Wolf Pack Watch: Hartford Shows Character; Prep For First 3 in 3 Weekend
We are approaching the fourth weekend in Hartford’s 23rd season of play. Under the guide of Hartford’s top performers of Filip Chytil, Vinni Lettieri, and Igor Shesterkin, the Pack have built themselves a 5-0-0-1 record for 11 points. That places them in 1st place in the competitive Atlantic Division. Entering the upcoming weekend, Hartford will have their first three in three of the season. Let’s see the latest happenings in Connecticut’s capital city.
Tales of the Weekend
Head coach Kris Knoblauch wanted to get more out of the team, development wise. As a result, the Pack had new line combinations in front of Igor Shesterkin and Adam Huska:
Di Giuiseppe – Chytil – Lettieri
Beleskey – O’Regan – Kravtsov
Fontaine – Nieves – Fogarty
Gettinger – Jones – Newell
Day – LoVerde
Geertsen – Keane
Lindgren – Raddysh
Friday’s game with the new look of lines had a different feeling from the group. Despite shutting out the Springfield Thunderbirds by the score of 1-0, the Pack looked slow in the game initially. The first period had a lot of sloppy play and adaption of new line mates. As the game went, Hartford did get chances. The biggest difference is that the players are shooting from anywhere in the offensive zone, hoping to create additional opportunity. The second period had improvements of the chemistry. There was good action on both ends of the ice. The lone goal came off from the partial breakaway, buried by Di Giuseppe. Filip Chytil started the play and Vinni Lettieri fed Di Giuseppe with the perfect pass. Hartford had to play defensive in the third with the amount of penalties in the contest (total of 4). Hartford defended the lead while Springfield was upping their game, especially late in the third. Springfield had a 17-7 shots advantage in the third and a 36-23 total shots advantage. Igor Shestkerin was the start of the game, bailed the Pack numerous times in the contest.
Saturday’s game against the Binghamton Devils had the same lines with different adversity. Hartford came back from being down 3-1 to winning 4-3 in overtime. After a few defensive breakdowns and partial struggles by Adam Huska, the Pack were able to get on the track after a not so great first. The group began to play better in front of Huska, drawing plays and was inches away from tying the game multiple times (they hit lot of posts in the later stages). Eventually, all the hard work and effort was rewarded. Filip Chytil tied the game on the power play with 3:50 remaining on the clock.
Overtime was quick. Phil Di Giuseppe converted on a great feed by Filip Chytil to give Hartford another win. Adam Huska faced 33 shots. He stopped 30 of 33.
Igor Shesterkin’s First North American Shutout
As indicated in the previous section, the prized Rangers goalie prospect Igor Shesterkin had a magnificent game last Friday. He earned his first shutout here as he was peppered with 36 shots. He was the reason why Hartford did not lose. He bailed out the team numerous times with defensive hiccups, especially on the penalty kill or in the late stages of the game. Shesterkin is 3-0 thus far, posting a 1.34 goals against average with a 0.952 save percentage. He has stopped 79 of 83 shots in his three games.
Filip Chytil Stays Hot
Now leading Hartford in points (3 goals, 5 assists), Chytil has points in five straight games. His total ranks 8th best in the American Hockey League.
Chytil continues to be my first player of choice when the Rangers want to do a call up. When that happens is unknown. That is up to David Quinn and the Rangers management.
- Vitali Kravtsov registered his first two shots on goal last weekend. He had one shot each on Friday and Saturday. The forward had struggled a bit in both contests (one of them included a costly turnover Saturday). He is making the mistakes, which is part of the development process. How he bounces back will be interesting to watch this upcoming weekend. He has engaged in play lately. I still see he is making adjustments to the North American ice and game. Another interesting aspect is with the three in three in coming up, will the prospect play in all 3, or will he sit one? We have to see how that unfolds.
- Vinni Lettieri had 4 points last weekend (1 goal, 3 assists).
- Joey Keane had 1 goal and assist on Saturday. Collecting 4 points in 5 contests is a good start for Keane’s rookie year in the AHL. He has plenty of development remaining, but he is progressing.
- Hartford’s power play is off to a slow start. They are 21st in the league, converting at 14.3%. They have 3 power play goals in 21 tries.
- Hartford’s penalty kill is 15th in the league. They have killed 83.3% of calls against them, giving up 3 goals against while short-handed in 18 times.
Ty Ronning returns to Hartford early in the season after a brief stint with Maine. Are additional roster moves expected? Not at this moment.
#HWP TRANSACTION: Hartford has called up forward Ty Ronning from the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Ty, in 4 games this season with the Mariners, collected 3 goals & 2 assists for 5 points.
After two home games, Hartford will begin their 4 game road trip on Sunday, beginning in Bridgeport.
Friday, October 25th vs Laval Rocket (Montreal) at 7:15pm, XL Center
- This begins the 4 game season series against Laval. Hartford went 1-1 last season against the Rocket.
- The Pack face Laval 3 times within 2 weeks. October 25th, 30th, then on November 1st. After that, Laval returns to Hartford on February 14th.
- Entering the weekend, Laval is 3-5 for 6 points. They are 5th in the North Division.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, October 26th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the 2nd meeting between the Connecticut foes. Hartford defeated Bridgeport 4-3 in overtime on October 6th.
- The Sound Tigers enter the weekend last in the Atlantic Division, going 1-3-1-1 in 6 games for 4 points.
- Matt Lorito leads the Sound Tigers in points (3 goals, 1 assist. He has not produced on ice since October 11th against Charlotte.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Sunday, October 27th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 3pm, Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard
- The 3rd of 10 meetings against the Sound Tigers.
- Hartford begins a four game road trip in Bridgeport. After Sunday, they will travel to Canada to face Laval (2) and Belleville.
- Last season, Hartford was 2-2-1 in Bridgeport.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.