The Connecticut Jr. Wolfpack are content to make their own elbow room.
After all, they have to do something to stay in a very tight top six in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. From the Boston Jr. Rangers and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights at 23 points to the Wolfpack and Northern Cyclones at 19 points, there were six teams packed amidst those four points separating top from middle.
Connecticut has skated to a 8-2-2-1 record for 16 points, just a couple of really good weekends away from the first place spot.
â€œWe are playing well with solid defense and solid goaltending,â€ said head coach Chris Cerrella, in late October. â€œWe need to work on team discipline, as some bad penalties have hurt us in our losses.â€
It wasnâ€™t so much the amount of penalties â€“ Connecticut was eighth in the league with 223 minutes â€“ but bad timing. The Rangers scored two power play goals to break a 4-4 tie in a 7-4 Rangers win on Oct. 21, for example. Two of the Bobcatsâ€™ four goals in a 4-1 win over the â€™Pack on Oct. 11 were also in man-down situations for Connecticut.
In most other games, as seen from the record, the Wolfpack have prospered, especially in the defensive end. In fact, they were third in the league in goals against, with 25 through 13 games.
â€œGoalies Spencer Landry and Gene Lane have been superb between the pipes,â€ Cerrella said.
Not surprisingly, given the teamâ€™s overall goals against, Landry and Lane were in the top 10 overall for goals against average and save percentage.
The â€™93-born Landry held a 2.18 GAA (sixth) and a .931 save percentage (eighth). Lane, a returning â€™92 out of Plymouth, Mass., stood at third in GAA (1.76) and fourth in save percentage (.943).
Offensively, the Wolfpack were faring well enough to win games, though more towards the middle of the pack in goals for with 44.
Anthony Beaumont is leading the team in scoring, heading into the Oct. 26 weekend, with 14 points in 13 games. The â€™93-born forward was â€œMr. Consistencyâ€ for the Wolfpack, scoring a goal and/or an assist in all but three of his 13 games.
â€œHe is getting Division 1 looks and has been scoring some big goals for us, as well as Nick Belger [committed to Sacred Heart University] and Vincent Caligiuri,â€ Cerrella said.
Belger was tied for second in scoring with 12 points in 11 games, while Caligiuri had 11 points in 13 games.