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The Wolf Pack ended the week on a high note, defeating the league-leading Manchester Monarchs 3-2 in overtime on Sunday afternoon in Manchester. The team trails the Monarchs by just one point for the overall league lead and first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 26-9-1-2. The Pack continues to lead the league in fewest goals against (71) and sports the best home record in the AHL with 17 wins, 3 losses and 1 shootout loss. The club also continues to have the top penalty killing in the league with an 89.85% efficiency and have the seventh best power play at 17.82%. The Pack have won their last five home games.
Goaltender Jason LaBarbera continues to lead all teams with the best goals against average at 1.61, with Steve Valiquette number three with a 1.84 GAA. With 13 wins in a row, LaBarbera is just one win shy of equaling his franchise-record 14 game unbeaten streak he set last year ... and six games shy of the league mark of 19 games unbeaten. And speaking of franchise records, Captain Ken Gernander's next point will put him number one in franchise history for most points. Right now, he has 343 points, tied with Brad Smyth. Alexandre Giroux is on a three game goal-scoring streak (4 goals), and Lawrence Nycholat has tallied seven assists in his last six games (and is tied for fourth overall in defenseman scoring with 5-20-25).THE WEEK AHEAD:
Two GEICO Connecticut Cup games against rival Bridgeport highlight this coming week for the Wolf Pack. Sandwiched between those two contests, the Pack travel to Albany to face the River Rats. The club finishes the week with its annual Kids' Club Day on Sunday.Tuesday, January 4
"Pack Talk" at Little Mark's Big Barbecue on ESPN Radio 1410 ... This week's scheduled guests Ryan Hollweg and Dwight Helminen will join the voice of the Wolf Pack, Bob Crawford, at Little Mark's Big Barbecue, 279 West Main Street (Route 44) in Avon from 7 to 8:00 p.m. Fans are invited to come down to Little Mark's to participate live, or to listen in on ESPN Radio 1410.Wednesday, January 12
Hartford vs. Bridgeport - Hartford Civic Center 7:05 p.m.
The 15-18-1-0 Sound Tigers currently stand sixth in the East Division and are in the midst of a five game losing streak dating back to December 26. They are winless in their last eight road games. This is the fourth meeting of the GEICO Connecticut Cup combatants, the Wolf Pack are 3-1-0-0 against the Sound Tigers ... their last game, a 3-2 win on the road on December 26.
Top scorers for the Pack against Bridgeport are Jozef Balej, Chad Wiseman, Alexandre Giroux and Lawrence Nycholat. Each has three points against the Sound Tigers. Rob Collins is the top point-getter for Bridgeport at 0-3-3.
Jed Ortmeyer and Thomas Pock will participate in an autograph session post game. Radio - live on ESPN Radio 1410 with Bob Crawford and on the web at: www.hartfordwolfpack.com.Friday, January 14
Hartford at Albany - Pepsi Arena 7:00 p.m.
The River Rats are currently in last place in the Eastern Division with a 9-20-4-4 record. This is their first of two meetings with the Pack this season. The clubs will face-off in Hartford on April 15. The River Rats have not won in 11 games dating back to December 15. The Wolf Pack have a 6-4-0-0 road record in their last ten games. Albany's leading scorer is Zack Parise (7-21-28), son of former New York Islander and Minnesota North Star Jean-Paul Parise. Radio - live on ESPN Radio 1410 with Bob Crawford and on the web at: www.hartfordwolfpack.com.Saturday, January 15
Hartford vs. Bridgeport - Hartford Civic Center 7:35 p.m. ** NOTE TIME CHANGE **
This GEICO Connecticut Cup game is practically sold out ...thousands of scouts in attendance will participate in a Scout Sleepover after the game.
The game will start 30 minutes later than usual to allow for the change-over from basketball to hockey. The Hockey Company (THC) has donated 500 tickets to local charities for this game, including: Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Asylum Hill Boys and Girls Club, Children's Home in Cromwell, Hartford Department of Youth Services and the Groton Parks & Recreation Street Hockey Program. Every fan in attendance will receive a Wolf Pack baseball cap courtesy of Match-Up promotions. Radio - joined in progress after the New York Jets football game on ESPN Radio 1410 with Bob Crawford and live on the web at: www.hartfordwolfpack.com.Sunday, January 16
Kids' Club Day with the Wolf Pack ... Brigham's Ice Cream presents the Hartford Wolf Pack's Kids' Club Day on Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m. Children who are members of the club will attend a special practice where Bob Crawford will describe the practice as it is run by Coach Ryan McGill. Members will receive a set of player cards at the event and after practice, the entire team will sign autographs. To join the Hartford Wolf Pack Kids' Club, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com or the Fan Service Center behind Section 101 at games. Kids get a newsletter, Wolf Pack merchandise, ticket specials and an invitation to attend the Kids' Club Day.INJURIES:
Jed Ortmeyer (sprained right knee) - day-to-day
Thomas Pöck (left ankle sprain) - day-to-day
David Liffiton (right shoulder sprain) - 2-3 weeks
Trevor Gillies (broken left foot) - 4-6 weeks
Martin Grenier (right thumb) - 10-12 weeks
Blair Betts (right shoulder) - out indefinitelyRECENT TRANSACTIONS:
* The new Hartford Wolf Pack "Pack Shop" opens Saturday, January 15 at its new location - 100 Allyn Street. The store will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as two hours prior to and one hour after each and every Wolf Pack home game, including Saturday and Sundays. A full line of Wolf Pack merchandise is available, while a limited selection of items will still be available in the Civic Center Mall before games.
* Next Saturday's game versus Lowell will also start 30 minutes later than usual - 7:35 p.m. - to allow for the change-over from basketball to hockey.
* Book now for the Second Annual Hartford Wolf Pack Tip A Player event at the Coach's Sports Bar and Grille Monday, February 7 to benefit Gaylord Hospital. There are two seatings, 5:00 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12 and include dinner and non-alcoholic refreshments, autograph signings, apron auctions, a silent auction, and Wolf Pack players will wait on all guests. Great fun for the whole family. Call 860-246-7825 for more details. There is limited seating ... hurry before the event is sold out!
* Mark February 12 in your calendar to pick up your Torpedo Bobblehead at the game versus Portland, courtesy of Verizon.
* The 96.5 TIC Acoustic Café -Volume IV CD to benefit the Wolf Pack Community Foundation is available at Strawberries or FYE locations in Connecticut, Big Y World Class Markets in Connecticut and Massachusetts, FootPrints Family Super Shoe Store in Newington or the Hartford Wolf Pack store. CD's are only $9.65 and contain a voucher for a free Wolf Pack ticket (value $16.50).