CHICAGO WOLVES (16-5-1-2) AT GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS (12-7-3-0)
THE THRILLING CONCLUSION
One of the longest road trips in Chicago Wolves history comes to an end tonight at Grand Rapids. Today’s clash marks the eighth consecutive road game for the Wolves — a stretch that began April 7 in Rockford and featured a handful of postponements and reschedules due to COVID-19 protocols.
Prior to this season, the Wolves have negotiated three nine-game road trips and four eight-game road stretches, but they’ve never gone so long without a home game. When Chicago hosts the Iowa Wild on Friday night, it will serve as the first home game since April 3 — a record 27 days away from home ice.
|GAMES||ROAD TRIP DATES||RECORD||DAYS BETWEEN HOME GAMES|
|9||Nov. 5-22, 1996||3-6-0-0||21|
|9||Jan. 23-Feb. 10, 2007||5-1-1-2||21|
|9||Nov. 2-21, 2014||5-3-1-0||21|
|8||Oct. 27-Nov. 16, 2001||2-4-2-0||22|
|8||Jan. 18-Feb. 1, 2003||3-3-2-0||21|
|8||Nov. 7-22, 2003||4-1-2-1||24|
|8||Nov. 5-17, 2010||1-7-0-0||21|
The Wolves enjoyed the most complete performance of their road trip Monday night when they raced out to a 3-0 first-period lead on the way to a 5-1 victory over the Griffins at Van Andel Arena.
Chicago converted on a pair of 5-on-3 power-play opportunities — the team’s first of the season — and added another power-play tally to finish with 3 power-play goals for the second time this season (the first being the 6-2 win on March 14 at Iowa. The Wolves hadn’t enjoyed 8 power-play chances in one contest since Nov. 17, 2018 — a stretch of 146 regular-season games and 22 Calder Cup Playoff games.
Forwards Anthony Richard and Tommy Novak each produced two goals, which marked the 13th and 14th times a Wolves player has delivered two-goal efforts. Richard joined Rem Pitlick, Morgan Geekie and rookies David Cotton and Jamieson Rees on the list of Wolves who have enjoyed a pair of two-goal outings this season.
ONE AWAY FROM 100
With a franchise-record-tying six men sharing the crease over the first 24 games, it has been hard for any Chicago Wolves goaltender to enjoy steady work this season. This is another way of saying it’s hard to predict when Opening Night starter Antoine Bibeau will get his next chance to play, but he’ll be shooting for AHL win No. 100 whenever that time comes. He earned No. 99 Monday night with 23 saves on 24 shots.
we are the wolves
Twenty-five years ago today, future Wolves teammates Wendell Young and Stephane Beauregard engaged in a terrific goaltending duel as Chicago attempted to knock the San Francisco Spiders out of the 1996 Turner Cup Playoffs in Game 4 of their best-of-five series.
Beauregard posted 48 saves on San Francisco’s behalf — and both teams combined to kill as 12 power-play opportunities — but the Wolves clinched the series and advanced to the next round when 21-year-old rookie defenseman Kevin Pozzo scored 1:53 into overtime to earn the 2-1 victory at Allstate Arena.
Pozzo earned First Star of the Game honors while Young, who posted 37 saves, was named Second Star.
last two games
- Rookie forward Phil Tomasino scored 2:05 into the game to set the tone and the Wolves added three power-play goals to wrap up their 3-in-3 with a convincing win at Grand Rapids.
- Forwards Anthony Richard and Tommy Novak scored two goals apiece (each scoring once in a 5-on-3 situation) while defensemen Joey Keane and Max Lajoie posted two assists each.
- Goaltender Antoine Bibeau posted 23 saves to earn the win.
- Rookie forward Tyler Angle scored two goals for the second day in a row to steer Cleveland to the weekend sweep over the Wolves.
- Defenseman Max Lajoie and forward Anthony Richard scored goals for Chicago while rookie center Zach Solow earned his first pro assist.
- Goaltender Connor Ingram stopped 19 of 22 shots.
By the numbers
1: For almost the entire season, the Wolves have ranked No. 1 in the American Hockey League in scoring. Chicago owns 100 goals in 24 games, which works out to 4.17 goals per game and stands .27 goals ahead of second-place Cleveland. The Wolves need to score 37 goals over their final nine games in order to break 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.
6: When the Wolves played Saturday, it kicked off a stretch where they’re scheduled to play six games in an eight-day stretch. This marks the first time since the 2004-05 sesaon that a Wolves squad has been asked to do this. From Nov. 24 to Dec. 1, the Wolves posted a 4-1-1 record as they hosted two games and traveled to Grand Rapids, San Antonio and Utah. Kari Lehtonen backstopped four of the six games as the Wolves built their way to the 2005 Calder Cup Finals.
8: Forward Tanner Jeannot scored Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers to run his totals to 3 goals and 1 assist in 9 games since being recalled by Nashville (NHL). Jeannot has built on the hot streak he constructed with the Wolves. The 23-year-old holds an eight-game goal streak that’s the longest in the AHL this year. If Jeannot suits up for the Wolves again, which doesn’t seem likely at this point, he can tie Brett Sterling’s franchise record for the longest goal streak (nine games). 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. Perhaps most important: The Wolves own a 12-1-0-0 record with Jeannot in the lineup, but 4-4-1-2 when he’s not.
15: Defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald and rookie forward Phil Tomasino are tied for eighth in the AHL in plus/minus rating (+15). Tomasino shares third among all rookies in plus/minus while Fitzgerald shares fourth among all blueliners.
44: The Wolves have played just 24 games, but 44 players already have suited up for at least one game. 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. The only player on the roster who has yet to see action is rookie defenseman Marc Del Gaizo, who just won a national championship with UMass-Amherst. He signed an amateur tryout contract (ATO) with the Wolves last week, but didn’t clear COVID-19 quarantine until this week.
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, 57.3 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
|Friday, April 30||vs. Iowa||Wolves Training Facility||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Saturday, May 1||vs. Iowa||Wolves Training Facility||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Friday, May 7||at Grand Rapids||Wolves Training Facility||6 p.m.||AHLTV|