Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford battling for top spot in Division

hartford wolf pack
Jonny Brodzinski (Photo: Kelly Shea / Hartford Wolf Pack)

As the Hartford Wolf Pack approach the midway point of the 2020-21 season, they get set to face Springfield Thunderbirds on Wednesday.

The second half of the journey will be a dogfight for the top four seeds in the Atlantic Division as Hershey, Providence, Springfield, and Hartford are in close proximity standings wise. Only a few points separate the clubs. Be ready to have those calculators out, as points percentage determines seeding.

Wolf Pack Weekly: Pivotal time ahead

Looking back to last week’s action, Hartford collected four of a possible six points to maintain second in the Atlantic Division as of Monday. The lone regulation loss was to Hershey (5-0 shutout) on Saturday to end Hartford’s win streak to two.

Despite the ugly loss, the Wolf Pack managed to split the weekend against Hershey by winning Sunday’s game by a score of 3-2.

The week ahead features three pivotal games on tap. Hartford will take on Springfield, Providence Bruins, and Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Around the Pack

hartford wolf pack
Pack celebrate a goal (Photo: Kelly Shea/Hartford Wolf Pack)

Captain Maintains Consistency

Despite missing games with the club due to the taxi squad, Jonny Brodzinski continues to provide a lift when in the lineup. You can see his determination on ice and is hungry to not only score, but win. Brodzinski leads the club in points with 26. Through 25 games, the forward collected 12 goals and 14 assists. He currently has points in five straight games. In that span, Brodzinski recorded five goals and three assists for eight points.

Tanner Fritz Reliable

The 30 year old veteran continues to have a solid season for Hartford. Fritz is ranked third among the group for points (20). Through 30 games, the forward collected five goals and 15 assists. Fritz has points in the last five of seven outings. In that span, he recorded four assists and one goal.

Fritz is a well rounded forward that has great assets at both ends of the ice. He can play wing or center, and when he’s taking a draw, he is dependable. Considering his skill set and experience, he’s great to have around prospects and has the drive to push the team further.

Austin Rueschhoff Continues Solid January Performance

The 24 year old forward found a spark in his offensive game and recorded goals in four straight games (six goals). While his streak was snapped last Saturday, Rueschhoff found himself back on the scoresheet on Sunday. The prospect stepped up significantly in January with opportunities for more minutes and a larger role since Hartford was missing players from injuries or the taxi squad. The dividends paid well for Rueschhoff offensively.

In the defensive zone, he continues to develop and has helped Hartford’s defense when the opponent pressures. The prospect’s well rounded game provides additional depth to the roster. In the month of January, Rueschhoff recorded eight points (six goals, two assists) in nine games. He has three more games remaining in the month to add to his totals.

Anthony Greco Continues Production

Another player that has carried Hartford’s offense is veteran Anthony Greco. The 28 year old provides a punch for the Wolf Pack and is not afraid to shoot or help generate chances. Despite not being able to participate in every game due to taxi call ups, Greco continues to be consistent and is ranked second in the group for offense (25 points).

In 28 games, the veteran recorded eight goals and 17 assists. The forward was given an opportunity to play for the Rangers this season, which was great to see. Greco is a talented player in the organization that has the speed, power, and offensive skill set to boost Hartford. He had a solid outing with the Rangers in his one game thus far. As the second half begins, Greco will continue to dominate in the AHL.

Keys to Success in Second Half of Season

The Wolf Pack found great success in the first half of the season. The group battled through the Covid-19 pause and the taxi squad disruptions.

Despite the interruptions in the schedule and depleted roster, Hartford maintained solid ground in the standings. The adversity will only help going forward, especially for the younger players who were given opportunities throughout January. Their confidence has been building and it will continue to do so as the season progresses.

Development progress is noticeable from the group on a nightly basis. Going through struggles is imperative now instead of going through it late in the season or beginning in the playoffs. The group should be well equipped come April. The second half of the season will be tough for positioning, but Hartford has shown they are able to make noise. Consistency will be key and the group has found that early on.

Pack One Timers

  • Keith Kinkaid suffered a minor injury last Saturday in Hershey. The veteran was unable to complete the game as Adam Huska played the last twenty minutes. The move could have be a safety precaution.
  • Austin Rueschhoff has points in the last ten of 17 games. In that span, the prospect recorded eight goals and four assists for 12 points.
    • Rueschhoff is ranked 15th in the AHL for goals among rookies (nine).
  • Anthony Greco has points in three straight (one goal, two assists) and points in the last 10 of 13 (four goals, 10 assists for 14 points).
  • Ty Ronning recorded two assists in the previous outing. He snapped a three game drought of being held off the scoresheet.
  • Tim Gettinger has points in the last six of nine games. In that span, Gettinger recorded three goals and four assists for seven points.
  • Tarmo Reunanen has points in the last seven of 11 games. In that span, the defenseman notched nine assists.
  • Patrick Khodorenko has points in the last two of four games (one goal and one assist).
  • Anthony Bitetto has four assists in the last two of four games.
  • Justin Richards has points in the last three of four games (one goal and three assists).

Upcoming Games

Wednesday, January 26th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the seventh of 12 meetings in the season series. The series is tied at three. After Wednesday’s game, both clubs will meet again the following week on February 4th in Springfield. After that, the ninth meeting will occur back in Hartford on February 11th.
  • Entering Tuesday, Springfield compiled a record of 19-12-4-1 for 43 points (.597). That ranks the group third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Springfield enters the game on a two game skid (0-1-1) and are 3-5-2 in the last ten games.
  • Matthew Peca leads the Thunderbirds in points (29). In 30 games, Peca recorded 13 goals and 16 assists. Veteran Sam Anas is second on the team for points (27) as he recorded 11 goals and 16 assists.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, January 28th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the sixth of ten meetings on the season series. Hartford is 2-2-1 thus far in the series. The next meetings for the clubs will be on February 19th and 26th in Hartford.
  • Entering Tuesday, Providence complied a record of 17-10-3-1 for 38 points (.613). That ranks the group first in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins enter the week winning two straight and are 6-4 in their last ten outings.
  • Currently the Bruins lost their top three point producers. On the active roster, Cameron Hughes and Samuel Asselin co-lead for the most points at 20. Hughes recorded seven goals and 13 assists in 27 games. Asselin recorded seven goals and 13 assists in 30 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, January 29th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the fourth of six meetings in the season series. Hartford is 1-1-0-1 thus far in the series. Both clubs will meet exactly a week later in Hartford on February 5th.
  • Entering Tuesday, Lehigh Valley complied a record of 12-13-6-2 for 32 points (.485). That ranks the group sixth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms are surging as of late. In their last ten outings, the Phantoms are 6-2-2.
  • Cal O’Reilly leads the Phantoms in points (23). The forward recorded six goals and 17 assists in 32 games. Former Ranger defenseman Adam Clendening is second in points with 22. The defenseman recorded five goals and 17 assists in 31 games.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

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Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

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