.
Veteran defenseman Ben Harpur will be out of the lineup for the rest of the season per Vince Mercogliano. Harpur’s last game was against Lehigh Valley on November 3rd.
Wednesday, November 22nd vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the 4th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-1-1 against the Bruins. The 5th meeting will be on January 13th at the XL Center.
- Entering the week, Providence is on a 3 game skid and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 outings.
- Rookie John Farinacci and forward Fabian Lysell co-lead the Bruins in points with 12 apiece. Farinacci has 5 goals and 7 assists while Lysell posted 4 goals and 8 assists.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Friday, November 24th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, Mass Mutual Center
- This is the 4th of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 2-1 against Springfield. The 5th meeting will be on December 27th.
- Entering the week, Springfield snapped a 3 game skid on Friday against Utica. The Thunderbirds are 2-3 in their last 5 games. In the last 10, they are 6-3-1.
- Forward Adam Gaudette leads the Thunderbirds and league in points with 20. Gaudette has 13 goals and 7 assists. Veteran Nathan Walker is 2nd in points on the team, securing 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points. Walker is 8th in league for production.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, November 25th vs Belleville Senators (Ottawa) at 7:30pm, XL Center
- This is the 1st of 2 meetings between the clubs. The series conclude in Belleville on March 24th. Both clubs did not meet last season.
- Entering the week, Belleville is 6-7-01 for 13 points. That ranks the group 6th in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Senators are on a 3 game skid, posting a 8-1 loss to Lehigh Valley on November 18th. They are 4-5-0-1 in the last 10 outings.
- Forward Maxence Guenete leads the team in points with 12. The defenseman has 1 goal and 11 assists. Forward Angus Crookshank is 2nd in points with 11. Crookshank has 5 goals and 6 assists.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.