Wolf Pack Watch: Drought Snapped, Offense Heats Up
The Wolf Pack had one heck of a weekend as the group swept another three in three, collecting six points in regulation. Hartford snapped their 0-3-2 skid Friday night in Springfield, starting a new winning streak with the Pack having points in five straight games.
The offensive slump is over, with Kris Knoblauch’s squad scoring 14 goals in the last three outings. The boys will be busy in the upcoming weeks as Hartford has three-midweek games within the next two weeks before the Christmas break.
Entering the week, Hartford is back on top in the Atlantic Division with a record of 14-4-2-5 for 35 points. Providence is 16-8-1-2 for 35 points as well, with the Pack holding the tiebreaker. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton sits third and is 13-8-3-1-1 for 30 points.
Yegor Rykov Debuts
Coming off an injury suffered in the Traverse City Tournament, Rykov skated in his first action of the season this past weekend. The 22-year-old recorded an assist in his first game wearing a Wolf Pack uniform. The defenseman fit in well from the start and is adjusting to the North American rink quickly. He had a good weekend considering he was thrown into the lineup, skating to a +3 and recording the aforementioned assist. I am looking forward to him playing more games in Hartford.
Lias Andersson Breaks Out
Arguably the best game of the season for the first round prospect, Andersson had a fantastic showing on Saturday’s game against the Binghamton Devils. The prospect had two goals and an assist after being held without a point in the previous three outings. This was the game Ranger fans were waiting for. Lias played a good amount of minutes over the weekend, but he was only able to show up on the score sheet in the one game. Andersson has to be more consistent offensively. On the plus side, he is engaged in the game on a nightly basis. Defensively, he is willing to help out and attempt to force a turnover against the opponents.
Captain Steven Fogarty Delivers
Steven Fogarty is coming off a stretch that had the forward contribute 11 points in the last nine games. The captain had a magnificent game last Saturday, having a four-point night against the Binghamton Devils. Prior to his big night on the scoresheet, Fogarty has found ways to contribute nearly on a nightly basis over the last few weeks. Fogarty continues to be reliable in the eyes of the coaching staff, and as a result, the veteran has played in all situations throughout the season.
Under the Radar: Mason Geertsen
Despite not appearing on the scoresheet frequently, the rugged defenseman continues to be effective physically. The addition of Geertsen has added grit to Hartford’s roster. When Geertsen is on the ice, he is willing to stir the pot, be physical, and cause issues for the opposing teams.
Kris Knoblauch inserted Geertsen on Hartford’s fourth line instead of his natural spot on the blue line. As a result, Geertsen had a great weekend for the Pack. He gave Springfield, Binghamton, and Providence trouble when in Hartford’s defensive zone. The defenseman used his body frequently against the opposing team and has been noticeable in the defensive aspects of the game.
- Steven Fogarty collected 11 points (6G, 5A) in the last few weeks. Fogarty leads the team in points with 21.
- Danny O’Regan enters the week on a three-game point streak. The forward has two goals and three assists. Prior to his streak, O’Regan was held without a point in five straight games.
- Vinni Lettieri has points in four of the last six games, recording three goals and three assists. He is second on the team for total points (20).
- Joey Keane is second amongst AHL rookie AHL defensemen in points with 17, which also ranks him fifth among all defensemen in the league for points. Keane has an assist in each of the last four games. His point per game is 0.71.
- Igor Shesterkin continues to have the lowest GAA in the league with 1.98. The prospect ranks fourth in the league for the highest save percentage of 0.930.
- Igor is 9-3-3-1 thus far in Hartford. The prospect also recorded his first point in North America on Sunday against Providence as he earned the secondary assist on Phil Di Giuseppe’s tally.
- The power play has increased production briefly. As a result, Hartford’s power-play now ranks 26th in the league, operating at 12.6%. This is the Wolf Pack’s greatest weakness of the season.
- The penalty kill ranks 13th in the league, operating at 83.1%.
See It: Hartford’s 3 in 3 Weekend
Here is Lias Andersson’s first tally of the night from Saturday’s game.
Some could say Joey Keane had his first fight in the pro ranks on Saturday. After the rough and tumble, he was called for roughing. You decide if this is a fighting major or roughing.
Nick Ebert gets a great drop pass from Steven Fogarty. That was perfectly executed.
Here’s a look at Andersson’s second tally of the contest.
Here is a look at Phil Di Giuseppe’s tally. Shesterkin and Newell had assists on the play.
The Wolf Pack had a couple of moves this past week.
- Yegor Rykov was officially signed to Hartford last week.
- Cristoval “Boo” Nives returned to Hartford on December 5th.
- Sean Day was sent to the Maine Mariners on December 4th.
- Ty Ronning was sent to Maine as well on December 6th.
The Wolf Pack will be busy as Hartford has games in six of the next nine days, beginning on Wednesday.
Wednesday, December 11th vs Binghamton Devils (New Jersey) at 7 pm, XL Center
- This is the third of four meetings against the Devils. Hartford is 2-0 in the season series.
- Binghamton enters the week with a record of 7-13-4 for 18 points in the North Division. That ranks them eighth in the North Division and last in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are on a 0-5-1 streak and 2-6-2 in the last ten outings.
- Ben Street continues to lead the Devils in scoring as the veteran has 25 points (7G, 18A) in 24 games.
- Hartford is 3-4-0-3 against the North Division this season. The Wolf Pack’s home record is 9-1-0-2.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Friday, December 13th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7:15 pm, XL Center
- This is the second of six meetings on the season against the Phantoms. The first meeting was on 11/30 as Hartford lost in overtime, 2-1.
- Lehigh Valley enters the week with a record of 10-10-1-4 for 25 points. That ranks them sixth in the Atlantic Division. The Phantoms have dropped three straight games and are 4-6 in their last 10 outings.
- Veterans Greg Carey and Cal O’Reilly lead the team in points as both forwards have 15 points. Carey has 8 goals, 7 assists in 23 games while O’Reilly has 2 goals, 13 assists in 24 games.
- The Phantoms are 2-7-0-2 on the road.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, December 14th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7:05 pm, PPL Center
- The third of six meetings on the season. This is Hartford’s second visit of the season to the PPL Center.
- The Wolf Pack are 5-3-2-3 on the road while the Phantoms are 8-3-1-2 at home.
- Last season, the Pack split the season series as the group went 3-2-0-1.
- Listen – Lehigh Valley Radio Network. Watch – AHLTV.