Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Zac Jones ready to lead playoff push

Hartford Wolf Pack Zac Jones
Zac Jones celebrates goal for Hartford Wolf Pack (Photo: John Mrakovcich/Hartford Wolf Pack)

Coming out of the All-Star break for the American Hockey League, the Hartford Wolf Pack find themselves in a playoff spot after collecting four of six points last week. Through 45 games, Hartford is 19-17-3-6 for 47 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks the club sixth in division and ninth in the Eastern Conference.

For the first time this season, Hartford is solely in sixth place, as the seventh place Bridgeport Islanders are behind by a point and the eighth place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are two points behind.

Despite struggles two weeks ago, Hartford turned the corner once again this week in excellent fashion. The Wolf Pack performed well against the Utica Comets on Friday (4-3 win) to secure two points in regulation. Then Saturday, Hartford destroyed the Penguins affiliate by a score of 8-2. That game was crucial as Bridgeport and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were ahead in the standings.

Looking ahead, Hartford has 27 games remaining on the docket. As the push continues to punch a ticket for the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, the group controls their own destiny.

The Wolf Pack need to snap their playoff drought as we approach eight years (2014-15 season was the last time Hartford had post-season action).

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

new york rangers zac jones
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Gettinger Heats Up

The 24 year-old forward is getting comfortable in his return to the lineup after missing approximately two months from injury. Gettinger returned on January 20th and has skated in nine games thus far. He’s now skating on the top line with Jonny Brodzinski and Lauri Pajuniemi which has paid dividends for the team and line itself.

Offensively, Gettinger recorded two assists in Friday’s game and had a three point (two goals, one assist) night Saturday. In fact, he scored eight seconds into the game and finished with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Gettinger has five points in the last two outings (two goals, three assists) and is buzzing. He was very noticeable, especially on the power play shooting often. It’s great to see Gettinger shaking off his rust and being a key cog offensively.

On his defensive aspect, he continues to utilize his size and play simple in Hartford’s zone. Gettinger can get physical and is willing to get into the dirty areas if necessary. His positioning has been good and he’s a good passer, which leads the transition from defense to offense from forced turnovers.

Captain Brodzinski Continues Point Streak

The 29 year-old veteran exploded over the weekend offensively. Friday night, he recorded two assists, followed by a four point (one goal, three assists) night Saturday. The captain has not missed a beat since returning from New York and began his point streak in his first game back. Currently, Brodzinski is on a seven game point streak (three goals, eight assists).

Sammy Blais Gifts Hartford a Win Before Call Up

Through five games in Blais’ conditioning stint, the forward collected four goals showing a regained confidence. He certainly made an immediate impact in his short stint with the group and was feeling it on offense.

In Blais’ last game with Hartford, he produced a two goal night and pushed the Wolf Pack over for a regulation win. He was effective at all ends of the ice playing steady defense in addition to generating top notch chances that he capitalized on.

Blais utilized his AHL conditioning stint and came away a better player for it. He enjoyed his time in Hartford and showed tremendous gratitude to the coaching staff and players. He was great in the locker room as well. You could tell he was having fun playing hockey.

Zac Jones – Ty Emberson Defensive Paring Continues With Strong Results

Hartford’s top defensive pairing continues to be reliable as the season progresses. In addition to Jones playing at a high level nightly, Emberson’s game was also strengthened. The pairing is able to produce offense in addition to being strong in the defensive end.

Emberson continues to develop well and take in the experience with Jones. He is aggressive against opponents, he is in the blocking lanes, and has a strong hockey sense to read the play.

Both players are making a noticeable impact and helping Hartford pick up points in the standings. As the offense heats up, their d-zone work remains solid.

Zac Jones ready to lead after AHL All-Star Classic

Zac Jones was the lone Wolf Pack All-Star after Will Cuylle was pulled by the New York Rangers from the event. The defenseman has 6 goals and 18 points in 27 AHL games this season.

Jones registered a few assists with the Pacific Division eventually beating the Atlantic to win the AHL All-Star Classic.

Check out the highlights of Zac Jones below:

Here’s one of Jones’ helpers.

Wolf Pack News and Notes

One Timers

  • Dylan Garand had a great bounce back win against Utica. The prospect stopped 26 of 29 shots to secure his eighth win of the season.
    • Garand is 8-9-3 with a 3.28 goals against average and .887 save percentage. Garand has two shutouts as well.
  • Louis Domingue stopped 21 of 21 shots against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to secure his 11th win of the season.
    • Domingue is 11-8-6 with a 2.47 goals against average and .910 save percentage. The veteran has one shutout.
  • Turner Elson snapped his four game streak without a point on Saturday with a goal.
  • Tanner Fritz has points in the lat two of three games (one goal, two assists).
  • Ryan Carpenter recorded two assists on Friday. He has points in the last nine of 11 games (two goals, nine assists).
  • Jonny Brodzinski is on a seven game point streak (three goals, eight assists).
  • Lauri Pajuniemi has points in two straight games (one goal, three assists).
  • Matthew Robertson recorded two assists on Saturday.
  • Gustav Rydahl has points in the last two of three games (two assists).
  • Zach Giuttari recorded two points on Friday (one goal, one assist).
  • Hunter Skinner has points in two straight (two assists).

Wolf Pack Upcoming Games

Friday, February 10th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the second of four meetings in the season series. Hartford won the first meeting by a score of 3-2 on December 7th. The final two meetings will be in Allentown (February 19th and April 1st).
  • Entering the weekend, Lehigh Valley is 22-17-3-2 for 49 points. That ranks the group fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms are 3-2 in the last five outings and are 6-4 in the last ten games.
  • Forward Olle Lycksell leads the Phantoms in points with 33. Through 33 games, the forward collected eight goals and 25 assists. Tyson Foerster is second for points with 30. Through 44 games, Foerster collected 17 goals and 13 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, February 11th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 7pm, Giant Center

  • This is the sixth and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 2-2-0-1 against Hershey this season. The last two meetings were in Hartford on November 25th and 26th. Hartford lost the last two games (0-1-0-1).
  • Entering the weekend, Hershey is 29-11-4-1 for 63 points. That ranks the group first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Bears are 2-3 in the last five outings and 6-3-1 in the last ten games.
  • Veteran Mike Sgbarossa leads the Bears in points with 40. Through 40 games, the center collected 15 goals and 25 assists.
  • Capitals prospect Ethen Frank is second for points with 37. Through 38 games, Frank has 21 goals and 16 assists.
  • 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