Hartford Wolf Pack vs Charlotte Checkers AHL Playoffs Preview

Brennan Othmann against Charlotte Checkers (Photo: John Mrakovcich/Hartford Wolf Pack)
Brennan Othmann against Charlotte Checkers (Photo: John Mrakovcich/Hartford Wolf Pack)

The Hartford Wolf Pack concluded the regular season with a record of 34-28-7-3 for 78 points. That was good enough for a 5th place finish in the Atlantic Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference, and 20th in the American Hockey League.

That earned them a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs for the second consecutive year and an opening round matchup against the Charlotte Checkers.

Hartford enters the postseason once again as underdogs, and will have their hands full with the Florida Panthers’ AHL affiliate.

Related: Louis Domingue scores a goal

Hartford Wolf Pack vs Charlotte Checkers Preview

Dylan Garand
Dylan Garand keeps his eye on the play for the Hartford Wolf Pack (Photo: John Mrakovcich/Hartford Wolf Pack)

Regular Season Recap

Hartford went 1-5-2 against Charlotte and were shutout three times along the way, the most by any AHL opponent. The shutouts also occurred recently (March 13th, March 27th, and April 6th).

Despite Hartford’s struggles in the second half of the season, the Wolf Pack gradually improved, which resulted in their lone win versus Charlotte. In the last meeting (April 14th), they downed the Checkers by a score of 5-2.

At the XL Center, Hartford is 1-2-1 against Charlotte. On the road at Bojangles Coliseum, their record is 0-3-1.


It’s expected that Panthers’ prospect Spencer Knight, a Connecticut native, will be in net against Hartford. In the season series, Knight was 5-0-1. He recorded two shutouts. Through 45 games, Knight posted a 25-14-5 record with a 2.51 goals against average, and a .905 save percentage. His five shutouts ranks 4th best among AHL goalies.

The Rangers called up veteran Louis Domingue prior to the start of the NHL Playoffs, making Dylan Garand the starting goalie once again for the Pack in the postseason. This year, he went 16-17-5 with a 3.03 goals against average, a .898 save percentage, and two shutouts. The 21-year-old posted an 0-4-1 mark against the Checkers.

Hartford’s Key Players

In addition to losing Domingue, forward Adam Edstrom was also recalled by the Rangers. Otherwise, the roster will remain intact as we head into this series.

The Wolf Pack will rely have to rely on veteran forwards Alex Belzile, Nic Petan, Riley Nash, and Jake Leschyshyn. However, all eyes will be on how prospects Brennan Othmann and Brett Berard play in these playoffs.

On defense, Blake Hillman has been reliable and underrated. Offensively, Hillman recorded a season high of 15 points, notching 4 goals and 11 assists in 60 games. He’s also a disciplined defenseman with only had three penalty calls against him this season.

Meanwhile, Mac Hollowell will is the key to Hartford’s power play. Leading the defense in points with 44, he set a career-high, breaking his previous record of 26. From a physical standpoint, the Pack will to Connor Mackey and Nikolas Brouillard to shutdown the Checkers offense.

Charlotte’s Key Players

Leading production for Charlotte is Panthers’ prospect Mackie Samoskevich with 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the 8-game season series. Another Connecticut native, Samoskevich’s production stands at 54 points (22 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games.

Another player to keep tabs on is Rasmus Asplund. Signed in last year’s free agency window, the forward brings NHL experience and is an established playmaker. He ranked second on Charlotte’s roster in production with 44 points (nine goals, 35 assists) in 67 games.

The Checkers have seven players on the roster with production above 29 points including Justin Sourdif, who is also a physical presence. While numerous prospects lead the way, the club is well-rounded as offensive support is spread throughout their lines and defensive pairings.

Special Teams

Hartford’s power play is ranked 12th in the league, operating at 19.3%. An interesting note, Charlotte’s power play has struggled this season, operating at 16.6% and is ranked 30th in the league.

On the penalty kill, Hartford operates at 83%, which is ranked 14th in the league. Charlotte’s penalty kill is ranked 13th., operating at 83.2%.

First Round Schedule

Here’s the full series schedule:

  • Game 1: Thu, April 25th at Charlotte, 7 pm, Bojangles Coliseum
  • Game 2: Sat, April 27th at Charlotte, 4pm, Bojangles Coliseum
  • Game 3: Sun, April 28th at Charlotte, 4pm, Bojangles Coliseum*

*If needed

Hartford will not have a home game in this series. The reason is due to travel as both clubs are too far to complete round trips between each series by Sunday. In the Eastern Conference, Charlotte is the only far opponent. In the AHL’s Western Conference, this is a frequent occurrence.

Game Coverage

Live game coverage will be featured on X via Milliner06. For broadcast and radio, radio announcer Alex Thomas will have you covered on AHLTV and Mixlr. Broadcasts will begin at 6:50pm for each game.

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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