Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: First half of season ends on a good note
The first half of the season is in the books for the Hartford Wolf Pack after they completed an afternoon tilt last Sunday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Providence Bruins.
Through 36 games, they’ve compiled a record of 14-13-3-6 for 37 points and are on a seven-game point streak (3-0-2-2) entering the second half of their schedule. The Pack had their best week of the season to close out the first half by collecting seven of eight points, and went above .500 for the first time this season. They’ve also dug themselves out of eighth (last) in the Atlantic Division. The group is contending for a playoff spot in January, which is encouraging.
Hartford’s recent play has been consistent and is producing results. During their current points streak, the Pack had a three game winning streak before falling to the Providence Bruins on Sunday. It was an impressive showing as they went toe to toe against the second ranked team in the division and one of the better clubs in the Eastern Conference. Prior to that, Hartford was able to secure a win on Saturday against the Bruins by a 3-1 score.
Playing two on the road in a place coined, “Fort Never Win,” the Pack beat the Charlotte Checkers in a back-to-back set on Tuesday and Wednesday. Louis Domingue notched a shutout in the first game, Hartford’s first of the season.
In the past, the New York Rangers affiliate have started strong followed by a disappointing finish. Could the story of the 2022-23 season a reversal of fortunes?
If the Wolf Pack continue their recent upward trend and build on their point streak, the club will be in good shape as they push for a playoff spot in January and February.
Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Standings Update
Entering Friday, the Wolf Pack were bumped down to seventh place in the Atlantic Division. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms secured a win in Cleveland against the Monsters Tuesday night.
Originally in seventh, the Phantoms collected two points to be at 41 points with a 18-14-3-2 record. That ranks the Phantoms fifth in the division. The Bridgeport Islanders thumped the Springfield Thunderbirds in Monday’s contest, which resulted in Bridgeport taking over sixth. Springfield is now eighth in the division due to points percentage.
Entering the weekend, Hartford is just two points out of a playoff spot. Depending on weekend outcomes for Lehigh Valley, Bridgeport, and Springfield, the Wolf Pack may find themselves in a position for postseason action. In recent weeks, this team has shown to be one of the better squads in the division. That should bode well for the club as I’m optimistic despite a tough January schedule.
Hartford Wolf Pack Watch
Louis Domingue Earns AHL Player of the Week
For the first time since 2016, a player from Hartford’s roster was recognized by the American Hockey League for their stellar play. Louis Domingue, a key cog in Hartford’s recent performance, earned the recognition as AHL Player of the Week.
The veteran secured his first shutout of the season last Tuesday in Charlotte (5-0 Hartford win). He finished the week with a 2-0-1 record, a 1.66 goal against average and .941 save percentage. In those three starts he recorded 80 saves.
Domingue’s performance continues to be strong for Hartford. One of the consistent bright spots on the roster has been the goaltending situation for the club. Both Domingue and Dylan Garand have stood up well against opponents to give Hartford a chance to secure points.
To date, Domingue is 9-6-6 with a 2.37 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
Garand secured a win in his lone start last week, stopping 27 of 28 shots against the Bruins. To date, Garand is 5-7-3 with a 3.20 goals against average and a .891 save percentage. He has two shutouts.
Tanner Fritz Heats Up
The 31 year-old veteran continues to find his way on the scoresheet in recent weeks. Fritz has found consistency and is being rewarded with his strong efforts.
Despite being held off the scoresheet in the first month of the season, Fritz is a reliable center that is able to win face-offs along and plays a well rounded two-way game. While he has strong offensive abilities, Fritz is able to support the defense as well.
The forward has points in the last six of eight games (two goals, four assists). Through 32 games, Fritz has three goals and 15 assists for 18 points. He is ranked third (tied for second) on the roster for total points.
Zac Jones Continues Strong Play
The 22 year-old prospect continues to be one of the most reliable defenseman on the roster. Since joining Hartford, Jones has played well in both ends of the ice. If he’s not on the scoresheet, he provides quality minutes on the back end.
This past weekend was impressive for the prospect. Offensively, Jones is contributing with strong plays and generating opportunities for the forward group. The power play is beginning to convert after being cold in recent weeks. Jones quarterbacking the unit is paying dividends. In addition, Jones is teamed up with Ty Emberson, who is also playing strong in the last month as they form Hartford’s top defensive pairing.
Jones has done a good job of blocking shots and clogging up passing lanes this season. He transitions well from defense to offense as well as any Pack defender. As I said in the past, Jones is doing everything you want him to do at the AHL level. The next call up for a defenseman has to be Jones. He’s earned it as the prospect continues show his worth to the organization.
In his last six games, Jones has points in five of them (two goals, five assists). Through 18 games, he has four goals and eight assists for 12 points.
Will Cuylle Selected as AHL All-Star Representative for Hartford
In his first full regular season with the Wolf Pack, Will Cuylle was selected to participate in the AHL’s All-Star weekend on February 5th and 6th. Cuylle will be the lone player for Hartford to attend.
Through 36 games, the forward secured 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points. Cuylle is ranked second on the roster for points (tied with Fritz).
“Cuylle joins a lengthy list of Wolf Pack players to be selected to represent the team in the AHL All-Star Classic, including G Igor Shesterkin (2019-20), D Ryan Graves (2015-16), F J.T. Miller (2012-13), F Artem Anisimov (2008-09), D Dan Girardi (2006-07), F Ryan Callahan (2006-07), G Al Montoya (2005-06), D Fedor Tyutin (2003-04), F Derek Armstrong (1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01) and F Ken Gernander (1998-99, 1999-00).”Hartford Wolf Pack
Matt Rempe With Strong Weekend
The 20 year-old rookie continues to develop in his first year in the professional ranks. In addition to providing toughness and grit in the lineup, Rempe has found his offensive spark this past week by securing three goals and one assist in the last four outings. The tall forward is utilizing his skill set and hockey IQ well. He is willing to shoot, go towards the net, and also keeping his style simple offensively.
Check out Rempe’s beautiful snipe below.
- Brandon Cutler released from his Professional Tryout (PTO) on January 17th. Tim Gettinger is nearing a return on the ice. He is skating with the club during practices.
- Ryan Carpenter returned to Hartford after a brief call up to New York last week.
- Hunter Skinner called up from Jacksonville on January 12th.
Wolf Pack Upcoming Games
Friday, January 20th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the fourth of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-1-1 against Providence thus far. The Wolf Pack split last weekend against the Bruins, going 1-0-1.
- Entering the weekend, Providence is 22-8-5-2 for 51 points. That ranks the group second in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Bruins are 6-4 in their last ten outings.
- Veteran Vinni Lettieri leads the Bruins in points with 29. Through 36 games, the former Ranger recorded 13 goals and 16 assists. Lettieri had the game winning goal against Hartford last Sunday in overtime. Bruins prospect Georgii Merkulov is second in points on the roster with 24. Through 33 games, the forward secured seven goals and 17 assists.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, January 21st vs Rochester Americans (Buffalo) at 6pm, XL Center
- This is the first of two meetings against the Americans. Last season, Hartford lost the season series 3-1. Hartford will visit Rochester on March 10th for the final meeting between the clubs.
- Entering the weekend, Rochester is 19-13-1-1 for 40 points. That ranks the group third in the North Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Americans are 6-4 in the last ten outings and are on a two game skid. The club has lost their last three of five games.
- Forward Brandon Biro leads the Americans in points with 29. Through 28 games, the center collected nine goals and 20 assists. Linus Weissbach is second in points with 26. The Sabres prospect has 13 goals and 13 assists in 34 games.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Sunday, January 22nd vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 4:05pm, Amica Mutual Pavilion
- This will be the fifth of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford will face the Bruins next on January 27th in Providence. Then, both clubs will meet again in Hartford on February 1st.
- Hartford is 7-9-3-1 on the road. Providence is 9-4-3-2 at home.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.