Hartford Wolf Pack trying to right ship before playoffs

Hartford Wolf Pack's Brennan Othmann in action
Hartford Wolf Pack's Brennan Othmann in action (Photo: Hartford Wolf Pack / Megan Boyle)

Ready or not, the Hartford Wolf Pack are nearing the start of the Calder Cup Playoffs as just three weeks remain in the American Hockey League regular season. The New York Rangers’ farm team looks to reset after a disappointing March where they posted a poor record of 4-7-1-2 that included a season-high losing streak of 7 games (0-5-2).

The group is looking to turn the tide and prepare for the playoffs in April with eight games remaining on the docket. Hartford had three critical games and failed to hold fourth place in the Atlantic Division. After snapping their seven-game losing streak on March 24th, the club showed signs of progress. However, on Wednesday against Charlotte, the club fell flat as the third-place Checkers shut them out 3-0. Charlotte has now opened up a seven point cushion over the Pack, basically crushing the idea of moving up in the standings.

Hartford followed that up with a 6-2 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds and a 2-1 shootout loss to the AHL’s best, the Hershey Bears.

“We’ve literally found ways to lose hockey games,” interim head coach Steve Smith said. “All we can do is try to pull the positives out of what we’re doing. I just wanted to have the guys do what was right shift after shift until the end of the game.”

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Syndication: Westchester County Journal News
Credit: Frank Becerra Jr. / The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Olof Lindbom Impresses

The 23-year-old played the final 30 minutes against Springfield, followed by a full game against Hershey and looked solid. Through seven AHL appearances, Lindbom is 1-3-1 with a 2.49 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.

Bobby Trivigno’s Impact

In his third season with Hartford, 25-year-old forward, Bobby Trivigno is beginning to play more valuable minutes in the second half of the season. Despite his small size, the prospect plays with an edge as a mini power-forward. He is able to get under opponent’s skin and essentially be a pest on ice at all times.

A prime example was in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Bears as he pestered former Ranger defenseman Dylan McIlrath. Watching the 5-foot-7 Trivigno get into it with the 6-foot-4 McIlrath and a number of other Bears’ players gave the Pack a little bit of an edge against a superior opponent.

Trivigno has scored 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 45 games this season.

Playoff Picture

Through 64 games, Hartford is 30-24-7-3 for 70 points in the Atlantic Division. Hartford enters the week being in fifth place with a five point cushion over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who are holding down the final playoff spot in the division (6th).

The Wolf Pack’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 10. Keep an eye on the Wolf Pack’s games plus Springfield’s. A Thunderbirds loss of any fashion will also shrink the magic number.

One Timers

  • Defenseman Connor Mackey returned to the lineup from injury on March 29th.
  • Nic Petan recorded a 2 point performance (1 goal, 1 assist) against Springfield.
  • The Wolf Pack are projected to record a season average of 5,000+ fans for the first time since 2010-11.
    • The 2010-11 season recorded 5,695 fans. That season also included an outdoor game.
    • This season, Hartford is up to 5,415 for a season average. The game on April 12th feature multiple promotions to bring in 12,000 fans.
    • Of the four home games remaining, three are prime weekend dates.
  • Rangers reassigned defenseman Brandon Scanlin back to the Wolf Pack
  • Hartford signs defenseman Victor Mancini to an amateur tryout

Upcoming Games

Wednesday, April 3rd vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the final and 10th meeting in the season series. Hartford is 7-1-0-1 against the Islanders.
  • Entering the week, Bridgeport is 23-34-6-1 for 53 points. They are ranked last in the division, Eastern Conference, and league. However, the Islanders are 5-5 in their last 10 outings.
  • Islanders prospect Ruslan Iskhakov lead the team in points with 45 (17 goals, 28 assists) in 63 games. Veteran Otto Koivula is 2nd in points with 30 (9 goals, 21 assists) in 47 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, April 6th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 4pm, Bojangles Coliseum

  • This is the 6th of 8 meeting in the season series. This is the final trip to Charlotte in the regular season.
  • Entering the week, Charlotte are 35-23-7 for 77 points. That ranks them 3rd in the Atlantic Division and 4th in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings.
  • Rookie Mackie Samoskevich leads the Checkers in points with 45 (18 goals, 27 assists) in 55 games. Defenseman Lucas Carlsson is second in points with 39 (15 goals, 24 assists) in 52 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, April 7th vs Charlotte Checkers (Florida) at 1pm, Bojangles Coliseum

  • This is the 7th of 8 meetings in the season series. The final meeting will conclude in Hartford on April 14th.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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