CHICAGO WOLVES (15-4-0-1) AT ROCKFORD ICEHOGS (7-13-1-0)
STREAKING AND LEAVING
American Hockey League players should rank among the hungriest professional athletes on the planet. They have to work and scrap to earn a place in the world’s second-best league — and they can reach the pinnacle of their sport if they just keep battling and striving.
That’s certainly how it’s working for so many Chicago Wolves this season. When the Wolves get to Grand Rapids today for their sixth meeting of the year with the Griffins, they’ll be without their top two scorers due to recent recalls that were sparked by significant streaks.
Forward Tanner Jeannot scored goals in eight straight AHL appearances from Feb. 21 to April 7, which included the game-winning goal when the Wolves topped the Griffins 5-2 on April 1 in their most recent meeting. Jeannot also racked up a 12-game point streak that remains active. But before he could put either of those streaks on the line again, Jeannot and his 10 goals and 11 assists were recalled by the NHL’s Nashville Predators on Sunday.
Rookie forward Phil Tomasino, meanwhile, built a six-game point streak from March 28 to April 10 that featured two goals and seven assists. Once linemate Jeannot moved to the NHL, Tomasino became the Wolves’ leading offensive player. But on Wednesday, the 19-year-old earned a recall from Nashville, too, so his seven goals and 13 assists will not be available tonight either.
Without Jeannot, Tomasino, Seth Jarvis, Rem Pitlick and Morgan Geekie on the roster, the Wolves don’t have have five forwards who’ve combined for 36 of the team’s 86 goals this season.
BUT THERE’S GOOD NEWS, TOO
While Jeannot and Tomasino have moved to Nashville to join four former Wolves teammates on the Predators roster — forward Rem Pitlick and defensemen Alex Carrier, Jeremy Davies and Tyler Lewington — the Wolves have added a handful of players to restock the roster.
On Wednesday, Nashville returned center Tommy Novak to the Wolves after an 11-day stay on the Predators’ taxi squad. Before his recall, Novak had been serving as the Wolves’ first-line center and produced three goals ad 13 assists in 14 games.
Defenseman Joey Keane, meanwhile, returned to Chicago Monday after spending four weeks on the Carolina Hurricanes’ taxi squad. The 21-year-old Chicago native will get to play his first game since March 14 in Iowa. Before Keane joined the Canes, he delivered eight assists in 13 games.
The Wolves also dipped into the collegiate ranks and signed Northeastern University captain Zach Solow to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO). Solow led the Huskies in scoring this season with 11 goals and 13 assists in 21 games. The Naples, Florida, native piled up 44 goals and 60 assists in 132 games for Northeastern.
Today, the Wolves signed forwards Matt Boudens and Diego Cuglietta to PTOs. Boudens, who has been playing for the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets, appeared in 10 games for the Wolves last year. Cuglietta has split this season between the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies and Indy Fuel, but he has 25 AHL games on his resume with the Texas Stars.
we are the wolves
With 5:26 left in Nashville’s 7-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, Tanner Jeannot broke to the net and knocked home the rebound of a Yakov Trenin shot to earn his first NHL goal.
The 23-year-old Jeannot became the six Wolves alum to score his first NHL regular-season goal this season (joining Erik Brannstrom, Alex Carrier, Keegan Kolesar, Jake Walman and Zach Whitecloud).
Jeannot also became the 267th Wolves alum to score an NHL goal. The active leader in goals (among current or former Wolves) is Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little, who owns 217 goals in 843 regular-season games.
last two games
- Center Sean Malone knocked in a rebound of Jamieson Rees’ shot 1:43 into overtime to give the Wolves the victory at Wells Fargo Arena and reclaim the best record in the AHL.
- The Wolves fell behind 2-0, but forwards Anthony Richard, Phil Tomasino, Dominik Bokk and Sheldon Rempal reeled off four consecutive goals to build a 4-2 lead in the third.
- Goaltender Antoine Bibeau rejected 35 shots in regulation to earn the win.
- Iowa scored in the opening minute and added a pair of power-play goals in the first period to set the tone for the victory at Wells Fargo Arena.
- Forward David Cotton scored in the second period to pull the Wolves within 3-1. Forward Phil Tomasino and defenseman Joakim Ryan earned assists — the latter his first point with Chicago.
- Goaltender Connor Ingram posted 32 saves in his Wolves debut.
By the numbers
1: If the Wolves play all 33 games on their current regular-season schedule, this season will only be 43 percent as long as the normal 76-game American Hockey League slate. Nonetheless, it’s still impressive that this year’s squad is well on its way to shattering the franchise record for most goals per game. These Wolves have scored 86 goals in 20 games — a league-leading average of 4.30 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.
6: Because the Wolves have been juggling so many players from the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators organizations, equipment manager Ryan Shoufer has needed to create several new jerseys to accommodate everyone. So far, the Wolves have debuted six new numbers. Rookie forward Patrick Harper (43), defensemen Frederic Allard (46), Alex Carrier (47) and Joakim Ryan (48), rookie forward Phil Tomasino (50) and since-released rookie defenseman Matt Murphy (52) have made history this season by becoming the first to wear those numbers. Rookie forward Zach Solow, who signed with the Wolves on Monday, will become the first to wear No. 53 whenever he makes his debut. Prior to this season, the Wolves hadn’t introduced a new uniform number since Jake Chelios was given No. 42 before making his AHL debut on April 11, 2014, at Iowa.
8: When Wolves forward Tanner Jeannot scored April 7 at Rockford, it extended his goal streak to eight games. He became just the fifth American Hockey League player since the 2012-13 season to register an eight-game goal streak. He joined the company of Toronto’s Chris Mueller (Feb. 1 to March 17, 2019), Albany’s Mike Sislo (Feb. 6-24, 2016), Grand Rapids’ Teemu Pulkkinen (Dec. 19, 2014, to Jan. 7, 2015) and Charlotte’s Drayson Bowman (Oct. 19 to Nov. 4, 2012). The next time he suits up for the Wolves — which might not happen for a while because he has made an impact in the Nashville Predators’ lineup each of the last two games — he can tie Brett Sterling’s franchise record for the longest goal streak. Sterling produced 13 goals during his nine-game spree from Dec. 2 to Dec. 29, 2006. Jeannot also can tie the AHL’s longest streak over the last 11 years. Norfolk’s Tyler Johnson reeled off a nine-game goal streak March 3-24, 2002.
13: Of the 41 players to compete for the Wolves this season, 13 have played in the NHL this season as well: Frederic Allard, Alex Carrier, Jeremy Davies, Morgan Geekie, Tanner Jeannot, Tyler Lewington, Sean Malone, Max McCormick, Petr Mrazek, Rem Pitlick, Sheldon Rempal, Drew Shore and Cole Smith.
41: The Wolves have played just 20 games, but 41 players already have suited up for at least one game. That’s four more that last year’s squad needed to get through the 61 games before the pandemic brought the season to a permanent halt. This year’s group has a long way to go to set the franchise record for most players used in one season. The 2010-11 crew needed 47 players to complete an 80-game schedule. For those curious about the breakdown between the Wolves’ two NHL partners, the 15 skaters from the Nashville Predators organization have combined for 168 games of action. The 20 skaters from the Carolina Hurricanes organization (including the four signed to Wolves contracts) have combined for 192 games.The Wolves coaching staff split each game down the middle — nine skaters per organization — until injuries and recalls made that impossible. Carolina goaltending prospects have handled all but three games in net.
396: Since the Wolves started playing on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 688 players have donned the Burgundy and Gold. When defenseman Joakim Ryan made his Wolves debut on April 1 in a 4-2 win over Rockford, he became the 396th player in Wolves history who also has appeared in the NHL. Put another way, 57.6 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
|Wednesday, April 21||vs. Rockford||Wolves Training Facility||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Friday, April 23||at Cleveland||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse||6 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 24||at Cleveland||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse||3 p.m.||AHLTV|