Category Archives: AHL

CANTLON: PACK PREVIEW, ECF: GAME FOUR – WIN OR GO HOME

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CT –  The math is simple for the Hartford Wolf Pack, 3-1= 5.

The Eastern Conference Final series stands at 3-0. The Pack must make the standings, 3-1 if they are to get to Game Five Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Manchester.

Game Four between the Pack and the Monarchs is at the XL Center with the puck dropping just after 7pm.

“It starts with one, right?” queried Pack head coach Ken Gernander. “Whatever transpired before now we have to chalk up to a learning experience. We have to be smarter and a better team moving forward, but certainly our focus is going to be the task at hand.”

That task is not a simple one. Hartford must dismantle and disrupt the Monarchs machine, that last night, maintained puck possession for most of the game and energized their offense and rendered the Wolf Pack offense inoperable.

The Monarchs balanced offensive attack with five different players scoring is a major threat. They seem not to be worried about line combinations as the AHL’s top regular season team started their second line, which has been incredibly successful, consisting of Sean Backman, Nic Dowd and Zach O’Brien who scored the game-winner Tuesday night.

Though the mountain may seem insurmountable given the circumstances, the Pack is not shying away from the challenge.

“It’s fun,” defenseman Michael Kostka said with a slight smile in an empty, silent hallway. “We’ve got a lot of guys that have gone through a lot of character building, experience and games and seasons with other teams.

“Those are fun to come back from. You could say your back is against the wall, but also it’s a situation when you’ve got nothing to lose. I think that is our mindset–leave it all out there,” Kostka, an eighth-year veteran defenseman on his seventh AHL team and started the season in New York with the Rangers, said.

The Pack must get more shots on the Manchester net. They’ve been held to twenty or less in all three games. They must also not allow Manchester to get off to as fast of a start as they’ve grown accustomed to doing. The Monarchs are 10-0 when scoring first in the post-season.

“They (have) executed really well and they’ve done a good job of getting off to a good start,” Kostka said. “We seem to have been playing from behind every game we’ve been in. I don’t think we have put together a sixty-minute game yet in this series and it has shown.”

Freeing themselves from those defensive chains requires the Pack to have the puck more and when they have it to challenge Jean-Sebastian Berube, the Monarchs’ netminder. Berube has shown that he is a susceptible goalie and make his life more miserable to get that first victory. Getting Chris Bourque, Marek Hrivik, Danny Kristo, and Ryan Haggerty using their considerable offensive prowess will be the elixir that allows them to get the one they need…the math to play in Manchester again on Saturday night.

CANTLON: LOSS PUTS PACK ON EDGE OF ELIMINATION

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Manchester

BY: Gerry Cantlon, HOWLINGS

HARTFORD, CT – The Manchester Monarchs used surgical like precision to control the puck to take a 5-3 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday night at the XL Center. The win, the third straight by the Monarchs, pushes the Pack to the brink of elimination with Game Four Wednesday night also in Hartford with game-time at 7pm.

The Wolf Pack handed out white rally towels before the game and at points looked like they would use them to signal surrender. While the margin of victory was a two-goal difference, it doesn’t reflect how much Manchester controlled play throughout large portions of the game.

“Clearly, they were the quicker club,” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. “Little things that we talked about, plays that weren’t available to us, not putting them in dangerous areas, that’s where we were putting pucks.” Continue reading

GRENIER: MONARCHS’ FIREPOWER OVERRULES WOLF PACK

Hartford Wolf Pack revised      VERSUS      Manchester

Manchester Monarchs 5, Hartford Wolf Pack 3

BY: Zack Grenier, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford, CT, May 26, 2015 – Nick Shore and Zach O’Brien had a goal and an assist each for the Manchester Monarchs Tuesday night at the XL Center, to lead Manchester to a 5-3 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack in Game Three of the teams’ best-of-seven, Eastern Conference Final series.

Manchester now leads the series three games to none, and the Wolf Pack will have to win Game Four of the series Wednesday night at home to avoid a sweep.

Chad Nehring, Danny Kristo and Joey Crabb scored the Wolf Pack goals, and Mat Bodie had two assists.  Adrian Kempe and Brian O’Neill also scored for the Monarchs, and J-F Berube made 17 saves.  Mackenzie Skapski stopped 29 shots in the Wolf Pack net, in his first pro playoff start. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK AND MONARCHS GAME THREE PREVIEW

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – Simply put, the Hartford Wolf Pack must-win Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals if they have any hope of keeping their Championship aspirations alive.

Should the Pack go down 3-games-to-0 to the best team in the AHL’s regular season, and the top seed overall in the Calder Cup playoffs, the Manchester Monarchs, in all likelihood they will have dug themselves a hole that would probably be too high to climb out of.

For the Pack to accomplish this goal, they must take care of one crucial task in order to secure a victory and that’s to disrupt and negate the effects of the Monarchs top line consisting of Jordan Weal – Mike Mersch and Brian O’Neill. The three forwards have accounted for 62% of the Monarchs’ entire postseason goals and have amassed a staggering 51 points between them. Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: May 26 – June 1, 2015

bob-crawfordWOLF PACK WEEKLY: May 26-June 1, 2015

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

The Wolf Pack dropped the first two games of their Eastern Conference Final series against the Manchester Monarchs on the road.  Oscar Lindberg and Mat Bodie scored for the Wolf Pack in Thursday’s Game One, and Chris Bourque had two assists, but the regular season champion Monarchs prevailed by a score of 3-2.  Then on Saturday night in Game Two, Lindberg struck for a four-point game (1-3-4) and Carl Klingberg scored twice, but the Manchester offense broke out for a seven-spot, as the Monarchs posted a 7-4 triumph. 

Full Speed Ahead

“Full Speed Ahead” is the official Wolf Pack playoff slogan.  This comes from the ship U.S.S Hartford, which served as Admiral David Farragut’s flagship during the Civil War. During the battle of Mobile Bay, while on the deck of the Hartford, Farragut famously said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”. Continue reading

RANGERS: LOSS TO BOLTS AT MSG PUTS NYR IN WIN OR GO HOME AGAIN

rp_new-york-r.gif      VERSUS      Tampa Bay

NEW YORK RANGERS vs. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Sunday, May 24, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Lightning: 11-7 (3-2)*
Rangers: 10-7 (2-3)*

*2015 Playoffs Record (Eastern Conference Final Record)

BY: The New York Rangers

TEAM NOTES:

TWO GOOD – The Blueshirts have allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of 17 playoff games this year, including 12 of the last 15 games. The Rangers rank third in the NHL – and lead all teams that have not been eliminated – in goals against per game (2.12) in the 2015 Playoffs.

SHUTTING THE DOOR – New York limited Tampa Bay to 22 shots on goal in the contest, which is tied for the fewest shots on goal the team has allowed in one game in the 2015 Playoffs. Continue reading

CANTLON: (A DAY LATE, BUT…) PACK CLOCKED IN GAME 2 OF ECF

Hartford Wolf Pack revised      VERSUS      Manchester Monarchs

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

MANCHESTER, NH – Mike Mersch’s hat trick powered the Manchester Monarchs to a 7-4 victory in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals over the visiting Hartford Wolf Pack at the Verizon Center in front 4,003 of Saturday night. The win gave the Eastern Conference’s top seed a two-game to nothing lead in their best-of-seven series.

“There are certain things we have to do (better) in managing the puck, maintaining checks,” said a downcast head coach Ken Gernander. “That’s where (improvement) will start.” Continue reading