BY: 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