MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (3-4-0-0)
AT CHICAGO WOLVES (5-2-0-0)
FELT LIKE THE FIRST TIME
A few hours before Daylight Saving Time came to an end, the Chicago Wolves flashed back to a time that hadn’t existed this season. During the Wolves’ 5-1 home loss to the Manitoba Moose, the team did several things it had not done while breaking out to a 5-1-0-0 start.
For the first time this season, the Wolves did not score the game’s first goal. For the first time, they did not score at least 3 goals in the game. For the first time, they did not fire at least 30 shots (finishing with 23). For the first time, they trailed at first intermission. For the first time, they trailed by at least 3 goals. For the first time, they did not score a power-play goal. You get the idea.
While Saturday stacked up as the Wolves’ most frustrating game of the year, it also served as a reminder just how consistent the team had been through the first three weekends of the season. Now it’s just a matter of remembering how they achieved that consistency. Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky, for example, suggested a sluggish Friday practice led to Saturday’s result.
“That will translate,” Warsofsky said. “We talked about it on Day 1: Everything is contagious, positive or negative. If we have a negative practice and it goes into the dressing room, it’s probably going to translate into hockey Saturday and we just saw that. We need to learn from that. For the most part, our practices have been pretty good. The old saying, ‘Oh, I’m a gamer,’ I just don’t believe in it. You need to have good habits in practice. You need to be ready and prepared for practice so when you get into the game, your body’s ready. You know what to expect.”
Obviously there’s no time to practice before today’s clash with a rejuvenated Milwaukee Admirals team that already owns home wins over the Manitoba Moose and the Iowa Wild this weekend. Milwaukee has been bolstered by the arrival of goaltender Connor Ingram from Nashville (NHL) as well as captain Cole Schneider’s return from injury. He put up a hat trick in Saturday’s 5-2 win over Iowa.
BAD INJURY TIMING
Head coach Ryan Warsofsky has been rotating goaltenders Alex Lyon and Eetu Makiniemi all season, which meant it was Lyon’s turn to start Saturday night against Manitoba. Lyon prepared to be the starter and went through warmups as the starter.
But moments before the introduction of the starting lineups, Makiniemi learned he needed to make the start. Why? Because Carolina (NHL) backup goaltender Antti Raanta suffered an injury Saturday night at Florida, so Lyon needed to scratch in case the Hurricanes needed to recall him from loan to the Wolves. The swift switch became a learning experience for Makiniemi, who gave up three goals in the first period after allowing just three goals in his first three games (all wins).
“He comes into a tough spot,” Warsofsky said. “It’s not really on him. He’s a really good goalie. He’s going to start (Sunday) and we have full faith in him.”
we are the wolves
When Wolves center Andrew Poturalski earned the AHL Player of the Week award at noon Monday, he became the 18th Wolves player to receive the award since Chicago joined the league prior to the 2001-02 season. Morgan Geekie was the last one to be so honored on Feb. 21 this year. Darren Haydar and Jason Krog are the only Wolves to win the award twice. At 2 p.m. Monday, Poturalski became the fifth in team history to be honored as AHL Player of the Month. He joined a group that consisted of Kenny Agostino, Brandon Pirri, Daniel Carr and Rem Pitlick.
LAST TWO GAMES
- The Moose scored three unanswered goals in the first period and the Wolves couldn’t catch up as their five-game winning streak came to a close at Allstate Arena.
- Defenseman Jalen Chatfield scored the Wolves’ lone goal to pull the hosts within 3-1 just 1:07 into the second. Forwards Josh Leivo and David Gust earned the assists.
- Goaltender Eetu Makiniemi stopped 25 of 29 shots.
- Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski produced his first professional hat trick and added two assists as Chicago never trailed while claiming its fifth consecutive win.
- Forward C.J. Smith also notched five points with one goal and four assists while forward Stefan Noesen handed out three assists and defensemen Joey Keane and Jalen Chatfield added goals.
- Goaltender Eetu Makiniemi posted 24 saves to maintain his perfect record in his rookie year.
By the numbers
1: The Wolves will debut their “Storm” alternate jerseys in today’s game. The sharp new alternates are primarily Storm Grey and also feature the team’s new alternate “W” logo as the shoulder patch. The Wolves also make their first appearance on NHL Network this season. Expect at least eight games on the NHL Network, including next Sunday’s home game.
2: Captain Andrew Poturalski earned two awards Monday: The AHL’s Player of the Week nod for Oct. 25-31 because he piled up four goals and five assists in three games — and the AHL’s Player of the Month honor for October for producing a league-leading 14 points (5G, 9A) in six games. Poturalski became the second Wolves player to win the Player of the Week and Player of the Month at the same time. He joined Kenny Agostino, who pulled the double on Jan. 1, 2017. Agostino went on to claim the AHL’s Most Valuable Player award.
3: When Andrew Poturalski (3G, 2A) and C.J. Smith (1G, 4A) each put up five points in last Sunday’s 6-3 win at Grand Rapids, it marked just the third time in the Wolves’ 2,331 games that at least two Wolves scored five points in the same game. Rob Brown (2G, 6A), Dan Currie (4G, 1A) and Steve Maltais (2G, 3A) achieved the feat during a 10-3 win over the Kansas City Blades on March 24, 1996, then Jason Krog (3G, 4A) and Brett Sterling (2G, 3A) made it happen Nov. 4, 2006, in a 10-5 win at Peoria.
5: When Andrew Poturalski and C.J. Smith unleashed their five-point efforts last Sunday at Grand Rapids, they became the 10th and 11th Wolves to produce a five-point game. Steve Maltais and Rob Brown posted five such games while Jason Krog notched four. Dan Currie and Cory Larose each achieved the feat twice while Lonny Bohonos, Brooks Macek, Spencer Machacek and Brett Sterling each did it once.
8.29: Last year, the Wolves ranked third among the AHL’s 28 teams in penalty minutes with an average of 16.03 PIMS per game. But this year, the Wolves are the most gentlemanly team in the AHL. Chicago served just 58 penalty minutes in its first seven games as the squad has been assessed 29 minors and no majors. The 8.29 penalty minutes per game lags way behind league-leading Toronto, which averages 23.11 penalty minutes per tilt.
30: With goaltender Alex Lyon expected to head to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, goaltender Beck Warm should be reassigned from Norfolk (ECHL) to the Wolves and put on his No. 30 jersey for the first time during this regular season. It’s a sign of Chicago’s strength in goal that the 22-year-old Warm, who was named the Central Division;s All-Star goaltender last season, has spent the year to date with the Admirals. Warm has produced a 4-1-0 record with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in five appearances for Norfolk. Last year for the Wolves, the Whistler, British Columbia, native notched an 8-4-1 record with a 2.74 GAA, a .914 save percentage and 2 shutouts.
412: Since the Wolves organization played its first game on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 706 players have suited up for Chicago. Forward Kyle Marino was the latest to make his debut when he played last Sunday at Grand Rapids. When 19-year-old forward Seth Jarvis made his debut with the Carolina Hurricanes on Halloween (he scored his first goal Wednesday against the Blackhawks) he became the 412th current or former Wolves player to compete in the greatest league in the world. Put another way, 58.4 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Friday, Nov. 12
|Saturday, Nov. 13
|Sunday, Nov. 14
|Wednesday, Nov. 17
|at Grand Rapids
|Van Andel Arena
|Friday, Nov. 19
All games are streamed on AHLTV.