Its official! The Wolf Pack secured a playoff spot in the 2003 Calder Cup playoffs this past week with after posting a 1-0-2-1 mark in four games. The five points they earned gives them 78 for the season, marking the sixth consecutive season that the team has earned a post-season spot.
The Pack can still improve their seeding in the playoffs with games this week against St. John's (Wednesday, 7:05 PM), Springfield (Friday, 7:35 PM), Lowell (7:00 PM ET) and Bridgeport (4:05 PM). Hartford currently trails Worcester and Portland by just one point and Manitoba by a pair in the Estern Conference playoff race. GAME RECAPS:Albany, March 19, 2003
-- John Tripp scored late in the third period to help the Hartford Wolf Pack skate to a 1-1 tie with the Albany River Rats. Tripp, who leads the team with 28 goals, tallied with only 7:22 remaining in regulation on assists from Vladimir Chebaturkin and Chris Pittman. Jason LaBarbera stopped 25 shots, including three in overtime, for Hartford, which has picked up at least one point in five straight games. Dave Roche scored midway through the opening frame for Albany, which managed just one shot in the third period. Scott Clemmensen made 35 saves for the River Rats, who are winless in their last two games after going 7-1 over their previous eight. Hartford, March 21, 2003
-- Justin Papineau scored with just 44 seconds left in the third period to lift the Bridgeport Sound Tigers into a 2-2 tie with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Papineau notched his sixth goal in four games since being traded by the St. Louis Blues with assists by Trent Hunter and Justin Mapletoft. Hunter, who leads the team with 61 points, tallied 6:03 into the first period to give Bridgeport an early 1-0 advantage. Stephen Valiquette stopped 26 shots for the Sound Tigers, who have gone 0-2-1 over their last three games after winning four in a row. Nils Ekman and Vladimir Chebaturkin each scored for Hartford, which has recorded at least one point in six straight games. Jason LaBarbera turned away 22 shots, including four in overtime, for the Wolf Pack. Hartford, March 22, 2003
-- Dixon Ward recorded a hat trick to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 4-2 victory over the Saint John Flames. Ward, who had scored just once in his previous 20 games, tallied in each period to post his first multi-goal performance of the season. Ken Gernander and Ryan Bast each supplied a pair of assists for Hartford, which has not lost in regulation over its last seven games (3-0-3-1). Jason LaBarbera made 28 saves to improve to 15-13-6. Robert Dome and Jason Morgan scored for Saint John, which fell to 4-4 on its current nine-game road trip. Dany Sabourin made 25 saves in the loss. Philadelphia, March 23, 2003
-- Dennis Seidenberg scored in overtime to boost the Philadelphia Phantoms over the Hartford Wolf Pack, 5-4. Seidenberg, who assisted on a second-period goal by Brad Tiley, netted his fourth marker in 11 games 3:11 into the extra stanza. Tiley tallied a power-play goal 8:33 into the middle period, tied the score at 3-3 with 11:07 left in the third and assisted on the equalizer by Ladislav Kohn 6:35 later for Philadelphia, which improved to 4-6-6 in overtime. Kohn finished with a pair of goals for the Phantoms, who went 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Neil Little recorded 18 saves in the win. Roman Lyashenko scored a pair of goals and had an assist for Hartford, which has recorded at least one point in each of its last six games. Scott Meyer gave up all five goals on 34 shots for the loss. WOLF PACK NOTES:
* The Wolf Pack will host Richard Scott Bobblehead Night
on Sunday vs. Bridgeport (4:05 PM).
* Dixon Ward
, who recorded a hat trick on Saturday against the Saint John Flames, now has 22 goals on the season with Hartford ... Ward last appeared in the AHL during the 1995-96 campaign as a member of the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres), where he posted 38 goals and 56 assists for 94 points in 71 matches.
* Jason LaBarbera
went unbeaten (1-0-2-0) in three games last week, allowing just five goals while making 75 saves over the span.