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Wolf Pack Wrap Up Day

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The XL Center arena was dark. The ice is gone. Almost no equipment remains in the locker room as the picture was that of a 2016-17  AHL season Hartford Wolf Pack clearly over. While it may be over for the players, for the off ice staff was still at work with their season-ending multiple tasks.

The only news of the day was that the New York Rangers will not be recalling as many players for the playoffs as there have in the past to be a part of the Black Aces squad. The Rangers are ready for a crucial Game 4 in their Best-of-Seven series with the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers find themselves down two games to none. Magnus Hellberg, who was recalled earlier in the week was on the bench in the place on Antti Raanta. Hellberg may remain the only recall, but that remains undetermined.

“The list is truly not finalized as of yet. There are several contractual and other matters that need to be ironed out, but I can say there will be very few players going to New York,” Head Coach Ken Gernander said. Continue reading



Jensen’s Late Goal Grounds T-birds 4-3

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Nicklas Jensen’s late goal allowed the Hartford Wolf Pack to slip past the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-3  before 4,529 at the XL Center Friday night.

The winning play resulted from solid forechecking and was capped by Jensen’s spectacular effort.

Chris Brown, strong all night with solid physical play and a goal, helped with Philip McRae keep the puck in the Springfield zone for an extended shift. Jensen then did the rest.

Jensen took the puck, circled in the zone, which forced players like Tony Turgeon to chase him. Jensen zig-zagged at the left wing circle and drilled a shot high to the far side. The game-winning goal was his 29th and came at 17:39.

“It was the line before that did everything to set that up,” Jensen said. “They (the line centered by rookie Vinni Lettieri) had them hemmed in their end for about a minute-and-a-half. We got a good line change, and I knew those guys were out there for awhile. When you’re stuck out there, I knew they were out of gas. I just had that one guy to beat and got the shot off.” Continue reading



Albany Devils 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 3

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Albany, NY, April 1, 2017Nicklas Jensen had a goal and an assist for the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday at the Times Union Center, but Blake Pietila scored two power-play goals, including the third-period game-winner, for the Albany Devils in a 4-3 Albany victory.

Max Novak added a goal and an assist for the Devils, and Jacob MacDonald had three assists.  Marek Hrivik chipped in two assists for the Wolf Pack.

The two teams traded goals in the first period, the Devils scoring early and the Wolf Pack replying late.

Novak gave the Devils the game’s first lead 4:41 in, on a rebound.  MacDonald’s shot from the left point was stopped by Wolf Pack goaltender Chris Nell (26 saves), making his first pro appearance out of Bowling Green University, but the rebound came to Novak in front, and he poked it home. Continue reading



Hershey Bears 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 4

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hershey, PA, March 18, 2017 – Paul Carey scored four goals Saturday night at Giant Center, to lead the Hershey Bears to a 6-4 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack, in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams in Hershey.

The Bears had defeated the Wolf Pack 4-3 in overtime Friday night in the opener of the two-game set.

Taylor Beck paced the Wolf Pack Saturday with a goal and two assists, and Ryan Graves had a goal and an assist.  Riley Barber added a goal and an assist for Hershey, and Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd had three assists apiece. Continue reading



Hershey Playoff Hunting Rout Wolf Pack 6-1

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The Hershey Bears erupted for five goals in the second period and were led by Travis Boyd who scored a goal and added an assist to an important 6-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack before 6,072 at the XL Center.

The Bears improved to 27-16-8-3 (65 points) good for fifth place in the Atlantic Division were trying to gain ground on the Providence Bruins who hosted and eked out a 2-1 win over the red-hot Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Bears return home to play the Toronto Marlies at the Hershey Park Arena Saturday night.

“We played three good games last weekend, but only won one of the them. We had a plenty of chances and couldn’t score. Then we have a second period like that where we score five! Hopefully, that will kick start our offense and our team finishing chances because every game the rest of the year are big ones for us,” Boyd, the game’s first star said.

After a solid, well-played and scoreless first period, the Wolf Pack had an important five-on-three powerplay, but couldn’t score. Continue reading



Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6, Hartford Wolf Pack 4

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Allentown, PA, February 18, 2017 – The Hartford Wolf Pack outshot the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 44-27, and had a 24-5 shots advantage in the third period, Saturday night at the PPL Center, but fell to the Phantoms 6-4, in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams.

It was nearly a mirror image of the previous night’s game, which saw the Wolf Pack outshot 44-18, including 25-5 in the third, but prevailed by a score of 3-2.

Justin Fontaine had a goal and an assist for Hartford Saturday, and Steven Kampfer and Chris Brown had two assists apiece, but Danick Martel had the game-winning goal and an assist for Lehigh Valley, and Andy Miele and T.J. Brennan added a goal and an assist each. Continue reading



Hershey Bears 4, Hartford Wolf Pack 2

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hershey, PA, February 11, 2017 – The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind 2-0 to the Hershey Bears Saturday night at Giant Center and never quite recovered, losing 4-2.

Veterans Nicklas Jensen and Chris Summers scored for the Wolf Pack, who twice closed to within one goal.  Travis Boyd and Christian Djoos had first-period tallies for Hershey, and Paul Carey scored the eventual winner in the second period.  Riley Barber added an empty-net goal.

“I thought we got off to a slow start,” Summers said.  “Starts have been something that we’ve been focusing on, and for whatever reason, we just can’t seem to put that first ten minutes together.  I think that’s a pretty important piece of the game, and you see we get down early and it’s climbing our way back the rest of the game.”

Boyd got a break to open the scoring at 7:57 of the first, capitalizing on a mistake by Wolf Pack goaltender Brandon Halverson (18 saves).  Halverson stepped behind his net to try to clear the puck around the boards to his left, but Boyd cut the feed off and quickly rapped it into the vacated net before Halverson could get back. Continue reading



Rochester Downs Wolf Pack 4-2

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, CT Evan Rodrigues had two goals and Patrick Mullen’s three assists helped the Rochester Americans to a 4-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday night before 5,779 on the back end of a hockey doubleheader at the XL Center.

The Pack’s inconsistent effort and lack of any offensive sustained pressure left Head Coach Ken Gernander less than enthused. “That all comes back to decision-making. When they’re clogging up the middle, you gotta come back deeper, put pucks behind them and be skating to them.”

Former UCONN Husky and the AHL’s third leading scorer, Cole Schneider, went down the left wing and gave Rochester a 4-1 lead when he beat Pack starting netminder, Magnus Hellberg, high to his stick side for his 17th of the season at 15:42. Continue reading



Wolf Pack Edge Providence 4-3

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack, held off a late rally by the Providence Bruins for an important 4-3 victory  Saturday  night  as  the  team  heads  into  the AHL All-Star break before a season-best 10,700 fans at the XL Center.

“A slow start, but we scored two big goals late in the first, so we didn’t go in trailing, and that was important,” Pack head coach Ken Gernander said.  “We scored again at the end of the second, and in the second period we played more to our liking and a real back and forth third.”

The Pack was able to score twice in the first 5:36 of the third period to establish, for them this season, a rare two-goal lead.

Philip McRae bagged his second of the night and sixth of the season in front of the net converting on a rebound of a Chris Summers shot from the right point at 3:31.

“I was able to be in front. Summers got the shot through a crowd, six inches off the ice. It’s just where you want to be, and I got the rebound. It was a great atmosphere. The crowd really helped us get invested in the game. It was the best crowd of the season and a lot of fun out there,” McRae, who hadn’t scored a goal since December 26th said.

Adam Tambellini followed coming down the left wing side and ripped his shot to the short-side past netminder, Anton Khodobin, who had lost his positioning in playing the shot. It was Tambellini’s eighth of the season. His goal would prove to be the game-winner.

“I don’t think it was the best goal ever, but (Khodobin) was trying to cheat. I saw an opening and shot it,” Tambellini said.

Gernander was pleased he took the shot. “He was really trying to put the puck on the net at that point. At the end of the day, he’ll take it, and we have impressed upon him to have a shooter’s mentality.”

The Bruins showed their resiliency by knocking the lead down to one goal.

At 11:52, Chris Porter took a Jake DeBrusk pass and avoided Ryan Graves, who was attempting a hip check. Porter then a sent a soft, backhanded shot that slipped by Pack goalie, Brandon Halverson, for his second goal.

The two teams did some jockeying in the second period with the Pack gaining the better of the chances. Five of the Pack’s shots came while in shorthanded situations and seemed to jumpstart the Wolf Pack offense.

The best Pack chance came with 8:03 left in the period as Nicklas Jensen came off the left wing and went backhand-to-forehand. Khodobin stood his ground and made the save,

Just before the Jensen chance, Peter Cehlarik had a good left point bid, but his stick shattered as he took the shot.

Providence took a 2-1 lead on the powerplay late in the period at 16:20.

Alex Grant launched a 55-foot rocket that sailed past Halverson who was screened by the Bruins. For Grant, it was his eighth of the season.

Cehlarik got the primary assist, but he was the sole reason the puck was still in the zone after racing back to the right point just as the puck was about to cross the blue. Cehlarik deftly kept the puck in and avoided offsides that began the scorings sequence.

The Pack, as they have shown in recent play, answered back quickly and tied the game at two just 1:17 later.

“I like the fact we didn’t go away quietly,” Gernander stated. “That can happen when the other team scores that late. We got a good lift going into the locker room that was a lot better than sitting around for 18 minutes in between the periods thinking about how we were going to come from behind.”

Tambellini wheeled around in the right wing circle and fired a shot at the net. Matt Carey was occupying space right in front of Khodobin and was knocked down by the Russian netminder with a glove hand swat to the back of his head. Tambellini’s shot went off him and into the net at 17:27. Carey tallied his 12th of the season and extended his point-scoring streak to three games.

“He has been such a good addition to our line. He’s always battling away and makes it all good for us,” remarked Tambellini.

Gernander was quick to praise of Carey’s play. “He has been a big boost for us offensively. The way he goes net-front and with offensive zone puck recovery and he makes plays with Tambo (Tambellini) and Jenner (Jensen). He has found a spot there.”

The Jekyll-and-Hyde Wolf Pack were on display in the first period.

With a season-best crowd on hand, the Pack played a meek, and passive first period. The team went shotless for 13:35 and yet shocking, they were just down 1-0 in the first minute of play.

Wayne Simpson scored on a wraparound sweeping to the left wing side and putting the puck past Halverson for his 14th goal just 43 seconds into the contest.

After watching chance after chance wasted by the Bruins, the Pack finally awoke from their hibernation via the powerplay.

With 2:42 left, Marek Hrivik was left alone on the lower right wing circle. His one-timed slapper was stopped by Khodobin before the Pack tied the game at one.

At the right point, Mat Bodie took a pass from Garrett Noonan and then sent a low, hard snap shot on net. Khodobin couldn’t control the rebound, but Philip McRae was right on the doorstep and jammed home his fifth of the season at 18:39.

Bodie’s assist also extends his point-scoring streak to four games.

The Pack had two solid scoring chances with Greg Carey from the slot with 48 seconds left in the period and then Justin Fontaine all alone as Chris Brown with an effective forecheck forced a turnover and hit him with a quick pass was denied by Khodobin with 14.7 seconds left.


The Pack, on their anniversary card set giveaway recognizing this being the 20th edition of the team, also wore what could be called a fourth jersey for the game. They had a light purple base with the 20th-anniversary logo and were later auctioned off to the fans following the contest.

The jerseys looked a bit similar to the old Philadelphia Phantoms color scheme, just not as a deep of a purple.

Jensen will depart and represent the Pack at the upcoming AHL All-Star game. Jensen has nine points in his last ten games (5-4) and now has a five-game consecutive point streak going (1-4-5).

The Pack lost defenseman Tommy Hughes to a lower body injury (gone for a week) so had to recall Spiro Goulakos from Greenville. With Goulakos playing every player who signed to an AHL contract for the season by the organization has played at least one game in Hartford this year.

Goulakos teamed with Mat Bodie and picked up an assist.

Boo Nieves was a scratch (upper body, gone for a week) as well as joining Mate Stromwall (broken foot), Mike Paliotta (upper body) and Adam Chapie (knee).

None of the last three teams are expected back after the break.

The Pack was riding a hot powerplay of late operating at 50& 6 for 12 in the last three games and 10 for 26 in their last eight at 38,4% prior to the game.

Wolf Pack have won eight of the last nine games (8-1-1) between Providence and the Pack.

Ex-Pack Andre Deveaux, after a year long IIHF ban for a pre-game attack on a player has signed for the rest of the year with HC Sparta Prague, (Czech Republic-CEL).

Another ex-Pack, Akim Aliu, was traded from Florida (ECHL) to Elmira (ECHL).

Cal Babych, the son of ex-Whaler Dave Babych, and the nephew to ex-Whaler, Wayne Babych. The younger earned a recall from Coquitlam (BCHL) by Everett (WHL) he had a previous three-game recall with Vancouver (WHL).

Pack/Rangers fans can be happy with two goalie prospects who had solid games collegiately this week.

Adam Huska turned in a sterling performance in a 3-1 win over Vermont for the Huskies last night at the XL Center, while Tyler Wall (14-8-1) with UMASS-Lowell was sharp in two losses to Northeastern and Boston University.



BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTPaul Carey’s goal with 3:01 left allowed the Hershey Bears (20-13-7-2) to escape with a 5-4 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack on a Wednesday night before an announced crowd of 1,860 at the XL Center.

This was a tough loss for the Pack (15-24-3-1) who battled back from a two-goal deficit and put intense pressure on Hershey in the third period to try to win the game after tying it at four.

The game winner saw Carey, a one time Salisbury Prep product, take a headman pass from Colby Williams from the Hershey defensive end at center ice. He was able to zip down the right wing and blow past Chris Summers and beat Mackenzie Skapski to the glove side on the backhand under the crossbar hit the middle bar in the back of the net and out for his 13th of the season.

“I was able to get the outside on the D, and he was with me by the time I got to the bottom of the circle I really didn’t have much (room) except for a backhand (shot). We showed a lot of resolve tonight we needed this game we have had our struggles of late it was nice to get a character win like that on the road,” remarked Carey just sent back from a recall to the parent Washington Capitals. Continue reading