Wolf Pack Weekly: Rangers affiliate fall in standings

Keith McCambridge

The Wolf Pack have hit an all-time low as we close out the month of January. As we enter the last week of action before the All-Star festivities, Hartford has fallen in the standings. The Pack dropped their last two of three games.

Hartford is eighth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 19-19-2-2 for 42 points. They are at .500, which is not good enough in the competitive Atlantic Division. Due to last Sunday’s game being postponed to the next day, the Pack found themselves suddenly playing the next four games in a span of six days. They must bounce back, otherwise, they will be too far back to catch up in the second half of the season. Let’s get to business.

Standings Update

I did not expect Hartford to fall this far behind. Unfortunately, this is the reality. However, the standings are still tight. If the Pack find a way to win out the upcoming games this week, they could be in a better spot and literally forget they were in last place. Now is the time to respond after seeing where they stand against the division.

The pivotal games against their divisional rivals are critical to win, which they have not done. As a result of the losses to Springfield and Providence, Hartford dropped while their competitors gained an advantage. The group will try this again in this week’s contests.

Inconsistency Bites Wolf Pack

The storyline of inconsistency continues with the young group. I have seen amazing games where the boys have won in impressive fashion, to games where they are completely dominated by their opponents. The last three games proved how each game is a toss up in performance. We go from a thrilling 6-5 overtime win against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday night to a 3-0 shutout loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds, who had lost a few key players and also played an ECHL goalie. Then, if you look at Monday’s game against Providence, Hartford was close but not out until late stages of the third. That game itself featured a slow start, and the group woke up too late to catch up in time.

By now, the group should be playing more consistently. Keith McCambridge wants consistency but he is not getting that. He cannot bench everyone, despite the performance of the team as a whole. He will have to get creative in regrouping his team. I know he loves to teach one-on-one, but he will need to find a plan that will help the team get back on track before its too late.

Connor Brickley Completes First Weekend With Hartford

Forward Connor Brickley debuted last Friday against the Phantoms, netting a goal and an assist for two points. In addition, the experienced forward had a breakaway and other chances throughout the game. You could notice his play immediately on the second line. Then, on Monday, he notched one assist as he shot the puck on net to produce a juicy rebound for John Gilmour to convert. I enjoy his playing style so far and look forward to see how he performs throughout the season. After this season, his contract is up, and he’ll have to prove that he belongs in Hartford.

One Timers

  • Peter Holland’s point streak was snapped on Saturday against Springfield. He had points in nine of the last ten games. In that span, he tallied 20 points (11G, 9A).
  • John Gilmour has points in his two of his last three games. He has two goals and five assists.
  • Hartford will play 11 of their next 18 games at home.
  • Friday’s game against Lehigh Valley had a multi-point performance for a few players on the Wolf Pack roster.

AHL All-Star Weekend

The American Hockey League festivities will happen at the end of the week! Check out a few details regarding the event. I will be attending the exciting events in person. More to come in next week’s article.

  • John Gilmour is the lone Wolf Pack representative. This is his second straight trip to the festivities.
  • The Skills Competition is scheduled to be on Sunday, January 27th at 7 pm.
  • The All-Star Game will be on Monday, January 28th at 7 pm.
  • The AHL Hall of Fame Induction will be on January 28th at 11 am at MGM Springfield. The ceremony features former Wolf Pack great Brad Smyth.
  • There will be a post skills competition meet and greet with the players after the contest at MGM Springfield.
  • The following events will be featured in the skills competition:
    • Puck control relay
    • Fastest Skater
    • Rapid fire
    • Hardest shot
    • Accuracy shooting
    • Pass and score
    • Breakaway relay
  • To watch the action, tune in to the NHL Network in the United States and Sports ONE and Sportsnet NOW in Canada. In addition, this event will be streaming on AHL TV.

Upcoming Games

Hartford will have three games before they go on break.

Wednesday, January 23rd vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 7:00 pm, XL Center

  • This is the fifth of ten meetings against the closest rivals in the American Hockey League. The last game was on Saturday as Hartford was shutout, 3-0. Hartford is 2-2 in the season series.
  • Springfield is fourth in the division with a record of 19-14-6-4 for 48 points. Hartford is behind the Thunderbirds by six points.
  • The Thunderbirds won four of their last ten outings. They are on a 1-0-1-1 streak entering Wednesday’s contest.

Friday, January 25th vs Binghamton Devils (New Jersey) at 7:05 pm, Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena

  • This is the second of four meetings against the Devils. The first meeting was on October 10th, a game the Pack lost 5-3.
  • The Devils are seventh in the North Division with a record of 19-22-4 for 42 points. The group enters the week losing three straight (0-2-1).
  • This is the final meeting in Binghamton between the clubs this season. After Friday, the last two games will be in Hartford on March 13th and April 7th.

Saturday, January 26th vs Charlotte Checkers (Carolina) at 7:00pm, XL Center

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings against the league-leading Checkers. Hartford is 1-3 in the season series. In the prior season, Hartford went 2-6 and was winless in Charlotte.
  • The Checkers are first in the division, and the AHL, with a record of 30-10-4 for 64 points.
  • Charlotte enters the week losing two straight (0-1-1). However, the group won six of their last ten games.