Rookie forward David Cotton produced two goals in his second professional game and goaltender Beck Warm stopped 36 shots in his pro debut as the Chicago Wolves earned a 4-2 decision over the Grand Rapids Griffins Thursday afternoon at the Wolves training facility in Hoffman Estates.
Forward Seth Jarvis scored for the fourth time in four games and forward Tanner Jeannot added a late empty-net goal as the Wolves became the first American Hockey League team this season to jump to a 4-0 start.
“All of the coaches here are very proud of the group and their effort, first and foremost, is there,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “The biggest thing to me is, we’ve got two affiliations and we’ve become one team. That has been the best sight to see, whether it’s been on the bench or the dressing room or just on a practice day. You would never know there are two organizations here.”
The Wolves, who are partnering with the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators during this shortened AHL season, rarely have trailed during the season’s first week.
Jarvis, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, scored the Wolves’ first goal for the third time this season. He triggered the breakout on the power play, then headed to the net to knock home the rebound of defenseman Jeremy Davies’ shot at 10:53 of the first.
The Wolves pushed their lead to 2-0 on Cotton’s first goal at 13:13 of the second. Sheldon Rempal knocked the puck off a Griffins defenseman’s stick, then Cotton pounced on it, swept behind the net and stuffed home the wraparound.
Grand Rapids (0-2-0-0) pulled within 2-1 on Kyle Criscuolo’s power-play goal at 16:20 as the Griffins took advantage of a 4-on-3 situation. The Griffins’ Dennis Cholowski made it 2-2 at 6:07 of the third with a rebound goal after a lengthy scramble near the Wolves’ net.
Cotton regained momentum for the Wolves shortly thereafter. He blocked a shot near Chicago’s blue line, gained possession and triggered a 3-on-1 rush. Cotton fed Ryan Suzuki in the center of the ice, then received a return pass in the right circle and buried it for a 3-2 lead at 7:33 of the third.
Grand Rapids gained a power play late in regulation and pulled goaltender Kevin Boyle (0-1-0) to gain a 6-on-4 advantage, but Joey Keane and Jeannot worked together to set up Jeannot’s shorthanded insurance goal with 1:55 to play.
The 21-year-old Warm (1-0-0) stood tall early and often in his first pro game. He rejected several shots in the waning minutes with the Griffins searching for the equalizer.
“Great feet, finds pucks, made some big saves when we needed him to,” Warsofsky said. “His rebound control was really good. I liked Beck tonight. He was really good for a guy who had a late start to camp.”
The Wolves return to the ice at 6 p.m. Tuesday with a trip to face the Rockford IceHogs, then they’re back at Triphahn Center at 7 p.m., Feb. 20, to meet the Iowa Wild.
Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift and a chance to get that special someone’s smiling face into Triphahn Center this season? Purchase a Valentine’s Day-themed Wolves cutout and take your place in the Chicago Wolves Fan Gallery, presented by Hefty. To purchase yours, visit ChicagoWolvesStore.com.