Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Looking for some wins
The Hartford Wolf Pack continue to search for lineup balance in the hopes of establishing strong chemistry leading to successful results.
Last week’s action featured the club falling short in the shootout (3-2 shootout lost to Charlotte), followed by their first blowout of the season (6-1 loss to Hershey). Hartford bounced back in their third game last week, also against Hershey beat the Bears (4-2) in the tail end of the back-to-back.
Prior to Saturday’s blowout, the Wolf Pack had a nice point streak of four games (1-0-0-3) but unfortunately fell short in shootouts.
Entering the week, Hartford remains in eighth (last) in the division with a record of 5-5-1-3 for 14 points. In the Eastern Conference, the club is 13th and in the league, they are ranked 26th. The Wolf Pack have three games on tap during the holiday week.
Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly
Analyzing the Standings
As a reminder, the American Hockey League expanded the playoffs last season. For Hartford’s division, the top six clubs will make post-season action. Currently, sixth place belongs to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a record of 7-5-1-1 for 16 points. Hartford is two points away from them. The seventh place Lehigh Valley Phantoms have 15 points with a record of 7-6-1. Hartford is within striking distance if they continue to find ways to secure points.
Visiting the mid-tier clubs, the fifth place Springfield Thunderbirds have 17 points with a record of 7-6-0-3. Hartford is three points behind the Thunderbirds. The margin currently should boost Hartford’s morale as they are not far off from being mid-tier despite the season struggles.
In fact, the Thunderbirds have had struggles this season after coming from a Calder Cup Finals appearance last year. The fourth place Hershey Bears created themselves a cushion from the mid and bottom-tier clubs. Hershey established a 9-4-2 record for 20 points. Hartford is six points behind the Bears.
You can view the full standings here.
Andy Welinski Continues Strong Production
The 29 year old veteran defenseman provides additional firepower to Hartford’s lineup. Welinski brings in an offensive mindset to Hartford’s blue line that has resulted in him leading the team in scoring.
In 13 games, he’s collected three goals and seven assists for 10 points. The defenseman is willing to take chances to contribute on the scoresheet.
Welinski’s shot is his best assist as he’s able to shoot the puck well from afar and help generate chances. In addition to his goals, the defenseman sets up plays, especially with the man advantage. The offensive veteran provides reliability to the lineup on a nightly basis. On the defensive side, he holds up well and helps the young defensemen perform better in situations. Welinski continues to prove that he was a strong signing by the Rangers.
Alex Whelan Takes Advantage of Opportunity
The 25 year-old forward is in his third season with the organization and began the season in the ECHL with Jacksonville. After a solid start with the Icemen in three games (two goals, two assists), Whelan earned himself a call up after Julien Gauthier was recalled by the Rangers.
Since returning to Hartford, Whelan has become a reliable depth forward for the group. In eight games, he’s collected two goals and three assists. In addition to his contribution offensively, Whelan helps with the transition game and defensively.
His extra efforts has earned him a spot on the first line in Sunday’s bounce back win, with Jonny Brodzinski and Tim Gettinger. Considering how competitive the roster is for spots, that is a reward for Whelan. He is building a case to remain on the roster and has made it difficult for management to send him back to Jacksonville.
This is what I like to see from players.
Power Play Cools Down
Hartford’s power play began the season strong. As the season progressed, the unit has cooled down. Hartford is ranked 24th in the league, converting at 17.5%. They scored 10 power play goals in 57 opportunities.
Hartford this season is using four forwards and one defenseman, which has had mixed results. While Hartford converted on chances early on, there is a risk of having one defenseman on ice if the play goes the other way. Hartford’s been burned a couple of times with the play going the other away this season.
Penalty Kill Consistent
Hartford’s penalty kill unit is average in the league. They’re ranked 17th in the league, operating at 80.6%. Hartford was short-handed 62 times thus far and allowed 12 goals. The club is getting the job done defensively. However, they have to be more disciplined with the number of penalties they take.
- Tim Gettinger recorded two assists in Sunday’s win.
- Jonny Brodzinski recorded points in the last three of five games (three assists).
- Ty Emberson recorded points in the last two of three games (one goal, one assist).
- Tanner Fritz was out of the lineup last week. He missed three games. Timetable for return is to be determined.
- Congrats to Matt Rempe on scoring his first professional goal in last Wednesday’s game against Charlotte.
Hartford Wolf Pack Upcoming Games
Hartford has three games remaining on the docket in November.
Wednesday, November 23rd vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, Total Mortgage Arena
- This is the third of 12 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 0-2 against the Islander thus far. In the last meeting, Hartford dropped the game by a score of 5-3 on November 5th in Bridgeport.
- Entering the week, Bridgeport is 9-3-3 for 21 points. The club is ranked second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders are 5-2-3 in their last ten outings and have won two straight.
- Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov and defenseman Samuel Bolduc are co-leaders in points on the club with 14.
- Iskhakov has four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 14 games.
- Bolduc has two goals and 12 assists in 15 games.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Friday, November 25th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the fourth of six meetings in the season series. Hartford is 2-1 against the Bears.
- Entering the week, Hershey is 9-4-2 for 20 points. The club is ranked third in the Atlantic Divison and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Bears are 7-2-1 in their last ten outings. The Bears are 3-2 in their last five games.
- Three players on the roster are tied for the most points on the team at 11.
- Forward Mike Vecchione has four goals and seven assists in 14 games.
- Capitals prospect Hendrix Lapierre has four goals and seven assists in 15 games.
- Forward Mason Morelli has two goals and nine assists in 15 games.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, November 26th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 7pm, XL Center
- This will be the fifth of six meetings in the season series. The final meeting will be in Hershey on February 11th.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
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