Coming off their first win since November 27th, the Hartford Wolf Pack are looking to string together back to back wins for the first time since late October. Standing in their way, The Worcester Sharks.
The Sharks come into tomorrows game in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, but just two points above Hartford for last place in the conference. After a 3-7-1-0 start to their season, the Sharks are 9-4-0-1 in their last 14 games. Last season saw Hartford sweep the four game season series, including two home wins. The Wolf pack will look to make it five wins in a row.
Wolf Pack Key’s to Victory:
1. Offense needs to get going: During their nine game losing streak, the pack only averaged 1.3 goals per game. In that time frame, they were shut out twice, and never scored more than two goals in a game. Danny Kristo has been the lone bright spot for the Pack’s offense but can not do it all him self. The return of Jasper Fast has added skill and speed to the line up. Oscar Lindberg seems to be finding his game, as he is producing more in the Offensive Zone. In order for Hartford’s offense to get going, they need to solve rookie Troy Grosenick who leads the AHL in goals against, giving up right around 2 goals per game in ten appearances. Grosenick is 6-3-0 on the year, with a 92.4% save percentage and one shutout.
2. Stay out of The penalty Box: The Pack now sit in second for most penalty minuets with 757. On average they are sitting in the penalty box for just over 26 minuets a game. On the Penalty Kill, they sit in 21 place (out of 30) teams with a 81.3% PK percentage. They have been short-handed a total of 155 time and have given up 29 PPG, which averages out to One PPG per game. A team that takes a lot of penalties, and has a bad PK is certainly a recipe for disaster. While phyiscal play, and toughness is a calling card of this team, the fighting will happen, and any Hartford Wolf Pack fan should expect it to be that way. The Wolf Pack must cut down on the on the bench minors and lazy penalties in order to be successful.
3. The Team needs to compete: One common theme for the team over the last 12 games, is that the Wolf Pack just aren’t competing, and they are just going through the motions. When looking at the Wolf Pack, the team is built with former NHL players and young promising talent. The effort they put forth has been disappointing , and down right embarrassing. In recent weeks, the fore check has been non existent, and the battles along the boards have been lost. Frankly, this team should be competing for the best record in the AHL, not battling to stay out of last place in the entire league. For this team to turn it around, the effort and compete level will have to rise.