Wolf Pack Watch: Lack of Offense Harms Pack, Slump Continues

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The first place Hartford Wolf Pack is no more. After dropping an additional two games on the five-game road trip, the Hartford is now 0-3-2 through two weeks while away from the XL Center. The first week of the road-trip featured two regulation losses. Last week featured two overtime losses. The Pack collected just two of a possible ten points in the last five games. The group will have one more opportunity to win on the road this weekend before returning home for Atlantic Division action.

Standings Update

The Wolf Pack enter the tenth week of the season with a record of 11-4-2-5 for 29 points. That ranks the group third in the Atlantic Division, tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference, and tied for sixth in the league. The Wolf Pack is two points out of first, which is claimed by the Providence Bruins.

Missing Offense Harms Hartford

Through 22 games, Hartford ranks 28th in the league for offense, scoring 56 goals. Entering the season, I did not expect the Pack to struggle scoring goals.

When you take a look at the stats on Hartford’s roster, Vinni Lettieri and Steven Fogarty are tied for the team lead in points. Both forwards have 16 points in 22 contests. They lead the group with points per game of 0.73.

Hartford is missing a guy who is capable of producing goals on a consistent basis. The offense is missing a spark, and relying on the defense and goaltending is not a recipe for continual success.

Overtime Struggles

Hartford has not looked good in overtime, which continues their losing streak. Last Saturday’s overtime against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was a disaster.

The overtime was all Phantoms and the Pack barely had offensive chances. The Pack scored their only goal in the first period. They tried to defend the lead, which failed in the third. In overtime, the Pack looked completely different in the 3v3, and the Phantoms won the game 2-1.

This sums up the overtime, which Igor Shesterkin was busy in net.

Sunday’s game against Hershey was more of the same. The club continued to lack offensive production and the Bears had the upper advantage the entire game. The Wolf Pack led once, unable to defend another one-goal lead.

The Wolf Pack’s defense never adjusted to deal with Hershey’s plan of shooting on net and following up on the rebound opportunities on Adam Huska. A few goals by the Bears were from rebounds, which Huska struggled to control and the defense never pitched in to avoid these costly mistakes.

Roster Moves

Sean Day heads to the Maine Mariners of the ECHL after playing in 16 games with Hartford. The defenseman recorded a goal and three assists with a +/- of -1.

The prospect will get playing time in Maine after having an up and down season with the Pack. The prospect was scratched a few times this season as well. Jeff Taylor will presumably be the seventh defenseman.

The Rangers officially assigned defenseman Yegor Rykov to Hartford. The prospect has not played since the Traverse City Tournament and could debut this weekend.

Rykov has recovered from his injury in Hartford and has been skating with the group.

Wolf Pack Lease Extension Update

As expected, the Rangers are extending the Hartford Wolf Pack’s lease for an additional season. In 2018, the Rangers and Spectra renewed with a five-year deal. The deal calls for a two-year run, with options to utilize three one-year options. The Rangers opted to use the first one-year extension. The entire five-year deal will be up after the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season.

Goals From Last Week

Hartford scored five goals last week. Here are the goals.

Matt Beleskey scored his second goal in two games. Great play from the faceoff win and nice deflections.

Steven Fogarty splits the defense for his first of the night in Hershey.

Veteran Vincent LoVerde notched his third of the year with a nice blast from the blue line.

Hartford nearly grabbed another goal in this sequence. The play goes the other way as Adam Huska made a spectacular save. Great action on both ends of the ice.

Steven Fogarty sends the game to overtime with a late tally.

As a bonus, check out the world record for the largest Teddy Bear toss in the world as the Hershey fan base threw 45,650 bears as the Wolf Pack were playing in the teddy bear toss game.

Upcoming Games

Hartford finishes their five-game road trip Friday. Six of the next 12 games are at home. The Wolf Pack will not be road heavy until January.

Friday, December 6th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 7:05 pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • This is the third of 10 meetings in the season series against the Thunderbirds. Hartford is 2-0 in the season series. This is the first meeting at the Mass Mutual Center. Last season the group went 4-6 against Springfield.
  • The Thunderbirds are 14-11 for 28 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks them fourth, one point behind Hartford.
  • Rookie Owen Tippett leads Springfield in scoring with 20 points. Florida’s prospect has 10 goals and 10 assists in 25 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, December 7th vs Binghamton Devils (New Jersey) at 7:30 pm, XL Center

  • This is the second of four meetings in the season series against the Devils. Hartford won the first meeting on 10/19 in Binghamton by the score of 4-3 in overtime.
  • The Devils are 7-11-4 for 18 points in the North Division. That ranks the Devils last in the Eastern Conference. The Devils have lost four straight entering the weekend.
  • Forward Ben Street leads the Devils in points with 24. The veteran has 8 goals, 16 assists in 22 games. He ranks eighth in the league for points.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, December 8th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3:05 pm, Dunkin Donuts Center

  • This is the fourth of 10 meetings against the Bruins. Hartford is 2-0-0-1 in the season series.
  • Providence enters the week first in the Atlantic Division, going 14-7-1-2 for 31 points. The Bruins are on a 5-0-1 streak as well.
  • Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka leads Providence in points, registering 20 points in 22 games. He has 10 goals and 10 assists.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.