Wolf Pack Watch: Hartford Splits Weekend, Back on Top

Knoblauch (AHL)

The Hartford Wolf Pack will have one last game to close out the decade on Tuesday night in Hartford. The group prepares for three games this week. After struggling on the road against Bridgeport, Hartford bounced back with a great win against Providence. The agenda for 2020 is to be a better team on the road. That is the continual issue for the club this season. Let’s get down to business on the latest happenings.

Standings Update

The Wolf Pack enter the week with a record of 18-8-2-5 for 43 points in the Atlantic Division. That puts them 1st in the Atlantic Division. The Providence Bruins are in 2nd with a record of 20-12-1-2 for 43 points. The Wolf Pack continue to dominate the Bruins in the season series (5-0-0-1) and as a result, own the tiebreaker. The Hershey Bears are in 3rd with a record of 18-10-2-3 for 41 points. The Bears have won their last 10 of 11 games and crept up on Hartford and Providence. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 4th with a record of 17-12-3-1 for 38 points. They are 5 points behind Hartford and Providence.

Vitali Kravtsov Update

The forward had two good games this past weekend. He was held off the scoresheet Friday, but scored his 2nd goal of the season Saturday night. Kravtsov has points in the last 3 of 5 games since his return to Hartford (2 goals, 1 assist). The prospect had stellar chances in the last 2 games and was noticeable. The offensive upside is gradually coming out as Kravtsov is adjusting to North America better in his second go which is promising to see. He is not afraid to create offensive chances, or to handle the puck. He was a bit physical as well. Let’s see how he performs in the next 3 games.

On the beat: Analyzing the Wolf Pack Road Woes

Check in an in depth look on Hartford’s road struggles here, written by Greg Markiewicz.

Congrats Coach! Wolf Pack Head Coach All-Star Game Bound

Announced on Sunday afternoon by the American Hockey League, Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch is named the head coach of the Atlantic Division All-Stars squad.

“Knoblauch has guided Hartford to an 18-8-2-5 record in 33 games in his first season as the Wolf Pack’s Head Coach and his first season as a Head Coach in the professional ranks. Hartford’s .652 points percentage thus far this season is the best in the Atlantic Division, the third-best in the Eastern Conference, and the sixth-best in the AHL. The Wolf Pack have also posted an AHL-best 13-1-0-2 record at home this season.

Under Knoblauch’s guidance, several Wolf Pack players rank among the league leaders in numerous categories this season. Igor Shesterkin leads all qualified AHL goaltenders in GAA (1.98) and is tied for fourth in SV% (.932) this season, and he is also tied for second in the AHL in wins (13). In addition, Joey Keane is tied for second among AHL defensemen in goals (six) and is tied for fifth among AHL defensemen in points (21) thus far in 2019-20.”

Bob Crawford

Knoblauch joins Chris Taylor (head coach for the North Division) from the Rochester Americans, Karl Taylor (head coach for the Central Division) from the Milwaukee Admirals, and Jay Varady (head coach for the Pacific Division) from the Tucson Road Runners.

The AHL All-Star skills competition will be on Sunday, January 26th. The All-Star game will be on Monday, January 27th.

Roster Moves

  • Steven Fogarty recalled by New York on December 28th. Then he was returned on the following day, then recalled once again. Unusual moves, unless there was a mistake on the AHL transaction page.
  • Dillan Fox signed a PTO to join Hartford on December 28th. Fox spent the season in Maine, collecting 12 goals, 12 assists for 24 points in 27 games.
  • Shawn McBride returned to Hartford on December 26th.
  • Tom McCollum was called up on December 26th to be reassigned to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

One Timers

  • Phil Di Giuseppe has points in the last 4 of 5 games (5 goals).
  • Cristoval “Boo” Nieves has 3 points in the last 2 games (1 goal, 2 assists).
  • Matt Beleskey has points in the last 2 of 3 games (2 goals, 1 assist).
  • Vincent LoVerde has points in the last 2 of 3 games (2 assists).
  • Yegor Rykov had 2 assists last Saturday against Providence. This is his first multiple point game in the professional ranks.
  • The regulation loss to Bridgeport last Friday is the first regulation loss of the season against teams in the Atlantic Division.

Upcoming Games

Tuesday, December 31st vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 5pm, XL Center

  • This is the 5th of 12 meetings in the season series against Bridgeport. The Wolf Pack are 3-1 against the Sound Tigers thus far. The first loss in the season series was last Friday in Bridgeport (5-1 loss).
  • The Sound Tigers are 13-16-4-1 for 31 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks them 7th in the division. Bridgeport enters the week on a 2-0-1 streak. They are 5-4-1 in the last 10 outings.
  • Defenseman Sebastian Aho leads Bridgeport in points (19). He has 2 goals, 17 assists in 33 games. Matt Lorito leads the forwards in points (18). He ranks 2nd for total points on Bridgeport, recording 7 goals, 11 assists for 32 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, January 3rd vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7:05pm, Dunkin Donuts Center

  • This is the 6th of 10 meetings in the season series against Providence. The Wolf Pack are 5-0-0-1 in the season series. Hartford’s only loss was on 11/15 (4-3 Shootout Loss in Providence).
  • The Bruins continue to be one of the top teams in the division. The Wolf Pack have 2 games on hand against the Bruins that could propel Hartford ahead of Providence.
  • Rookie forward Jack Studnicka leads the Bruins in points (26). The prospect has 14 goals, 12 assists for 33 points in 33 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, January 4th vs Utica Comets (Vancouver) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 1st of 4 meetings against Utica. Last season, Hartford split the series 2-1-0-1. Utica is also the last team Hartford will play in the North Division. The first 3 meetings will be in January while the last meeting will be on March 28th in Hartford.
  • The Comets are 19-10-2-2 for 42 points in the North Division. That ranks them 2nd in the division. The Comets enter the week on a 4-0-1 streak and won their last 6 of 10 outings.
  • Reid Boucher leads the Comets in points (39). The forward has 20 goals, 19 assists in 28 games. Boucher ranks 2nd in the league for points.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.