Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford Back at .500

Terrence Wallin, Shawn St. Amant

The Wolf Pack enter the final full week of 2018 with three additional games to close out the year. After snapping a five-game losing streak, Hartford has found their way once again as they collected all six points last week. The impressive weekend was a confidence booster for the group and helped the club to climb back up in the standings slowly. The Wolf Pack are .500 with a record of 14-14-1-2 for 31 points, putting the club sixth in the Atlantic Division.

Standings Outlook

AHL

The competitive and tight Atlantic Division continues to show how tough it is for Hartford to climb back up once they fall. Despite being in sixth place, the competition is stiff. Only a handful of points separate seventh place Providence from second place Bridgeport. The Wolf Pack are four points behind Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to tie for the final playoff spot.

The good news is that Hartford faces Springfield multiple times in the next few weeks, along with Bridgeport. The rivalry games prove to be critical this season. A win helps, while a loss puts the club further down in the playoff race. We are nearing the halfway point of the season as the race is just getting started. You cannot count any team out this early on.

Depending on the outcome of other games, Hartford could be in a solid spot if they extend their winning streak entering Thursday’s contest with Bridgeport. Charlotte is the only team out of reach from Hartford, unless the Checkers hit a lengthy losing skid.

The group assembled in Hartford has proven they are capable of winning and playing fantastic. We have seen in past games where the group is firing on all cylinders but we’ve also seen other games where the group falls apart. Consistency is key. I am hoping they can go on a lengthy point streak to help their cause for later on in the season.

Peter Holland Out Two Games; Shenanigans in Rochester

On Wednesday morning, the American Hockey League announced that forward Peter Holland is suspended for two games. He is out on Thursday and Saturday, a home-and-home series with Bridgeport. He will return to the lineup on Sunday against Springfield.

“Hartford Wolf Pack forward Peter Holland has been suspended for two (2) games as a consequence of an illegal check to the head of an opponent in a game at Rochester on Dec. 21.

Holland was suspended under the provisions of AHL Rule 28.1 (supplementary discipline). He will miss Hartford’s games Thursday (Dec. 27) at Bridgeport and Saturday (Dec. 29) vs. Bridgeport. “

American Hockey League

This was unexpected on my end. Last weekend’s game against Rochester was heated. Peter Holland did not receive a penalty for his checks in either game on Friday or Saturday. However, Rochester forward Yannick Veilleux was suspended two games as well.

“Rochester Americans forward Yannick Veilleux has been suspended for two (2) games as a consequence of his actions in a game vs. Hartford on Dec. 22.

Veilleux was suspended under the provisions of AHL Rule 28.1 (supplementary discipline). He will miss Rochester’s games tonight (Dec. 26) at Cleveland and Friday (Dec. 28) vs. Toronto.”

American Hockey League

Rochester’s forward nearly caused a full-out brawl after he jumped Rangers prospect, Ryan Lindgren. You can see the sequence of events here, plus seeing head coach Keith McCambridge yelling at Rochester’s coach during the incident. On Friday, Bobby Butler was blindsided by a hit and the scrappy playing continued. Despite playing only a four-game season series, there has been dislike built up on both sides.

Hartford’s Goalies Perform

Dustin Tokarski played on Wednesday against Providence, earning a 3-0 shutout win (29 saves). He helped the group snap a five-game losing streak. Then on Friday, the veteran played a strong game against Rochester, stopping 28 of 30 shots. Dustin Tokarski won six straight when starting for Hartford, bringing his record up to 7-3-1 with a 2.95 GAA and .909 SV%.

Marek Mazanec played on Saturday and helped get Hartford a win, stopping 40 of 41 shots for the victory. Despite not playing in over a month, the veteran goalie held his ground well. Check out a few of his saves from Saturday. The goalie faced 23 shots on net in the first from Rochester.

Marek Mazanec improves his numbers to 5-5-2 for a 3.01 GAA and a .899 SV%. The game on Saturday was one of the best performances I have seen from the veteran goalie.

The Offense Heats Up

  • Peter Holland had a three-point night on Saturday against Rochester. He registered two goals plus one assist and leads the team in points with 27.
  • Cole Schneider has points in three straight and points in the last 10 of 13 games. In that span, he collected seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.
  • Since returning from New York, Steven Fogarty has points in three of his last four games. The forward collected one goal and five assists for six points.
  • John Gilmour continues to contribute offensively from the blue line as the prospect has points in the 11 of 16 games (4G, 10A).
  • Ville Meskanen continues to add to his points total notching assists in his three of his last four games.
  • Vinni Lettieri had back to back multi-point games over the weekend. The prospect has five points in his last two games (2G, 3A).
  • Ryan Lindgren has assisted on goals in three of the last four games.

Tim Gettinger Injured From First Pro Fight

On December 19th against Providence, talented Rangers prospect Tim Gettinger had his first fight in the professional ranks. Unfortunately, he did not fare well as he took on Providence’s toughest guy on the roster, Chris Breen. Tim Gettinger left the game after the fight and will be out for an unknown amount of time as he may have a concussion.

Upcoming Games

Thursday, December 27th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7:00pm, Webster Bank Arena

  • This is the sixth meeting in the season series against Bridgeport. Hartford is 3-2 against the Sound Tigers.
  • Bridgeport won the last contest in regulation, 2-1.
  • Bridgeport won their last seven of ten outings, but have dropped two of their last three games.
  • Hartford is ten points behind the Sound Tigers.

Saturday, December 29th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7:00 pm, XL Center

  • This is the seventh of ten meetings on the season series against Bridgeport.
  • In the last home-and-home series, Hartford swept Bridgeport on November 23rd and 24th.

Sunday, December 30th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 3:00 pm, XL Center

  • This is the second of ten meetings against Springfield. The Thunderbirds won the first meeting 6-2 on October 28th.
  • Hartford is behind Springfield by four points.
  • Springfield has lost their last seven of ten games.
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