Wolf Pack Weekly: Another bad weekend dims playoff hopes
The Wolf Pack’s active losing streak is at four. The club has dropped their last eight of ten games. They are below .500, and lost critical ground in the playoff race.
The season could be on the line after this weekend. Hartford began to struggle after numerous call ups and injuries. The ever changing roster gave the club difficulties as chemistry began to weaken. The results are beginning to show. Entering this weekend, Hartford is 26-27-5-3 for 60 points. They are sixth in the Atlantic Division. The Charlotte Checkers are in fourth with a record of 33-24-0-3 for 69 points. They also hold down the last playoff spot. The Pack are in the midst of a three game series with Charlotte.
Last weekend was rough to witness. The Pack was able to get one out of six points. In each of the three games, the Pack fell early and was unable to comeback except on Friday night against Springfield. Even in that game, the Pack lost seconds into overtime. The goalies began to struggle in net as Hartford had rookies in net. Chris Nell and Brandon Halverson played majority in the ECHL. Charles Williams was signed when Brandon Halverson was injured. He as well played mostly in the ECHL.
The defensive core was modified and the new players were unable to get chemistry going on the blue line. In the last three games, the defense gave up 15 goals. That is a stat they need to address as soon as possible.
The offense is on a downward trend. The forwards figured it out on Friday, while on Saturday and Sunday they were snake bitten. The offensive in the 2017-18 season has been inconsistent. There are moments when the offensive is hot, then go on a cold streak. After analyzing all the variables, each factor contributed in Hartford’s recent struggles.
Why playing Charlotte this weekend makes or break the season?
The Checkers hold down the last playoff spot in the division. They are nine points ahead of Hartford and played one less game. Charlotte is a stronger club than Hartford and can go on lengthy point or winning streaks. The Wolf Pack have two more opportunities to go against the Checkers. If the club wins both this weekend, then the deficit is five points. If they lose, then the gap goes to 13 points. That would be a tall order to complete. The Wolf Pack then would have to win out their 15 games remaining in the season while hoping the Checkers go on a lengthy losing streak. The season is still alive, but after this weekend, the playoff hunt was hurt incredibly.
Roster Moves, Injury Report
- Forward Shawn O’Donnell, defenseman Joey Leach, and goalie Charles Williams were released from their professional tryout agreements. Marek Mazanec could be possibly be returning from his lengthy groin injury. If so, that will be a huge help to Hartford for the upcoming weekend.
- Dawson Leedahl and Brandon Halverson were reassigned back to Greenville of the ECHL.
- Ryan Gropp has returned from his injury.
Friday, March 9th vs Charlotte Checkers at 7:15 pm, Bojangles’ Coliseum
- The seventh of eight meetings in the season series. This is the second of three straight games against Charlotte. The Wolf Pack dropped Sundays match up, 4-3.
- Hartford is 2-4 in the season against Charlotte.
- The Checkers have won two straight and is 6-4 in the last ten games.
- The American Hockey League top goal scorer, Valentin Zykov (28 goals, 16 assists for 44 points) had the game winning goal, his third goal in two games.
Saturday, March 10th vs Charlotte Checkers at 6:00 pm, Bojangles’ Coliseum
- The last game in the season series.
- Finishes the three straight games against Charlotte.
- Hartford is 12-14-3-3 on the road.
- Charlotte is 18-9-0-1 at home and have won their last six of seven home games.