Hartford Wolf Pack picking up points despite roster challenges
The Hartford Wolf Pack conclude their five game road-trip Friday in Bridgeport traveling around Pennsylvania and New York within the last two weeks. Through four weeks of the season, Hartford continues to maintain a playoff position in the extremely competitive Atlantic Division.
As we approach another week’s worth of action, the Wolf Pack hold second place in the division with a record of 6-2-1 for 13 points. The club is 3 points behind the division leader, the Hershey Bears. However, only a couple points separate clubs in the division, from first to seventh.
So far, Hartford has built themselves a slight cushion as they look to continue to roll despite adversity faced this past weekend. Despite all the challenges for the roster, which includes call ups and injuries, they secured 3 out of 4 points and now have points in 3 straight games (2-0-1).
This upcoming weekend will feature Hartford’s second three-in-three weekend as the club will visit Bridgeport Friday, followed by a home at home series with the Bruins on Saturday and Sunday. For the Wolf Pack, this is a critical weekend as points are in play within their divisional rivals.
Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly
Wolf Pack Resilient With Injured and Shortened Roster
While the injury bug began in New York last Thursday impacting Adam Fox and Filip Chytil, a similar situation unfolded for the Wolf Pack last weekend. After the Rangers announced recalls of Jonny Brodzinski, Connor Mackey, and Louis Domingue, Hartford signed an emergency goalie and did not have enough time for further reinforcements on defense.
Matthew Robertson was out day-to-day, which resulted in Hartford playing 14 forwards and 5 defenseman. Bobby Trivigno was given the opportunity to help on the blue line. However, more injuries hit the Pack with Anton Blidh and Ben Harpur leaving in the first period versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. While severely shorthanded, they continued to battle and secured a point by losing in overtime.
Considering the depleted roster, the Wolf Pack nearly accomplished the impossible of winning the game. The Phantoms were buzzing often, with waves that goalie Dylan Garand and the defense held off. The club peppered the Phantoms goaltenders (both played due to a conditioning stint for the Flyers) with 33 shots. While a 5-4 loss doesn’t sound great, you have to keep in mind the situation Hartford faced.
Saturday’s game featured reinforcements and Anton Blidh, plus Robertson returning to the lineup as both were game time decisions against the Utica Comets. The Wolf Pack secured a regulation 3-2 win in another great effort displayed from the club. Hartford converted on their lone power play and had a strong defensive game. The group kept it simple and helped Garand return to the win column after losing his last 2 games.
As we approach the weekend, I expect Louis Domingue to return in Hartford as Igor Shesterkin is considered day to day. As for Brodzinski and Mackey, they will be long-term call ups and return to the Wolf Pack at a later date.
Mac Hollowell Continues Offensive Dominance
The 25-year old defenseman continues to roll with the Wolf Pack. Hollowell secured his first goal of the season last Saturday against Utica. In addition to the goal, the experienced defenseman has a point in each of Hartford’s games to date. In 9 matches, Hollowell has 1 goal and 9 assists for 10 points.
The power play is also humming due to his ability to quarterback the unit, providing strong passing to create offense from the point. Another aspect of his game that benefits the club is his disciplined style of hockey. He has just 5 penalties in 9 games.
Hollowell is ranked 3rd among defenseman in the AHL for points. He is 3 points away from tying the league leader, Abbotsford Canuck’s Christian Wolanin. In addition, Hollowell is ranked 2nd among defenseman for assists and is 2 points behind Wolanin in that category as well.
Dylan Garand Becomes Starting Goaltender
The 21 year-old prospect was given the opportunity to play in back-to-back games last weekend as Hartford’s primary goaltender due to Domingue’s call up. Garand continues to show strides in his game, especially after last year’s playoff run. He was pivotal in both outings, as he stopped 47 of 54 total shots through 2 games.
In 5 games, Garand is 3-1-1 with a 2.63 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
Brett Berard Display Strong Performance
The 21 year-old rookie had an impressive weekend that helped Hartford secure points in both outings. Berard, a first-year pro, recorded two assists over the weekend. To date, he’s shown his dynamic offensive skill-set and a good shot.
Let’s get down to the latest updates on the injury and transaction fronts:
- Anton Blidh and Ben Harpur left the game in Friday’s game. However, Harpur was scratched in Saturday’s game and has no timetable on return. Updates will be provided when available.
- Matthew Robertson was out day to day entering the weekend. Anton Blidh was also considered day to day. However, both skated in warmups Saturday and were game time decisions. Both players were OK to play.
- Karl Henriksson returned to the lineup in both games this weekend.
- Defenseman Zach Berzolla and goaltender Olof Lindbom was assigned to Hartford from Cincinnati ECHL.
- Defenseman Matthew Cairns signed a Professional Tryout (PTO) with Hartford. Cairns is another defenseman from the Cyclones.
- Jordan Lorah signed a Amateur Tryout (ATO) to be Hartford’s goaltender on Friday and was released afterwards.
- Veteran Alex Belzile’s point streak continues. The forward has points in 8 straight games. Through 9 outings, Belzile secured 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points.
- Brett Berard has points in 3 straight games (5 assists). Through 9 games, the prospect secured 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points.
- Adam Edstrom secured his first game winning goal of the season Saturday. He also collected 1 assist in the outing. Edstrom has points in the last 2 of 3 games (2 goals, 1 assist).
- Jake Leschyshyn, Ben Harpur, and Ryder Korczak recorded their first goals of the season Friday.
- Blake Hillman recorded 2 assists on Friday.
Hartford Wolf Pack Schbedule
Friday, November 10th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, Total Mortgage Arena
- This is the first of 10 meetings in the season series. The Wolf Pack won the series last season, posting a 7-5 record against the Islanders. The second meeting will be in Hartford on December 22nd.
- Entering the week, Bridgeport is 3-5-1 for 7 points. That ranks the group last (8th) in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders won their last outing by defeating the Springfield Thunderbirds by a score of 3-2. In their last 5 outings, Bridgeport is 1-4.
- Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov leads club in points with 8. The forward has 2 goals and 6 assists. Brian Pinho is second for points, recording 1 goal and 5 assists for 6 points.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, November 11th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7:30pm, XL Center
- This is the 2nd of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford won the first meeting in the first game of the season by a score of 3-2 in the shootout on October 13th.
- Entering the week, Providence is 3-4-1-2 for 9 points. That ranks the group 7th in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are 2-3 in their last 5 outings.
- Forward Fabian Lysell leads Providence in points with 9. Lysell has 3 goals and 6 assists. Bruins rookie John Farinacci is second for points, recording 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.
Sunday, November 12th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3:05pm, Amica Mutual Pavilion
- This is the 3rd of 10 meetings in the season series. The 4th meeting will return to Hartford on November 22nd.
- Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.