CHICAGO WOLVES (11-2-0-1) AT ROCKFORD ICEHOGS (6-10-1-0)
FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The Chicago Wolves improved to 4-0 against the Rockford IceHogs this season with a 6-3 victory Saturday night at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates. In many ways, four was the magic number for the first of four games between the Wolves and IceHogs from March 27 to April 7.
Four: That’s the number of goals the Wolves scored during the opening minute of a period Saturday night. David Cotton and Max Lajoie came through during the first 44 seconds of the first period, Dominik Bokk tallied a power-play goal 51 seconds in the second period and Tanner Jeannot scored 51 seconds into the third period.
Four: The Wolves scored the game’s first four goals in the opening 21 minutes to mark the third time this season they’ve broken to a 4-0 lead and the sixth time they’ve held a four-goal lead at any point in a game.
Four: Bokk’s marker pushed his goal streak to four games — tying fellow rookie Seth Jarvis and Rem Pitlick for the Wolves’ longest goal streaks this season. Bokk can tie Ontario’s Quinton Byfield (the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft) for the AHL’s longest goal streak this season if he tallies today. By the way, Bokk speaks four languages: German, Swedish, Russian and English.
SPEAKING OF DOMINIK BOKK
The 21-year-old from Schweinfurt, Germany, is called a rookie because this marks his first season playing professionally in North America, but he started playing professionally in 2017-18 for Vaxjo HC in Sweden’s top league. Bokk was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes shortly before the 2019-20 season.
Bokk’s experience overseas helps when it comes to playing against full-grown men, but he has been going through growing pains here. In his first eight games, he posted no goals with three assists and was held out of the lineup for a weekend. In his last four games, he owns four goals and one assist — and he’s not just better at putting the puck in the net.
“Slow start,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “To be expected of a young kid coming from Europe (and) hasn’t played on a North American ice sheet before. Where he is now to where he was on Day 1 is much-improved. He’s more engaged in the hockey game. He’s hanging on to pucks. Obviously the points and the goals help, but from a coaching standpoint, we’re looking at how he’s playing away from the puck, how he’s playing with the puck — things that we’re really preaching on him to help him make the next level.”
“He’s just more engaged. That’s the one word that we talk to ‘Bokker’ about: He has to be engaged in the hockey game. And he’s done really good job with that the last three weeks.
we are the wolves
In 1998, defenseman Jeremy Mylymok played in all 22 postseason games to help the Chicago Wolves capture their first championship. He wound up playing parts of three seasons in Chicago and posted 4 goals and 8 assists in 74 regular-season games along with 1 goal and 2 assists in 32 playoff games.
But Saturday night, the hockey world’s eyes were on Mylymok’s 19-year-old son, Luke, who ended the longest NCAA Tournament game in history with a goal at 2:13 of the fifth overtime to lift University of Minnesota-Duluth to the Frozen Four with a 3-2 win over North Dakota. Luke had just one other goal during his freshman year until his tally more than six hours after the game began.
last two games
- Rookie forward David Cotton and defenseman Max Lajoie scored in the opening 44 seconds to set the tone for the Wolves’ third win in a row.
- Cotton posted two first-period goals while Lajoie (G, 2A), Tanner Jeannot (G, 2A), Dominik Bokk and Ryan Suzuki also scored goals and Tommy Novak handed out three assists.
- Goaltender Antoine Bibeau notched 23 saves to pick up the win.
- The Wolves converted three of their four power-play opportunities and notched a short-handed goal to sweep the weekend series at Wells Fargo Arena.
- Rookie forward Dominik Bokk scored the team’s first goal for the third game in a row while David Warsofsky, Tanner Jeannot, Max Lajoie, Josh Healey and Phil Tomasino also produced goals.
- Goaltender Jeremy Helvig posted 29 saves to improve his record to 4-0-0.
by the numbers
1: Yes, if the Wolves play all 33 games on their current regular-season schedule, this season will only be 43 percent as long as a normal American Hockey League slate. But after providing that caveat, it’s still intriguing to note this year’s squad is on pace to shatter the franchise record for most goals per game. These Wolves have scored 63 goals in 14 games — a league-leading average of 4.50 per outing. The only Wolves team that has averaged more than 4 per game is the 2006-07 crew that paced the AHL with 4.14 per game.
2: Rarely has scoring the first goal mattered so much to one team. The Wolves are 9-0-0-0 when they scored the first goal, but 2–2-0-1 when they don’t. In fact, only two of the Wolves’ first 13 games have featured any lead changes — and none since the first two games of the year. Chicago recovered from a 1-0 deficit on Opening Night (Feb. 5) against Grand Rapids to earn a 3-1 victory. The next day at Rockford in the IceHogs’ opener, the Wolves fell behind 2-0 and 3-2 during the opening 25 minutes before rallying to secure a 5-4 win. But in each of the Wolves’ last 11 games, the team that scored first has gone ahead and earned the win without trailing.
3: Prior to Saturday night’s 6-3 win over Rockford, 23-year-old defenseman Max Lajoie had played in 190 professional games (62 NHL, 127 AHL and 1 ECHL). Never had he produced 3 points in the same game…until Saturday night. He scored a goal 44 seconds into the night, assisted on David Cotton’s second goal of the first period and handed out an assist on Tanner Jeannot’s third-period tally. Lajoie owns three goals and seven assists in 11 games this year, so he’s scoring at a much higher rate than prior to joining the Carolina Hurricanes organization via trade in January. He owns 7 goals and 8 assists in 62 NHL games along with 8 goals and 35 assists in 128 AHL appearances.
35: The Wolves have played just 14 games, but 35 players already have suited up for at least one game. Last year, the franchise needed just 37 players to get through the 61 games before the pandemic brought the season to a permanent halt. For those curious about the breakdown between the Wolves’ two NHL partners, the 14 skaters from the Nashville Predators organization have combined for 121 games of action. The 18 skaters from the Carolina Hurricanes organization (including the three signed to Wolves contracts) have combined for 131 games. Of the 34 players to compete for the Wolves this season, 10 have played in the NHL this season as well: Frederic Allard, Alex Carrier, Jeremy Davies, Morgan Geekie, Tanner Jeannot, Sean Malone, Rem Pitlick, Sheldon Rempal, Drew Shore and Cole Smith.
52: Defenseman Matt Murphy made his Wolves and AHL debuts Saturday night, but he also made some Wolves history. When he stepped on the ice, he became the first player to wear No. 52 in the team’s 27-year history. He’s not the only one who has debuted a new number this season. Rookie forward Patrick Harper (43), defensemen Frederic Allard (46) and Alex Carrier (47) and rookie forward Phil Tomasino (50) also have been the first to wear those numbers. When NHL veteran defenseman Joakim Ryan hits the ice, he’ll be the first to wear No. 48.
393: Since the Wolves started playing on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 682 players have donned the Burgundy and Gold. When defenseman Frederic Allard made his NHL debut Saturday night for Nashville against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, he became the 393rd player in Wolves history who also has appeared in the NHL. In other words, 57.6 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
|Thursday, April 1||vs. Grand Rapids||Wolves Training Facility||2 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 3||vs. Rockford||Wolves Training Facility||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, April 7||at Rockford||Rockford MetroCentre||6 p.m.||AHLTV|