Wolf Pack Watch: Disappointing Road Trip Concludes
Hartford returned home from their four-game swing in New York & Pennsylvania. The Wolf Pack have yet to have a successful road trip this season as the club collected two of eight points in another attempt to figure out playing on the road. The club will be pushed to the test in February with an abundance of road games. Next month’s slate features four home games and eight road games. They must figure out how to perform well on the road before the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs. Despite the recent losses, Hartford is still top in the Atlantic Division.
Through 42 games, Hartford is 23-10-4-5 for 55 points. That ranks the group first in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. The Bears are tied for points with Hartford at 55. Hershey is 25-13-2-3 through 43 games. As a result, the Wolf Pack own the tiebreaker against Hershey in the division, conference, and overall league standings. The Bears have caught Hartford off-guard once again as both clubs are tied. The Bears continue to play well as of late to rise in the standings. Hartford will not meet Hershey until March 6th and 7th for the final two games of the season series. Both clubs will scoreboard watch to see what the other is doing against other opponents.
The Charlotte Checkers are another team on the rise after a dismal start to their season. Charlotte is now third in the division with a record of 24-14-3 for 51 points. The Checkers are four points behind Hershey and Hartford. The Wolf Pack will face Charlotte in early February twice.
The Providence Bruins rank fourth in the division with a record of 23-16-2-2 for 50 points. The final playoff seed is five points behind Hartford and Hershey. The division is becoming tighter as the season progresses.
The Wolf Pack could have won two games on the road, or possibly three. The last two games featured a two-goal lead against Utica and Hershey. The defense was unable to hold either team off the scoreboard. In the last four games, Hartford has given up 20 goals while scoring 12. These points are critical as the season progresses. The defensive aspect of the game is supposed to be the strong suit of the team and while we may see a different team at home this upcoming week, the defense has to be consistent regardless of where they play.
Tom McCollum and Adam Huska had a few rough games to give Hartford a chance to win. Huska struggled severely last Wednesday in Utica when he gave up five goals in the first. The performance was not pretty to watch. Both goalies played in both games in Utica in hopes to find some stability among the defense and goaltending.
Huska performed better on Saturday against Hershey, but he came up short when Hershey had better opportunities late in the game. Tom McCollum played in one game since his call up from Florida. I would assume he will get another shot sometime next weekend to see how he performs further.
Rangers System: Tyler Wall Continues to add to Rangers embarrassing riches in goal
The organization has plenty to think about when it comes to the goaltending situation. From New York to college, there is a lot to figure out. Will Tyler Wall be in a Hartford uniform later this season? Check out this article on Tyler Wall here, written by James Van Casteren.
On The Beat: Grading Hartford’s First Half of the Season
Greg Markiewicz takes a look at the goaltending, defense, forwards, and the specialty teams here.
Comeback Kids Fall Short
Taking a look back at the craziest game of the season from last Wednesday in Utica, Hartford turned a dismal game into a meaningful game. After Huska gave up five straight goals, Hartford had a lot of work to do and was outplayed by the Comets.
The second period had Tom McCollum in net, facing one shot all period. Hartford’s offense was firing away as the club had 16 shots on goal. Vitali Kravtsov kicked off the offense scoring ten seconds into the second. Hartford registered three goals in the frame as Vinni Lettieri and Darren Raddysh converted their opportunities.
Danny O’Regan scored early in the third to make it a one-goal game, then Vinni Lettieri notched his second goal of the night to tie the game at five with 15 seconds remaining in the 3rd.
Overtime had great action on both ends of the ice. Unfortunately, a wacky play ended it for Hartford as the Comets won 6-5.
This is the second time in franchise history which Hartford came back from a 5-0 deficit to tie.
Vitali Kravtsov Heats Up
The prized Rangers prospect found himself on the scoresheet twice in the last three games. The forward had six shots on goal last Wednesday against Utica. Offensively, he is creating opportunities and giving himself a chance to register a point. He is shooting more as of late and is building confidence.
- Yegor Rykov earned his first goal in North America last Saturday in Hershey. The defenseman also recorded an assist in the game.
- Vinni Lettieri has 35 points (18G, 17A) through 42 games. The forward is 13 points away from tying his career-high in the AHL of 48.
- Danny O’Regan is on a three-game point streak with a goal and two assists.
- Steven Fogarty has four points in his three games. The captain has a goal and three assists.
AHL All-Star Weekend
Announced on Monday, Vinni Lettieri is now going to Ontario, California for the 2020 AHL All-Star Festivities instead of Igor Shesterkin (he was replaced since he was up with New York).
You can catch Lettieri and Keane in action Sunday and Monday night on the NHL and TSN.
- Sunday, January 26th at 8pm EST: AHL All-Star Skills Competition
- Monday, January 27th at 10pm EST: AHL All-Star Game
- Defenseman Jeff Taylor was assigned to Maine on January 14th. He returned to Hartford on January 20th.
- Defenseman Libor Hajek was assigned to Hartford by the Rangers on December 14th.
- Phil Di Giuseppe and Igor Shesterkin assigned to Hartford on January 21st.
Hartford will be home for four of the next five games.
Friday, January 24th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7:15 pm, XL Center
- This is the 6th of 12 meetings in the season series. Hartford leads the series 4-1. After Friday’s meeting, the next three will be in Bridgeport at the Webster Bank Arena.
- The Sound Tigers enter the week with a record of 15-23-4-1 for 35 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks the group last in the division. Bridgeport is also last in the Eastern Conference.
- The Sound Tigers have lost eight of their last ten outings. Bridgeport is 6-15-2 on the road.
- Forward Keiffer Bellows leads Bridgeport in points (22). Bellows has recorded 15 goals and 7 assists in 41 games.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, January 25th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7 pm, XL Center
- This is the fourth of six meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-1-1 against the Phantoms. The next meeting will be in Allentown at the PPL Center on February 15th.
- The Phantoms enter the week with a record of 18-19-1-4 for 41 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks the group seventh in the division.
- Lehigh Valley has won five straight and won six of their last ten games.
- Veteran Greg Carey leads the Phantoms in points (21). Carey has 12 goals and 9 assists in 39 games.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.