Weekend watch list: Nov. 17-19

Photo: Megan Boyle

Patrick Williams, TheAHL.com Features Writer

A home-and-home series between the Hartford Wolf Pack and Syracuse Crunch is among the highlights of a busy AHL weekend schedule. Both clubs are off to strong starts and sit second in their respective divisions, and Hartford brings a 5-1-2-0 road record into the Upstate Medical University Arena tonight.

The Wolf Pack have had an eventful week, beginning with the departure of head coach Kris Knoblauch to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday morning. Assistant coach Steve Smith took over for Knoblauch in an interim capacity with Hartford. A few hours after the coaching change, the Wolf Pack grabbed a point with a come-from-behind effort in a 3-2 overtime loss at Providence. They then helped Smith to earn his first head-coaching victory with a 5-1 win over Springfield on Wednesday.

For Syracuse, forward Maxim Groshev has collected five goals in his past two games, including a hat trick in Tuesday’s 5-4 win at Bridgeport. With 12 points (seven goals, five assists) through 12 games, the 21-year-old Groshev is third in AHL rookie scoring. The Crunch have also won five consecutive visits to the XL Center; their last loss in Hartford was a 2-1 shootout setback on Dec. 16, 2016.

While home ice has not been kind to the Manitoba Moose, they have made themselves comfortable on the road in the early going of the 2023-24 season.

The Moose were winless over a four-game homestand that wrapped on Monday, dropping their season record at Canada Life Centre to 2-6-0-0. However, Manitoba is 2-0-0-0 away from home as they go into a six-game road stretch that opens tonight at Belleville. Games in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday will complete Manitoba’s first three-in-three weekend of the season.

In all, 11 of the Moose’s next 15 games are on the road.

Tonight’s hosts, the Senators, are coming off a tough 6-4 loss at Laval on Wednesday in which they built a 4-0 first-period lead only to see the Rocket take over the final 40 minutes. Belleville stays home to welcome Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

The Charlotte Checkers finish their West Coast trip against the San Diego Gulls in the AHLTV Free Game of the Week tonight (10 ET/7 PT).

Charlotte is 3-0 against San Diego this season, with all of those victories coming in overtime. Patrick Khodorenko had the winning goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 decision at Pechanga Arena; two of Khodorenko’s four goals this season have been game-winners. Ludovic Waeber made 24 saves and improved to 3-0-0 in his first season with Charlotte.

The Gulls are mired in a 10-game losing streak (0-7-3-0) as they conclude a four-game homestand tonight, and are looking for their first win on home ice since Mar. 11.

An AHLTV account is required to watch the AHLTV Free Game of the Week, but no subscription is needed. Visit AHLTV.com for details.