Wolf Pack advance in Calder Cup Playoffs with another OT win

Dyland Garand Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

The Hartford Wolf Pack improved to 3-0 in overtime during these Calder Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 home win that eliminated the Providence Bruins on Friday. The thrilling victory lifts the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate into the Atlantic Division Final for the second straight year after a 3-1 series win.

Jake Leschyshyn scored both goals for Hartford, including the game winner that bounced off of him at 9:41 of overtime. Rangers defenseman prospect Victor Mancini ripped a right-wing shot off the crossbar and the puck rebounded right off the body of Leschyshyn, who was battling a Bruins defenseman in front of the net.

Leschyshyn, a 25-year-old center who played 14 games the past two seasons for the Rangers after being claimed off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights, has three goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs, second on Hartford behind Riley Nash, who has four.

Mancini, who has been a standout defensively throughout the postseason, picked up his second assist. A fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Mancini signed his entry-level contract with the Rangers in April after playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and then joined Hartford on an ATO. The 21-year-old had three assists in seven AHL regular-season games and has been a regular on the blue line in the playoffs.

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Rangers goalie prospect leads Wolf Pack to Division Final in Calder Cup Playoffs

Dylan Garand made 26 saves for the Wolf Pack in Game 4 against Providence. — Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack

One again Rangers goalie prospect Dylan Garand was a standout performer for the Wolf Pack. Garand made 26 saves, including four in overtime, to lift his save percentage in the playoffs to .931, fourth best among all AHL goalies.

Garand is 5-2, winning three times in overtime. He also has a 2.32 goals-against average. After allowing six goals in a 6-0 loss to Providence in Game 2 of this series, Garand bounced back and allowed only three goals on 62 shots the next two games to close things out.

This is nothing new for the 21-year-old goalie. In two playoff runs with the Wolf Pack, including last season, Garand is 10-5 with two shutouts, a 2.03 GAA and .933 save percentage.

Brennan Othmann, New York’s first-round pick in 2021, picked up his fourth assist and fifth point in seven playoff games, assisting on Leschyshyn’s game-opening goal at 14:30 of the first period. Othmann scored his first professional playoff goal in Game 3, a 3-2 Wolf Pack win in OT.

Veteran forward Riley Nash, who scored the game-winning goal in Game 3, was injured in the first period Friday and did not return after an awkward collision behind the net. His injury status is not yet known.

The Wolf Pack will play the winner of the Hershey Bears – Lehigh Valley Phantoms best-of-5 series, which Hershey leads 2-1.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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