CHICAGO WOLVES (15-4-0-2) AT CLEVELAND MONSTERS (11-7-1-0)
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
After playing four games on the road at Rockford and Iowa, the Chicago Wolves thought they would get a respite with a home game against the IceHogs on Wednesday night. Once that contest was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the Wolves find themselves back on the road for four more.
If the Wolves get to play all four games (no sure thing in the pandemic), then this eight-game run will mark the franchise’s longest stretch of consecutive road games since the 2014-15 season. That’s when head coach John Anderson’s crew visited Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Iowa, Utica, Rochester and Adirondack Nov. 2-21 and posted a 5-3-1 record.
This weekend’s trip offers the Central Division-leading Wolves a chance to turn the tables on the Monsters. When Cleveland visited the Wolves Training Facility on March 5-6, the Wolves owned an 8-1-0-0 record before suffering a 4-3 shootout loss and a 3-1 defeat to the Monsters.
The Wolves’ offensive attack has been bolstered by the return of 19-year-old forward Phil Tomasino (7 goals, 13 assists), who has rejoined the team after a week on the Nashville Predators’ taxi squad. He ranks third among all AHL rookies in scoring.
ALL THAT HAVING BEEN SAID…
The Wolves are in the midst of their roughest defensive stretch of the year as measured by goals allowed. Chicago has surrendered four goals in each of its last four games — all of them on the road.
However, it’s helpful to provide some context with regards to these 16 goals. Four have come with opponents on the power play, yet the Wolves have killed 80 percent of their short-handed situations (16 of 20). Two came in the waning minutes when the other team, trailing by one, pulled its goaltender to add an extra attacker and set up a 6-on-5 advantage. One was added to the overall total when Rockford won Saturday night’s shootout.
That leaves just nine goals in 5-on-5 situations. The Wolves, meanwhile, scored eight goals at even strength over the same stretch.
…a STRENUOUS STRETCH AHEAD
Over the first 78 days of this unique 2021 season, the Wolves played 21 games — an average of just 2.15 games per eight days. That sounds like a stroll in the park compared to what’s ahead over the next eight days.
Today’s game marks the first of six between now and May 1 — far and away the most jam-packed portion of the Wolves’ 2021 schedule. What spawned this? A pair of postponed games against Grand Rapids. Neither the April 26 nor the April 29 date with the Griffins was on the original schedule — and the latter contest has been postponed three times.
we are the wolves
Twenty-five years and four days ago, the Chicago Wolves earned their first playoff victory with a 4-1 decision over the San Francisco Spiders at the Cow Palace.
Rob Brown earned First Star honors on April 20, 1996, as he assisted on all four Wolves goals during Game 2 of the International Hockey League’s Western Conference Quarterfinal.
Dan Currie took Second Star honors with a pair of goals while Steve Maltais and Tim Breslin each contributed one goal and one assist. Wendell Young picked up the win in goal with a 23-save performance.
After three days off to travel home, the Wolves earned their first playoff win in Rosemont 25 years ago today.
Young rejected 37 shots (and earned an assist) in Chicago’s 3-1 victory while Breslin, Brown and Currie produced the goals.
last two games
- Rockford’s Tim Soderlund and Brandon Pirri scored in the first two rounds in the shootout to give the IceHogs the extra point on their home ice.
- Rookie forward Cole Smith earned his first professional two-goal game while rookie forward David Cotton added a goal and defenseman David Warsofsky handed out two assists.
- Goaltender Connor Ingram stopped 37 shots during regulation and overtime.
- 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.
By the numbers
1: For almost the entire season, the Wolves have ranked No. 1 in the American Hockey League in scoring. Chicago owns 89 goals in 21 games, which works out to 4.24 goals per game. The Cleveland Monsters, whom the Wolves face twice this weekend, have surged recently and stand second with 3.84 goals per game. If the Wolves maintain their scoring pace for their final 12 regular-season games, they’ll shatter the franchise record for goals per game. 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.
8: Prior to this season, the Wolves hadn’t introduced a new uniform number since the 2013-14 season: when Jake Chelios was given No. 42 before making his AHL debut on April 11, 2014, at Iowa. But this year has featured so many different players coming through the Wolves organization — a combination of COVID-19 protocols and the Wolves serving as partners with the Carolina Hurricanes AND Nashville Predators — equipment manager Ryan Shoufer has worked overtime to accommodate everyone. So far, the Wolves have debuted eight new jersey numbers. The latest came Saturday when rookie forward Zach Solow wore 53 and PTO signee Diego Cuglietta donned 54. They joined rookie forward Patrick Harper (43), defensemen Frederic Allard (46), Alex Carrier (47) and Joakim Ryan (48), rookie forward Phil Tomasino (50) and rookie defenseman Matt Murphy (52) in making Wolves history.
11: Defenseman David Warsofsky handed out two assists in last Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss at Rockford, which gave him 11 assists in 11 games this season. He’s the only defenseman who’s averaging at least 1 assist per game this season (minimum 10 assists). If we dropped that minimum to 9, then he’d be joined on the list by former Wolves defenseman Jeremy Davies, who rang up 9 assists in 9 games before being recalled by the Nashville Predators, for whom he has contributed 1 assist and a +1 plus/minus rating in his first 15 NHL games.
12: Forward Tanner Jeannot scored Monday night against the Chicago Blackhawks to earn his second NHL goal in five games since being recalled by Nashville (NHL). In essence, Jeannot has maintained the hot streak he built with the Wolves. The 23-year-old holds a 12-game point streak (10G, 11A), which ranks as the longest active streak in the AHL. Jeannot also owns the AHL’s fifth eight-game goal streak since the 2012-13 season. If Jeannot suits up for the Wolves again, 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 nine years. Norfolk’s Tyler Johnson reeled off a nine-game goal streak March 3-24, 2012.
44: The Wolves have played just 21 games, but 44 players already have suited up for at least one game as head coach Ryan Warsofsky trotted out three new players (forwards Matt Boudens, Diego Cuglietta and Zach Solow) during last Saturday’s game at Rockford. This year’s squad is getting close to setting the franchise record for most players used in one season. The 2010-11 crew needed 47 players to complete an 80-game schedule.
396: Since the Wolves organization played its first game on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 691 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.
|Sunday, April 25||at Cleveland||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse||3 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Monday, April 26||at Grand Rapids||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Thursday, April 26||at Grand Rapids||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m.||AHLTV|