Lettieri (AHL)

Wolf Pack Watch: Hartford‘s excellent season continues at midway point

The Wolf Pack’s first half of the season was completed this past weekend in Hartford on Friday night against the Charlotte Checkers. Hartford began their second half of the season Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. There are 37 games remaining on the docket for the Wolf Pack.

Through 39 games, Hartford is 23-9-2-5 for 53 points. That ranks them 1st in the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference, and tied for 3rd in the American Hockey League (Tied for 2nd with the Tucson Road Runners. However, Tucson has the tiebreaker as they played 4 less games than Hartford).

The Wolf Pack continue their road trip as the club has 3 games throughout the week.

Adam Huska Becomes Starting Goalie

Huska (Wolf Pack)

Kris Knoblauch gave Huska the nod to become Hartford’s starting goalie once Igor Shesterkin was called up to New York last Monday. The Rangers prospect played in 3 straight games, stopping 80 of 85 shots. His record improves to 8-4-4 with a 2.61 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. Huska has looked great in his recent games, after struggling in his previous starts.

Transactions

  • Igor Shesterkin called up on January 6th.
  • Tom McCollum assigned to Hartford from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL on January 6th.
  • Steven Fogarty returned to Hartford on December 12th.
  • Phil Di Giuseppe was called up on January 12th.

Tom McCollum Debuts Against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Veteran goaltender Tom McCollum was a July 1st signing by Hartford last summer. Despite a rough and slow start to his game in the ECHL, the veteran found himself in Hartford at the halfway point of the season. Unfortunately, McCollum’s first game in a Hartford uniform was a shutout for the Penguins as Hartford lost 1-0 for their 2nd game without registering a goal in a contest.

Prior to his debut in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, McCollum spent time with the Rangers ECHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners. The goaltender played in 11 games, going 5-5 with a 3.71 goals against average and a .886 save percentage. Then he was assigned to Florida of the ECHL and has played 3 games, going 3-0 with a 1.65 goals against average and a .938 save percentage.

Standings Outlook

The Hershey Bears continue to be right behind the Wolf Pack in the Atlantic Division. Hershey ranks 2nd in the division and is behind Hartford by 2 points. The Providence Bruins rank 3rd, compiling a record of 22-15-1-2 for 47 points. The Springfield Thunderbirds are in 4th with a record of 21-18-2 for 44 points. Charlotte is in 5th with 43 points. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is in 6th for 42 points. Seventh place belongs to Lehigh Valley with 35 points and eighth place (last) belongs to Bridgeport with 33 points. There is a 20 point gap between 1st and 8th in the division with a cluster between 3rd to 6th.

Phil Di Giuseppe Called Up

The 26 year old forward has earned himself a call up to New York based on his performance this season. Di Giuseppe has heated up offensively, registering 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in the last 6 of 7 games. The forward had 7 points in 4 straight games as well. He is a great spark to Hartford and could become a spark for the depth positions in New York. He has a great all around game and can fill in any voids while Brendan Lemiux is out.

On The Beat: Yegor Rykov Analysis

Be sure to check out Greg Markiewicz’s article on up and coming defenseman Yegor Rykov here.

One Timers

  • Vinni Lettieri leads the team in points (32). That ranks the forward 17th among players in the league for points. Lettieri collected 15 goals and 17 assists in 39 games. The forward also ranks 10th in the league for power play goals (7).
  • Rookie Joey Keane snapped his 8 game drought last Friday in Hartford as the prospect recorded 1 assist.
  • Cristoval “Boo” Nieves had 4 game point streak snap on Saturday. The forward has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in the last 6 of 8 games.
  • Tim Gettinger has 7 points in the last 4 of 7 games (4 goals, 3 assists). The forward had a 3 point performance last Friday against Charlotte.
  • Mason Geertsen recorded 2 assists last Friday. The rugged defenseman had his first multiple point game of the season.
  • Despite being held off the scoresheet in 6 games, Vitali Kratvsov has continuous effort on the ice. His game may not show on the scoresheet, but he is playing consistent with his line. Kravtsov continues to produce opportunities and is working on his game in all ends of the ice. He has struggles in moments, but is working to become a better player overall.
  • Ryan Gropp had a quiet but great games this past week. Gropp recorded 1 assist on last Wednesday and has done the little aspects of the game well to help Hartford in the depth roles. He has generated a few chances, forced a few turnovers and has gave opponents trouble as of late. After a slow start to the season, Gropp is having good looks on ice.
  • Matt Beleskey continues to be consistent offensively. The veteran has 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) in the last 6 of 9 games.
    • Check out Beleskey’s beautiful goal from last Friday here. What a play and effort!!!
  • Hartford is 16-1-0-2 through 19 home games at the XL Center. That is the best home record in the league.
  • Hartford is 7-8-2-3 through 20 games away from home.

Upcoming Games

Wednesday, January 15th vs Utica Comets (Vancouver) at 7pm, Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium

  • This is the 2nd of 4 meetings in the season series against Utica. Hartford won the first meeting 3-1 on 1/4 at the XL Center.
  • The Comets enter the week with a record of 22-13-2-2 for 48 points in the North Division. That ranks them 1st in the division. Utica is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
  • Reid Boucher lead the Comets on offense with 42 points in 34 games. The forward recorded 22 goals and 20 assists. Boucher ranks 1st in the league for points.
  • Rookie Brogan Rafferty ranks 15th among players in the league for points. The Canucks prospect has 5 goals, 28 assists for 33 points in 39 games.
  • Nikolay Goldobin and Kole Lind rank 19th and 20th respectively in the league for points (32).
  • Listen – KRock94.9. Watch – AHLTV.
    • NOTE: Hartford does not broadcast away games unless noted otherwise.

Friday, January 17th vs Utica Comets (Vancouver) at 7pm, Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium

  • This is the 3rd of 4 meetings in the season series against the Utica Comets. The final meeting will be on 3/28 in Hartford.
  • Hartford is 10-5-1-1 against the Comets in the last 5 years.
  • This is the 3rd of 4 games on the road trip for the Wolf Pack.
  • Listen – KRock94.9. Watch – AHLTV.
    • NOTE: Hartford does not broadcast away games unless noted otherwise.

Saturday, January 18th vs Hershey Bears (Washington) at 7pm, Giant Center

  • This is the 4th of 6 meetings in the season series against Hershey. The Bears have won their last 8 of 10 games. This is the last meeting at the Giant Center. The last 2 meetings will be in Hartford on March 6th and 7th.
  • The Bears enter the week with a record of 23-11-2-3 for 51 points. That ranks them 2nd in the Atlantic Division.
  • Mike Sgarbossa lead the Bears in offense as the forward recorded 11 goals, 24 assists for 35 points in 34 games.
  • The Wolf Pack are 1-0-1 at the Giant Center this season. Hartford won the last game in Hershey, 2-1 on 1/8.
  • Listen – Fox Sports 1460 Harrisburg. Watch – AHLTV.
    • NOTE: Hartford does not broadcast away games unless noted otherwise.

One thought on “Wolf Pack Watch: Hartford‘s excellent season continues at midway point

  • January 13, 2020 at 8:25 am
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    Kudos to John Davidson for instilling a winning family atmosphere in the Ranger’s organization. Getting the farm system on the right footing is a big plus and will supply MSG with formidable replacements when needed. it is good to see Adam Huska has his chance. Let’s hope he continues to develop. Looking at their current rooster, i see so many players that have had a taste with the big club. Hopefully, they now know what it takes to stay, so they know what improvements are needed in their game.

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