Wolf Pack Weekly: Point Streak to Losing Streak
This upcoming weekend features a three in three for the Wolf Pack. Unfortunately, the club lost three straight after going on a nine-game point streak. In their recent three game losing streak, the Pack gave up five goals. The offense has gone cold while the defense has turned into a hot mess. Entering the weekend, Hartford is ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division with a record of 13-15-3-3 for 32 points (a .471 point percentage).
A common theme in the losing streak has been the struggles of the defense. Prior to the current streak, Hartford gave up a moderate number of goals, while the offense made up for the defensive mistakes. In six of the last ten games, Hartford has given up four or more goals. Giving up four or more is never good and the team has to get back to playing good defensive hockey in order to climb out of the hole they’re in.
The group is inconsistent. Anthony DeAngelo’s playing style decreased after his point streak ended. However, I believe he will regain some consistency and play up to his full potential. Ryan Sproul is spotty production-wise, but defensively, he is playing up to his role and fits the system well. DeAngelo has the potential to be great but he needs to play with greater consistency here. Sproul has basically been doing the job he was brought in to do although a little more production wouldn’t hurt.
Most of the defense for Hartford features younger guys. They were always going to experience growing pains as they develop their play so its not the worst thing in the world that the defense is struggling right now. When the group struggles, the veterans should step up on the blue line. They have given up 124 goals in 34 games, which is the second most in the AHL.
Peter Holland’s two-game suspension is done as both games were played last weekend. Unfortunately, Hartford lost a strong center. The offense was hurt and face-offs were a weak point last weekend. Holland’s return is greatly anticipated. Be may prove to be a key cog in this Hartford offense as the season continues along here.
Ryan Gropp is day to day. The young forward has been improving but his offense comes in bunches. Another good forward to have in the lineup as he does the little things. Dan DeSalvo and Daniel Catenacci are both still out of the lineup. They will return once feeling 100%.
Off the Ice
The Wolf Pack’s new lease will be announced soon. In the past, lease extensions have been announced in early January. Hartford will stay and expects to play at the XL Center for an additional two seasons.
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, rhe ECHL affiliate of the Rangers and Wolf Pack, will be staying with the organization after this week’s news.
Swamp Rabbits owner Fred Festa sold the franchise to a new ownership group, led by Steve Donner. In addition to the purchase, the new ownership group negotiated a new lease with the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The lease with the Swamp Rabbits run through the 2020-21 season. Greenville will remain with the brand and not relocate. The Greenville-Hartford-New York connection lives on.
Friday, January 5th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7:05 pm, Dunkin Donuts Center
- The fourth meeting of the season. Providence has won the last three of four games and have points in four straight. The Bruins are first in the division and Eastern Conference for 45 points. Hartford is 1-2 in the season series.
Saturday, January 6th vs Syracuse Crunch (Tampa) at 7:00 pm, XL Center
- The first of two games in the season series. Syracuse enter the weekend winning three straight. On the road, the Crunch are 8-8-0-2. Syracuse struggled earlier in the season, but found their ways.
Sunday, January 7th vs Utica Comets (Vancouver) at 5:00 pm, XL Center
- The second meeting of the season between the clubs. Last season, Hartford went 1-2-1 in the series. This season, Hartford notched one win in the season series. The club looks to collect another two points against the Comets. Utica enter the weekend struggling, going 0-1-0-2. In the last ten, the Comets are 3-3-2-2.