Wolf Pack spiraling toward oblivion
Thursday February 18th 2010, 2:01 am

My weekly Wolf Pack recap, which details last week’s brutal three game losing streak — in which the Pack was beaten by a combined score of 20-8 — is up over at SNY’s Rangers blog.

The hemorrhaging continued on Wednesday night, when the Wolf Pack lost to the Norfolk Admirals.  Chad Johnson was pulled for the second straight game after giving up four goals on 21 shots.  Miika Wiikman didn’t fare much better, letting in three on 24 shots.  Final shots on goal: 45-24.  Final score: 7-3.  But hey, Donald Brashear scored his first AHL point, an assist on Jared Nightingale’s goal in garbage time.  That’s something to be excited about, right?  Right?!

Think I might be overstating how bad things have gotten? Here’s what head coach Ken Gernander had to say after Wednesday night’s game:

“This is the worst I’ve ever felt in decades,” said Ken Gernander, who has been captain and coach of the Wolf Pack throughout their 13-year history. “They outshot us (45-24), our goaltending wasn’t good, we lost the one-on-one battles and we talked about the importance of a good start, given that we had given up a goal on our first shift in the last two games, and it was (11-2) shots when they scored their first goal.

Meanwhile, Johnson, the New York Rangers’ presumed back-up goaltender, appears to have lost all his confidence:

“The last three games have been my worst games of the season by far,” said Johnson, who has allowed 14 goals on 60 shots in 97:39 since his latest reassignment to the Wolf Pack from the Rangers. “No one is playing the way we know we can play, starting with me. I’m not where I need to be. When other guys make mistakes, other guys need to step up and play strong, and that’s not happening right now.

“It’s really frustrating and disappointing the way we are playing,” added Johnson, who led NCAA Division I goaltenders in goals-against average (1.66) and save percentage (.940) last season while at Alaska-Fairbanks. “It’s kind of hard to explain, and I wish I knew (what was wrong) because then it wouldn’t be going the way it’s going. I’m fighting the puck, and pucks are hitting me and taking bad bounces. It’s just not going the right way right now, and all you can do is focus on tomorrow and get better.

If you think you can stomach it, see Bruce Berlet’s write-up at the Wolf Pack web site for more.

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Filed under: Hartford Wolf Pack

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