Hartford Jr. Wolfpack,Mike Tenney,USPHL,USA Junior Hockey

Hartford Jr. Wolfpack: Young team improving possession numbers

As the 2017 portion of the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack’s schedule winds down, head coach and general manager Mike Tenney considered what his team has done well in 2017.

By Jim Smith

He has also zeroed in on some areas of development that need to be honed for the final stretch of the schedule in 2018.

“We started kind of slow out of the gate in terms of scoring goals. We definitely upped the quotient on that,” said Tenney. “Our possession numbers have steadily increased as the season goes on and I can suggest that those numbers prove that we are getting better.

“It hasn’t always correlated to wins and we are still figuring our way out,” added Tenney. “That goes to a lot of guys have not played at this level and they are still learning how to win at this level. We are trending upward and it’s just a matter of putting it all together consistently. We struggled at the end of games and we are working on developing a mental toughness to finish games out.”

As junior hockey is all about development, Tenney believes there has been definite development among this squad.

“I believe that everybody is getting better at different degrees. As the [younger guys] get into Year 2 or the second half of this year, they will turn some heads.”

One of the younger guys that caught Tenney’s attention is Vinnie McCallister (’99).

Everything we throw at him he soaks up and does a phenomenal job. I kind of thought he would be a depth player but he has played consistently in our top six, the power play and penalty kill. He has really developed a lot.”

Captain Lliam Christiano has also performed well during the 2017 portion of the campaign to date.

“I can’t say enough good things about him. He sort of stumbled out of the gate in terms of putting points up but I think he was adjusting to the role of being a leader. Now that he is settled in, he is averaging at least a point a game,” Tenney added.

The addition of Thomas Sansone provided an offensive jolt and, according to Tenney, “jump-started the offense to get us scoring.”

Another contributor identified by Tenney were Austin Marini, who “shows up in the clutch.”

While the Hartford coach believes the forwards have been leading the team, defenseman Alex Henderson has been extremely dependable.

“[Henderson] is a guy you have to watch a lot. You know what you’re going to get and he makes the right play all the time,” Tenney said.

Follow Jim Smith on Twitter @BlueLineNotes

Read past Hartford Jr. Wolfpack articles in our archives:

College scouting begins early for USPHL squad

Taking a measured team-building approach for 2017-18