Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford looks to continue progress on great season

zac jones
Ty Ronning and Zac Jones celebrate (Photo: Kelly Shea / Wolf Pack)

The Wolf Pack played their first game back from the COVID-19 protocol pause last Sunday in Allentown against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. This was the first time they played since November 27th against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Now the team prepares for their fourth three in three weekend of the season.

Hartford is looking to resume where they left off prior to going on the pause.

Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford’s First Game Back

As expected, the Wolf Pack struggled in their first game back against Lehigh Valley with limited practice time. On the plus side, Hartford collected a point out of the contest as the group dropped a 4-3 shootout decision.

Morgan Barron snapped his four game drought while Zac Jones continued to produce on the blue line. Austin Rueschhoff recorded Hartford’s second goal of the game while Jones tied the contest with a few minutes to play in the third. Adam Huska performed well despite getting the loss in net stopping 26 of 29 shots and one of three shooters in the skills competition.

It’s hard to expect a club to be sharp after a long layoff. You have to give the group credit for sticking in the game despite being dominated, especially in the first and second period of the game. Furthermore, a couple of the regular players were out of the lineup (more information provided below).

The Springfield Thunderbirds came out of the pause and were swept last weekend (0-3) and lost players to the Blues due to call-ups. The Providence Bruins played with a depleted roster and posted a 2-1 record on the weekend. These clubs are not back to 100% and patience will be key in Hartford.

Jarred Tinordi Begins Conditioning Stint

jarred tinordi
Nov 6, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Blake Coleman (20) and New York Rangers defenseman Jarred Tinordi (5) battle for the puck during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Assigned by the Rangers on December 10th, the defenseman will play in five games with Hartford during his two week conditioning stint.

Tinordi started his first game with the club on a rusty, struggling note. However, the defenseman had a nice huge hit early on in the contest.

He was lost his position several times and had to adjust to Hartford’s schemas. As the games pass by, I expect the defenseman to settle in. Zac Jones had Tinordi as a partner on the blue line for top minutes. Jones also helped Libor Hajek on his conditioning stint while he was in Hartford.

Player Scratches

In Hartford’s first game back, a few players that normally are in the lineup were out. Ty Ronning, Anthony Greco, and and Alex Whelan could return next weekend.

While Jarred Tinordi conditions in Hartford, the Wolf Pack’s blue line will have continual rotation going for players. Hunter Skinner was scratched and could return next week as well.

Transaction Wire

  • Adam Huska and Morgan Barron returned to Hartford on December 9th.
  • Keith Kinkaid recalled to New York on December 9th.
  • Jarred Tinordi assigned to Hartford for two weeks (conditioning).
  • James Sanchez called up from Jacksonville on December 10th.

Standings Update

Despite playing in one game, Hartford found themselves now in first place in the Atlantic Division. The standings are based on point percentage this season.

Hartford’s record entering the weekend is 12-4-2-1 for 27 points (.711). That ranks the club first in the division, second in the Eastern Conference, and fifth in the league (tied for fourth). Despite Springfield having three more points, the Wolf Pack have a better point percentage. Keep in mind that teams in the divisions are playing 72 or 76 games.

One Timers

  • Zac Jones kept his point streak active. The defenseman has points in four straight games. In that span, Jones recorded three goals and four assists. Jones also has points in the last 11 of 14 games.
  • Ty Ronning was scratched on Sunday. However, he enters the week on an active point streak when he resumes play. Ronning has points in five straight games. In that span, the forward recorded two goals and four assists.
  • Tarmo Reunanen recorded two assists on Sunday. The defenseman has four assists in the last two of three games.
  • Morgan Barron recorded a season high of shots on Sunday (six).

Upcoming Games

Friday, December 17th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the third of six meetings in the season series. Hartford dropped the previous meeting in the shootout, 4-3 on December 12th. Hartford won the first meeting on October 23rd by a score of 3-1. This is the first visit of the season to Hartford for Lehigh Valley.
  • Entering the weekend, the Phantoms compiled a record of 5-11-4-1 for 15 points (.357) in the Atlantic Division. This ranks the club last (eighth) in the division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. However, Lehigh Valley has won two straight games. The Phantoms are 2-5-2-1 in their last ten games.
  • Forwards Gerry Mayhew and Garrett Wilson leads the Phantoms in points (13) on the active roster. Lehigh Valley’s top scorer Morgan Frost is up with Philadelphia.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, December 18th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • This is the fifth of 12 meetings in the season series. Entering the weekend, the series is tied at two. The sixth meeting will be on Sunday in Hartford as this is a back to back.
  • Entering the weekend, the Thunderbirds compiled a record of 14-6-2 for 30 points (.682). This ranks the club second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Springfield has dropped three straight games and are 6-4 in the last ten outings.
  • Springfield is missing multiple key cogs on the roster as the players are with the Blues. The Thunderbird’s top four point producers are currently on recall. On the active roster, prospect Hugh McGing leads the Thunderbirds in points (13). The forward recorded five goals and eight assists in 22 games. Veteran Sam Anas is second on the active roster for points (12).
  • Listen – News Radio 560 WHYN. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, December 19th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 3pm, XL Center

  • After the sixth meeting, Hartford will not face the Thunderbirds until January 26th at the XL Center.
  • Hartford is 8-1 at home thus far. The lone loss was against the Charlotte Checkers.
  • Springfield is 5-3-1 on the road thus far.
  • Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.

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