Tag Archives: Jason LaBarbera


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


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack are ready for their final three-in-three weekend of play.

The action for the Pack begins on Friday night with the start of a home-and-home contest with the Springfield Falcons. On Saturday, the game moves south on I-91 for the regular season home finale at the XL Center.

Sunday, the team, travels to Portland Maine for a critical battle with the Pirates starting at 3 pm. Portland is also in the hunt with for the last playoff spot.

The path to a postseason berth for the Pack got harder when the Utica Comets defeated the Binghampton Senators 4-2 Wednesday night. The Comets (36-27-7-4) have built a six-point lead (83-77) over the Wolf Pack (37-30-3-0).

The Pack’s postseason hopes, dim at best, rests on the hope of making the crossover to the North Division.

If the fifth place team in the Atlantic Division has more points that the fourth-place team in the North Division, then the fifth place team from the Atlantic would cross over and play in the North Division.

Bridgeport is the fifth place team. They are currently in a tie for record and percentage points with Portland. However, the Pirates have the tiebreaker, so they sit in fourth place.

Like the Pack, the Sound Tigers also have three games in three days this weekend. The Sound Tigers are in Hershey Friday night to face the Bears in Allentown. On Saturday, they play Lehigh Valley, and the Phantoms visit Bridgeport Sunday afternoon at 5 pm.

The Syracuse Crunch are the fourth-place team in the North Division; They draw the AHL’s second best team, the Albany Devils on Friday night. If that weren’t enough, they take on the best overall team, the Toronto Marlies on Saturday. The Crunch are at home both nights.

If the Sound Tigers drop all three games and Syracuse lose their two, if the Pack sweep the weekend, they would be still in the hunt, but that is an awful lot of chips that have to fall their way.

Even under a strict conference system if applied, they would have to climb over Utica, Bridgeport, and Portland, who are 7-1-2-0 in their last ten games.

The team spent Thursday working on their in-close play and tried to get their powerplay in synch. That lack of cohesion cost them dearly in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Portland. Continue reading


rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Bridgeport

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

BRIDGEPORT, CT The Hartford Wolf Pack tallied twice in the shootout and rode Magnus Hellberg (43 saves), who stopped both shooters he faced and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the BridgeportSound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena Wednesday night.

“It was a tale of two games,” said Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander. “We didn’t get off to the start we wanted, but we did finish up strong.”

On the Pack’s first chance in the shootout, Nicklas Jensen came in and made a great deke on Sound Tigers netminder, Christopher Gibson, and slipped a forehand past him for the goal. The clincher for the Pack came off the stick of Adam Tambellini who first a hard wrist shot from fifteen feet out to Gibson’s stick-side.

Meanwhile, Hellberg denied Bridgeport’s Jesse Graham and Alan Quine on their bids to pull out the win for the Wolf Pack. Continue reading


rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Providence

Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Providence Bruins 2

BY: Phil Oxnard, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford, CT, February 17, 2016 – Luke Adam’s goal with 7:59 remaining in the third period was the game-winner Wednesday night at the XL Center, in a 3-2 Hartford Wolf Pack victory over the Providence Bruins.

It was the first regulation loss since New Year’s Eve for the Bruins, who had been 12-0-3-1 in their previous 16 games.

Brian Gibbons and Ryan Graves also scored for the Wolf Pack, and Jayson Megna and Travis Oleksuk had two assists apiece.  Magnus Hellberg stopped 30 of 32 shots against him.

Austin Czarnik and Frank Vatrano scored Bruin goals, and Jeremy Smith made 25 saves.

The Bruins struck right away, with Czarnik slapping rebound behind Hellberg, giving Providence a 1–0 advantage just 31 seconds into the game. Continue reading


rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Albany Devils

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The Albany Devils had a three-goal second period while former Hartford Wolf Pack netminder, Yann Danis, in his return to the Connecticut capitol, made 24 saves pacing the visitors to a 4-0 shutout win before 4,029 at the XL Center Saturday night.

The Wolf Pack, shutout in two straight games, have now gone 142:13 without scoring a goal. While the Pack did have a third period burst in the final seven minutes with Shawn O’Donnell and Jayson Megna coming wide off the left-wing 55 seconds apart, it was not nearly enough, but that was the toughest action Danis faced all night.

Continue reading


Ryan Bourque

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CT It doesn’t seem like it, but this is his fourth year in Hartford with the Wolf Pack, and for Ryan Bourque, being named team captain this season should not really come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen him here.

It’s not a sense of entitlement because of the famous last name on the back of his jersey, not in his case. No, for Bourque it’s just the way he has carried himself since he first arrived in the Connecticut Capital.

Surprised and honored are not trite words in Bourque’s vocabulary.

“I was really surprised and really honored by the gesture from the organization,” Bourque said. “You don’t try to change yourself. You do the same thing every day and every game. I have a lot of leaders alongside me here. They all have a part in the leadership of this team. I really don’t want to change who I am because I am wearing the C.  I want to keep being myself and I am fortunate to have my Dad (Hall-of-Famer, Ray Bourque) who has given pointers over the years to me. I am fortunate in that way, but keep going about your business the same way.”

Bourque becomes the eighth person to carry the title of team captain over the 19-year AHL history in Hartford. The swift left-winger has played under two captains in his time in Hartford. He was here when Wade Redden wore the C in his first season and then defenseman Aaron Johnson left an impression on him when he was Captain. For the second time in franchise history, last season’s roster did not have a captain. Continue reading


hartford-wolf-pack-logo-150x133       VERSUS      Wilkes Barre

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Andrew Ebbett found his Hartford magic again in overtime Saturday night.

During the four-on-four portion of overtime, on Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton’s second shot of the period, defenseman Brian Dumoulin sprung Ebbett free for a clean breakaway. Ebbett fired his thirteenth of the season via Wolf Pack netminder Yann Dani’s five-hole at 2:27 to give his Penguins a 3-2 overtime win.

The Penguins record is now 31-18-2-4 (68 points). They are tied with the Wolf Pack in points, but take the fifth spot in the conference on the tie breaking basis of having won one more game. The Penguins also have the third best conference road record to 12-8-3-3.

Ebbett scored twice last week the Penguins victory when the game was played in Pennsylvania. Continue reading


hartford-wolf-pack-logo-150x133      VERSUS      norfolk-admirals

Hartford Wolf Pack 3, Norfolk Admirals 0

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Norfolk, VA, January 17, 2015 – Mackenzie Skapski made 19 saves for his second shutout of the season Saturday night at Norfolk Scope, as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Norfolk Admirals 3-0, for a sweep of a back-to-back series between the two teams.

The Wolf Pack had won the first of the two Friday night at Scope, 3-2 in overtime.

Chris Bourque’s second-period power-play goal was the only offense the Wolf Pack would need, and Marek Hrivik scored early in the third.  Chris Mueller created the final margin with an empty-net goal.  Jason LaBarbera, the former Wolf Pack star, had a strong night in the Admiral net, stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced. Continue reading



BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

 The Hartford Wolf Pack did it again!

The New York Rangers’ AHL affiliates went to their fourth consecutive overtime game tying a franchise record set back in March of 2001 and pulled out yet another victory.

As our late, dearly-departed, writing colleague, Jack Lautier would say, “A fortuitous bounce played a big part in the game winner.”

In the three-on-three portion of overtime, Marek Hrivik pulled up in the offensive zone and saw a speeding Conor Allen on the left wing and zipped a perfect pass to him. Allen fired a wide shot and it caromed off the backboards to an open Ryan Haggerty who put the bouncing puck under the crossbar of a wide open net at 4:10. Continue reading


hartford-wolf-pack-logo-150x133       VERSUS      norfolk-admirals

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

Norfolk, VA, January 16, 2015 – The Hartford Wolf Pack went to overtime for a franchise record-tying fourth straight game Friday night at Norfolk Scope, and Ryan Haggerty’s 3-on-3 goal at 4:10 of OT gave the Wolf Pack a 3-2 win over the Norfolk Admirals.

Haggerty also had an assist for the Wolf Pack, who also got a goal and an assist from Ryan Bourque.  Danny Kristo also scored for Hartford, and former Admiral Yann Danis made 38 saves.  Emerson Etem had a goal and an assist for the Admirals, who tied the game with only 1:20 left in the third period to force overtime, and Dave Steckel also scored.  Ex-Wolf Pack Jason LaBarbera stopped 30 shots.

“Any time we have a goaltending effort like that and you give up a lead, it’s always good to battle back in front of our goalie and be able to get the win,” Haggerty said. Continue reading