PRE-GAME REPORT: WOLF PACK RETURN HOME FOR DATE WITH CHECKERSJan 12, 2022
HARTFORD, CT – Fresh off a victory against the top team in the American Hockey League, the Hartford Wolf Pack return to the XL Center tonight to play host to the Charlotte Checkers in an Atlantic Division showdown.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Tale of The Tape:
This is the second of six meetings this season between the Wolf Pack and the Checkers. It is also the second of three meetings between the sides at the XL Center. The foes will play three straight games in Charlotte on April 7th, 8th, and 10th before finishing the season series back in Hartford on April 22nd.
The Checkers drew first blood in the series, taking a 3-2 victory on October 30th. Serron Noel and Cole Schwindt scored in the first period for the visitors, while Scott Wilson would bury the eventual winner 15:40 into the middle frame. Jonny Brodzinski and P.C. Labrie found the back of the net for Hartford in the defeat. It was the Wolf Pack’s first home loss of the 2021-22 season.
The Wolf Pack have lost three in a row against Charlotte (0-2-1-0). They last defeated the Checkers on January 10th, 2020.
Wolf Pack Outlook:
The Wolf Pack grinded out an impressive 2-1 victory over the Comets in Utica on Saturday night. Anthony Bitetto, playing in his 200th career AHL game, and Alex Whelan scored for the Wolf Pack, while Adam Húska made 21 saves for his third win of the season. It was just the second time that a team has claimed a regulation victory in Utica over the Comets in 2021-22.
Ty Ronning leads active Wolf Pack skaters in both points with 16 (8 g, 8 a) and goals with eight.
The parent New York Rangers recalled forwards Anthony Greco and Lauri Pajuniemi to the taxi squad on Saturday, and defenseman Braden Schneider to the active roster on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Rangers recalled forward Justin Richards to the taxi squad, while the Wolf Pack signed forward Jacob Hayhurst to a PTO.
The Rangers did assign three players to Hartford on Tuesday. Goaltender Tyler Wall returned following a brief stint on the taxi squad, while defensemen Tarmo Reunanen and Nils Lundkvist were also assigned. Lundkvist is expected to make his AHL debut tonight. He has skated in 25 career NHL games and scored his first career goal on December 8th against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.
Head coach Kris Knoblauch has also joined the Rangers and will handle head coaching duties while Gerard Gallant is in COVID protocols.
The Checkers enter tonight’s game with a record of 15-12-2-0 following Sunday’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Bridgeport Islanders. Wilson and Kole Lind scored to build a 2-0 lead for the Checkers, but the Islanders were able to even the score and force overtime. Grigori Denisenko scored in the eighth round of the shootout for the visitors, pushing them to their first victory of 2022.
Logan Hutsko leads all skaters with 20 points (7 g, 13 a) on the season. Wilson, meanwhile, leads the club with ten goals on the campaign. Joey Daccord leads Checkers’ goaltenders with six wins and a .922 save percentage this season. Veteran NHL netminder Devan Dubnyk is currently with the Checkers on a PTO.
Join us this Saturday night for ‘Decades Night’ at the XL Center! We’ll be celebrating the top music and pop-culture moments from the 1980’s, 1990’s, and the 2000’s! The first 1,500 fans will also receive a fanny pack thanks to our friends at CM Concessions! Puck drop against the Laval Rocket is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Tickets for ‘Decades Night’ and tonight’s tilt with Charlotte are available at www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
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ABOUT THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK: The Hartford Wolf Pack has been a premier franchise in the American Hockey League since the team’s inception in 1997. The Wolf Pack are the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and play at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has been home to some of the Rangers newest faces including Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, and Ryan Lindgren. Follow the Wolf Pack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.