Welcome to Wolves Insider: the report presented by Power Crunch that gives you a taste of all Chicago Wolves developments as the organization enjoys its 27th season.
A RIVALRY UNLIKE ANY OTHER…
The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs are scheduled to meet four times in a 12-day period — starting with Saturday’s 7 p.m. clash at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates.
It’s fair to say there’s not a rivalry in America that’s more evenly matched than the one between the Wolves and IceHogs. Since these American Hockey League teams started facing each other on Oct. 19, 2007, both teams have earned the same number of regular-season wins.
THE OFFICIAL RECORDS ENTERING SATURDAY’S GAME:
WOLVES: 74-56-10-8 (166 points)
ICEHOGS: 74-61-9-4 (161 points)
It’s probably also fair to say there’s not a rivalry in the American Hockey League that’s more heated than the one between the Wolves and IceHogs. Not only are their home rinks located less than 70 miles apart, there’s always a little extra motivation because of the IceHogs’ affiliation with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. No only do the players feel it, the fans do too.
How soon did the Wolves-IceHogs rivalry become clear? Well, in that inaugural Chicago-Rockford clash on Oct. 19, 2007, that featured Fred Brathwaite in net for the Wolves and Corey Crawford in net for the IceHogs, the first fight began just 4 minutes, 33 seconds into the game as Chicago’s Andre Deveaux and Rockford’s Evan Brophey swapped unpleasantries. Before the first period ended, the Wolves’ Nathan Oystrick and Rockford’s Colin Fraser also tangled as part of a six-goal, 19-penalty opening stanza.
Not only has this rivalry featured maximum intensity since the beginning, it has featured maximum drama. In the teams’ inaugural game, the Wolves rallied from a 4-2 deficit to force overtime. Then, with 25 seconds left in the extra session, Wolves center Jason Krog flashed his AHL MVP form and gave the Wolves the 5-4 win with a power-play goal set up by Steve Martins and Alexandre Giroux.
…but SOMETIMES THERE’S MUTUAL ADMIRATION
While the Wolves and the IceHogs will never stop doing whatever it takes to beat each other, a healthy respect has grown between the teams — as exhibited by Wolves general manager Wendell Young and Blackhawks vice president of Hockey Operations/Team Affiliates Mark Bernard.
The latest example came Monday night when Young’s 20-year-old son, Jack, made his American Hockey League debut as an official. He served as one of the referees in the IceHogs’ 6-1 home win over the Iowa Wild. To learn about all of the kindnesses Bernard and the IceHogs showed the Young family that night, listen to the new Wolves podcast episode here.
There are a million great stories here, including Wendell uttering these words: “I never thought I would say this: I owe a lot of gratitude to the Rockford IceHogs organization.”
ARE YOU READY FOR FLASH FRIDAY?
On many Friday mornings, it’s worth a quick check of ChicagoWolvesStore.com as well as the Wolves’ social media accounts. Why? Because the Wolves like to reward their fans with “Flash Friday” deals that offer big savings on desirable Wolves goals. We can’t tell you what the next deal will be…but we can tell you it will be worthwhile to pay attention this Friday morning!
Of the top 20 rookie scorers in the American Hockey League, only two are averaging at least one point per game. Tomasino serves as half of this list as the 19-year-old owns 5 goals and 6 assists in 11 games. The Nashville Predators’ 2019 first-round pick owns 3 goals and 1 assist in 3 games against the Rockford IceHogs.
Cotton, who made his professional debut in February, is another Wolves rookie who’s producing points at a rapid rate. The physical forward from Texas owns 3 goals and 4 assists in eight appearances this season. He’s one of nine Chicago rookies to score this season as the newbies have contributed a collective 25 goals and 29 assists in 13 games this season.
Jeannot shares the team lead in points (13) despite spending nearly two weeks with the Nashville Predators, which included his NHL debut on March 2. Jeannot owns 5 goals and 8 assists in just eight games. He ranks second on the Wolves in penalty minutes (29) and shares third in plus/minus rating (+9).
NO GAMES LAST WEEK
The Wolves and the Grand Rapids Griffins were scheduled to play Friday, March 19, and Tuesday, March 23, in Michigan, but both games were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the Wolves. Chicago and Grand Rapids have rescheduled those games as the Wolves will travel to Van Andel Arena on Tuesday, April 13, and Monday, April 26. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. They will be part of a stretch where the Wolves play eight out of nine games on the road April 7-26.
|Saturday, March 27||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Wolves Training Facility||AHLTV|
|Sunday, March 28||at Rockford||4 p.m.||Rockford MetroCentre||AHLTV|
|Thursday, April 1||vs. Grand Rapids||2 p.m.||Wolves Training Facility||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 3||vs. Rockford||4 p.m.||Wolves Training Facility||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, April 7||at Rockford||6 p.m.||Rockford MetroCentre||AHLTV|