Welcome to Wolves Roundup, a weekly report of highlights, notes and transactions from the Chicago Wolves’ previous week of competition during the 2017-18 season.
The Van Down by the River
After a stretch in which the Chicago Wolves played three games in four games – all against Central Division opponents – the Wolves will compete just once this week.
The team will travel to Grand Rapids for a 6 p.m. showdown with the reigning Calder Cup champion Griffins on Friday, Nov. 3, at Van Andel Arena. Chicago returns to The Van in search of a victory after a 5-3 loss on Oct. 27 to the then last-place Griffins.
Grand Rapids has struggled through its first nine games of the 2017-18 campaign as the club has earned just three wins and been outscored 33-27. The Griffins have yet to string together a win streak, but were winless through four games (Oct. 7-20) until ousting the Wolves last Friday.
The Wolves have not fared much better through their first eight games of the season as they’ve compiled a 3-4-1-0 record. However, Chicago will roll into Friday’s game having just earned a W against the Central Division’s then top-ranked Milwaukee Admirals.
Michigan native C.J. Motte backstopped the Wolves in their latest victory – a 2-1 rally against the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday – for his first win while playing in a Wolves uniform. In his first start since signing a professional tryout contract with Chicago on Oct. 19, the 25-year-old made 27 saves for the win.
Prior to turning pro, Motte grew up in St. Clair, Michigan, and then spent four seasons (2011-15) goalkeeping for the Ferris State University Bulldogs based out of Big Rapids, Michigan. Motte was memorable for the Bulldogs as he finished his tenure as the program’s winningest goaltender with 48 victories. When he donned the “C” in his senior season, Motte became the first netminder to serve as a team captain in school history.
Loaned to the Wolves on Oct. 22, the 21-year-old has made his presence known and nabbed a point in each of his first three appearances. Barbashev began his tenure by scoring the lone goal in Chicago’s 3-1 loss to the Manitoba Moose on Wednesday. His followed that performance up by scoring Wolves’ first goal of the game in Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins and then on Saturday, he earned an assist as he set up the game-winning goal in the 2-1 decision over the Milwaukee Admirals.
The 25-year-old helped the Wolves end the week on a high note as he backstopped the team to a 2-1 victory against the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday. Not only was the 27-save performance Motte’s first victory, but also his first start in a Wolves sweater. Prior to Saturday, the Michigan native served as Chicago’s backup netminder for the previous four contests. With both Oscar Dansk and Max Lagace recalled from loan by the Vegas Golden Knights, the Wolves signed Motte to a professional tryout contract on Oct. 19.
The 33-year-old veteran left wing skated in two of the Wolves’ three contests last week and netted his first goal of the year. Though Sterling’s goal came during Chicago’s 5-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, the tally was his 236th in the American Hockey League, which puts him just one goal shy of becoming one of the AHL’s top-50 all-time goal scorers.
- Chicago rallied in the third period with two goals 1:58 apart to capsize Milwaukee.
- Forward Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Shea Theodore each tallied for the Wolves.
- Goaltender C.J. Motte made 27 saves for his first victory in a Wolves sweater.
- The Wolves collected their fourth regulation loss against the Griffins.
- Forward Ivan Barbashev netted his second goal in as many game while veteran Brett Sterling registered his first tally of the year and Teemu Pulkkinen scored against his former team.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo turned aside 36 shots in his second game for the Wolves.
|Friday, Nov. 3||at Grand Rapids||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m.|
|Wednesday Nov. 8||at Milwaukee||UMW Panther Arena||10:30 a.m.|
|Saturday, Nov. 11||vs. San Antonio||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.|
|Sunday, Nov. 12||vs. Milwaukee||Allstate Arena||3 p.m.|
|Wednesday, Nov. 15||at Manitoba||Bell MTS Place||7 p.m.|