Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Looking to close out 2022 strong

The Hartford Wolf Pack have three games on tap in the final week of December after returning from the Holiday Break. Last week, Hartford went 1-1 against Bridgeport (W) and Springfield (L).

As they look to get out of last place (8th) in the Atlantic Divisions, they have more pivotal matchups against Bridgeport and Springfield (two). It will be crucial for the Wolf Pack to pick up these points against teams they face 12 times each this year.

Entering the final week of the calendar year, Hartford is 10-12-1-4 for 25 points. That ranks the group 14th in the Eastern Conference and 26th in the American Hockey League.

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Standings Update

The Wolf Pack are collecting enough points to remain in the conversation and they’re just four points away from the final playoff spot in the division. As we approach the second half the season, games will become more difficult and important to the club.

Hartford will face the seventh place Springfield Thunderbirds twice this week. Two points separate the clubs. Springfield also played two more games than Hartford which will benefit the Wolf Pack.

Through 29 games, the Thunderbirds are 11-13-14 for 27 points. Similar to Hartford, the St. Louis Blues affiliate are struggling despite reaching the Calder Cup Finals last season.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms hold the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Hartford face the Phantoms in four meetings in the season. The Wolf Pack won the first meeting between the clubs by a final of 3-2 on December 7th.

Entering the week, the Phantoms are 13-11-2-1 for 29 points. The club is ranked sixth in the Atlantic Division. The season series is imperative for Hartford to win as the group has three meetings remaining to collect points against the Phantoms head on.

Fifth place belongs to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as the club is 13-8-2-2 for 30 points. The Penguins had a strong start to the season but have tapered off. Fourth place belong to the Charlotte Checkers with a record of 14-11-2-1 for 31 points. While those clubs are within reach, Hartford has to have things break their way to gain ground. Relying on the outcome of other games is not optimal but as long as Hartford find ways to collect points they’ll be in it.

Wolf Pack not shy about shooting

Will Cuylle Hartford Wolf Pack
Will Cuylle alone in front looking for a goal. (Photo: John Mrakovcich, Hartford Wolf Pack)

One noticeable trend is Hartford’s focused mentality of getting shots on net. In December, Hartford has registered a good number of shots in each outing. As a result, the club is generating more quality offensive chances and goal production.

It’s no coincidence that Hartford’s high in goals of six recorded against Grand Rapids occurred this month on December 16th. In the last four of six games, the Wolf Pack recorded four or more goals. They’ve also won three straight in that span and have won their last four of six outings.

In the two games Hartford lost, one was by a score of 3-2 against Rockford on December 17th. Hartford managed to get 40 shots on net while limiting the IceHogs to 25. That is huge as the IceHogs are a superb team in the AHL and have one of the best offensive groups in the league.

Wolf Pack Watch

Ryan Carpenter contributing

In his last contest with Hartford, Carpenter notched two goals to give Hartford a 4-3 win over the Bridgeport Islanders last Friday. The veteran is climbing his way up in the points column.

Carpenter has four goals and one assist in 7 games this season. For a group that struggled for offense, he continues to provide benefits in that department. Carpenter currently has points in the last two of four games. Carpenter recorded six shots on net (his highest thus far) last Friday against Bridgeport.

Ty Emberson’s Two Way Game Growing

The 22 year-old prospect continues to develop well with Hartford. In his second full season in the AHL, Emberson is noticeable in the defensive and offensive zones.

December has been a good month for the young defenseman as he’s found himself on the scoresheet on multiple nights. Emberson has three goals and three assists in the last six of eight outings.

Last Thursday featured his first multi-point game of the season with one goal and one assist. As we approach this week, Emberson is tied for third in points with Will Cuylle and Tanner Fritz.

On his defensive game, Emberson has had a few strong hits and continues to block shots. He’s reliable on the blue line with a rating of +7. What’s impressive about his game is he doesn’t get caught up in plays as reads them well.

I expect his development to further progress.

Wolf Pack One Timers

  • Turner Elson’s point production continues. The forward has points in the last six of nine outings (three goals, three assists).
  • Andy Welinski has points h the last two of three games (two assists).
  • Bobby Trivigno recorded two assists in Hartford’s last game against Bridgeport.
  • Matthew Robertson has points in the last three of four games (one goal, three assists).
  • Gustav Rydahl’s point streak was snapped at three game. Prior to last Friday’s outing, Rydahl recorded two goals and one assist in his streak.
  • Austin Rueschhoff has points in the last four of six outings (one goal, five assists).
  • Zac Jones has points in the last two of three games (two goals, one assist).

Transactions

  • Recall Parker Gahagen from Jacksonville Icemen

Wolf Pack Upcoming Games

Tuesday, December 27th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, Total Mortgage Arena

  • This is the fifth of 12 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-3 against Bridgeport thus far. Hartford’s lone win is from the previous meeting on December 23rd.
  • Entering the week, Bridgeport is 14-9-5 for 33 points. That ranks the group third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Bridgeport is on a four game losing streak (0-3-1) and are 3-6-1 in the last ten outings.
  • Veteran Chris Terry leads the Islanders in points with 26. In 23 games, Terry collected six goals and 20 assists. Andy Andreoff is second in points with 24. The center has 15 goals and 9 assists in 28 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Wednesday, December 28th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • This is the third of 12 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-2 thus far against Springfield. The Thunderbirds won the previous meeting on December 22nd.
  • Entering the week, Springfield is 11-13-1-4 for 27 points. That ranks the group seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. Springfield is 4-5-1 in the last ten outings.
  • Experienced forward Matthew Highmore leads the Thunderbirds in points with 27. Through 29 games, the forward collected six goals and 21 assists. Veteran Martin Frk is second on the team with 21 points. In 24 games, Frk recorded six goals and 15 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, December 31st vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 5:30pm, XL Center

  • This is the fourth of 12 meetings in the season series.
  • Hartford is 6-4-0-4 at home thus far.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

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