GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS (8-4-2-0) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (12-2-0-1)
A SPECIAL GUEST STAR: No FOOLIN’!
The Chicago Wolves are riding a four-game winning streak that has featured a different goaltender — Beck Warm, Jeremy Helvig, Antoine Bibeau and Devin Cooley — in the net for each victory.
As the Central Division-leading Wolves try to stretch their winning streak to five — and to extend their seven-point division lead over the second-place Grand Rapids Griffins — they are summoning yet another goaltender…and it’s one quite familiar to the visiting team.
Prior to today’s game, the Carolina Hurricanes loaned veteran goaltender Petr Mrazek to the Wolves as part of a conditioning stint. The 29-year-old Ostrava, Czech Republic, native entered this season as Carolina’s top goaltender, but he has not played since injuring his right thumb on Jan. 30 against the Dallas Stars. Mrazek, who required surgery, owns a 2-1-0 record, a 0.99 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage in four games for the Canes this season.
Today marks Mrazek’s first American Hockey League appearance since March 6, 2015 — when he played for the Griffins as part of his six seasons in the Detroit Red Wings organization. Mrazek posted a 54-27-4 record in 87 regular-season appearances for Grand Rapids and backstopped the Griffins to the 2013 Calder Cup.
While in a Grand Rapids uniform, Mrazek faced the Wolves eight times and forged a 5-2-0 record with 1 shutout, a 2.72 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Mrazek wasn’t the only Hurricanes player sent the Wolves’ way today. Forward Max McCormick, who has appeared in two games for Carolina while spending the whole season to date in Raleigh, also has been loaned to Chicago. The 28-year-old De Pere, Wisconsin, native posted 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games last year for the Charlotte Checkers (AHL). He paced the Checkers with 120 penalty minutes.
JEANNOT APPRECIATION SOCIETY
Yes, we’re not quite halfway through the 33-game regular-season schedule. But if the American Hockey League intends to hand out the Most Valuable Player award at the end of this shortened season, then 23-year-old forward Tanner Jeannot deserves to be on the short list for consideration.
You want stats? He leads the Wolves with 17 points (7G, 10A) in just 10 games. He has scored a goal in his last five games, which shares the AHL’s longest goal streak alongside Texas’ Nick Baptiste and Ontario’s Quinton Byfield. He has scored at least one point in his last nine games, which ranks as the AHL’s second-longest active streak (behind Baptiste’s 10-game run.)
He’s on the power play — and has two power-play goals to show for it. He plays on the penalty kill — and has two shorthanded goals to show for it. He polices the action all over the ice — and has 31 penalty minutes to show for it. Most important? The Wolves are 10-0-0-0 when Jeannot is in the lineup.
we are the wolves
April Fools’ Day does not rank among the most successful dates in Wolves history. The team has registered a 3-5-1-1 record (.400) in its first 10 games on April 1.
This marks the Wolves’ first game on this date since 2017. Peculiarly, Jordan Binnington started in net three consecutive April 1s for Chicago. He stopped 27 shots when the Wolves beat Toronto 2-1 in 2015, but the Wolves lost to the Lake Erie Monsters 4-3 in 2016 and lost to the Cleveland Monsters 5-2 in 2017.
On the flip side, former Wolves star Kevin Doell loved playing on April Fools’ Day. He posted 1 goal and 1 assist in a 2006 win over Toronto and 2 goals with 1 assist in a 2008 win against Manitoba.
last two games
- After the Wolves and IceHogs battled through four ties and three lead changes, rookie forward Jamieson Rees broke the final tie with a third-period goal to push Chicago’s win streak to 4.
- Rees broke the game’s final two ties with his two goals while Tanner Jeannot extended his goal streak to five games and Sean Malone and Ryan Suzuki delivered the other goals.
- Goaltender Devin Cooley stopped 20 shots to earn the win in his AHL debut.
- 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.
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 68 goals in 15 games — a league-leading average of 4.53 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.
3: In the Wolves’ first 14 games, there were a grand total of two lead changes: 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. Then came a 12-game run where the team that scored first (usually the Wolves) went on to win without ever falling behind. Then Sunday’s 5-4 win at Rockford happened — and there were THREE lead changes in an eight-minute stretch of the second period. Rockford scored first, but the Wolves scored two straight. Then Rockford scored two straight. Then Wolves rookies Ryan Suzuki and Jamieson Rees scored to provide a 4-3 lead at 12:12 of the second. Rockford rallied to forge a 4-4 tie, but Rees delivered again at 4:41 of the third to wrap up this season’s wildest game to date.
37: The Wolves have played just 15 games, but 37 players already have suited up for at least one game. That’s the same number that last year’s squad needed to get through the 61 games before the pandemic brought the season to a permanent halt. Nineteen-year-old Luke Evangelista and goaltender Devin Cooley became the latest to hit the ice as they made their AHL debuts in Sunday’s 5-4 win at Rockford. For those curious about the breakdown between the Wolves’ two NHL partners, the 15 skaters from the Nashville Predators organization have combined for 128 games of action. The 18 skaters from the Carolina Hurricanes organization (including the four signed to Wolves contracts) have combined for 142 games. Of the 37 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 684 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, 57.5 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
|Saturday, April 3||vs. Rockford||Wolves Training Facility||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, April 7||at Rockford||Rockford MetroCentre||6 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Friday, April 9||at Iowa||Wells Fargo Arena||7 p.m.||AHLTV|