Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Rivers Casino: the weekly report that gives you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the organization bids for its fifth league championship.
EXCITED FOR NEW YEAR’S, but let’s relive 2021 TOO
The Chicago Wolves are excited to host the first New Year’s Day home game in their 28-season history. The first 5,000 fans to enter Allstate Arena for the Chicago New Year’s Classic, presented by Planet Fitness, receive a free rally towel as we celebrate the start of 2022. You can ensure your tickets HERE.
But before the Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs meet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, to ring in the New Year, this seems like the perfect time to count down the Wolves’ Top 10 Moments of 2021.
10. On Jan. 7, three days after AHL president and CEO Scott Howson declares 28 teams will compete during a shortened 2020-21 season, the Wolves announce they have reached an agreement with the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes on a partnership for the season. The Wolves’ one-year affiliation with Nashville allows the Predators to loan players to Chicago who normally would suit up for Milwaukee.
Says Wolves owner and chairman Don Levin: “We have great admiration and respect for (Nashville president of hockey operations and general manager) David Poile and Milwaukee owner Harris Turer. The Admirals can’t play this year for reasons beyond their control, so we want to help people we respect and who are our partners. We’re going to combine the best available players from both sides and have a really good team.”
9. On Feb. 11, teenager Seth Jarvis celebrates the fourth game of his pro career by scoring in his fourth consecutive game to highlight Chicago’s 4-2 win over Grand Rapids. Carolina’s 2020 first-round draft pick becomes the first player in Wolves history to score in each of the team’s first four games.
8. On Dec. 9, veteran forward Josh Leivo scores two goals and hands out three assists during the Wolves’ 8-4 win at Texas. Leivo becomes the 12th player in Wolves history to produce at least 5 points in one game.
7. On Feb. 20, the Wolves score four times in the opening 7:26 and extend their lead to 9-0 by the 12:27 mark of the second period on the way to a 10-2 victory over the Iowa Wild. Chicago hits double digits for the first time since Dec. 15, 2007. Morgan Geekie, loaned to the Wolves that weekend, scores 19 seconds into the game, adds another goal early in the second period and produces two more goals the next day against Iowa. Geekie needs just four shots for those four goals and earns American Hockey League Player of the Week honors. The second win over Iowa sets the franchise record for fastest start at 7-0-0-0.
6. On Halloween, captain Andrew Poturalski and forward C.J. Smith score 5 points apiece to lead the Wolves to a 6-3 victory at Grand Rapids — just the third time in 2,330 Wolves games that multiple players score 5 points in the same contest. The next day, Poturalski wins the AHL’s Player of the Week and Player of the Month awards.
5. On Oct. 2 in Rogers Park, the Wolves co-host their seventh and final Chicago Pet Health Fair of the summer. Their tour of neighborhoods throughout the city provides free vaccinations, microchips and other health benefits for 2,649 local dogs and cats.
4. On Nov. 26, the Wolves enter the third period trailing 3-0 at Grand Rapids, but they reel off five unanswered goals to earn a 5-3 win. It’s the first time in franchise history the Wolves rally from a three-goal deficit in the third period to win in regulation. Andrew Poturalski ties a team record with 4 points (G, 3A) in the period as Chicago starts its current 12-game winning streak.
3. On Dec. 16, Josh Leivo scores with 1.1 seconds left on the clock to cap a rally from a 3-1 deficit and give the Wolves a 4-3 victory over Manitoba. The joyous buzzer-beater extends Chicago’s winning streak to 10 games.
2. On May 12, David Cotton produces his first career hat trick and Beck Warm rejects 35 shots for his second career shutout as the Wolves win 7-0 at Grand Rapids to clinch the organization’s fourth Central Division title in the last five years.
1. On Dec. 18 before a festive home crowd on Superhero Night at Allstate Arena, the Wolves shrug off the absence of their top five scorers (all of them playing for the Carolina Hurricanes) and deliver a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals that extends their winning streak to a franchise-record-tying 12 games. David Cotton (see No. 2 on the countdown) delivers the game-winning goal late in the second period.
PAPA JOHNS SUNDAY
The Chicago New Year’s Classic, presented by Planet Fitness, isn’t the Wolves’ only family-friendly event this weekend. The Wolves host Grand Rapids at 3 p.m. Sunday for Papa Johns Family Sunday, which features all sorts of family-fun activities on the main concourse throughout the afternoon.
There’s an added bonus this Sunday: third-ranked New Trier Green plays fourth-ranked York immediately after the game in the New Year’s Wolves Cup. One ticket gets you access to both games.
The Wolves captain achieved one of his goals for this season when the Carolina Hurricanes recalled him from loan and he scored his first two NHL points on Dec. 16 and 18. Though Poturalski was away from the Wolves for three games, he remains the runaway leader in AHL scoring as he owns 34 points — 12 goals and a league-best 22 assists — in 23 games.
Smith was among the seven Wolves who earned time with Carolina during December and helped the Canes defeat Los Angeles 5-1 on Dec. 18. Smith deserved his recall as he ranks second among AHL scorers with 28 points (10 goals and 18 assists). He posted his second career hat trick Dec. 9 and became the 11th player in Wolves history to score 5 points in a game Oct. 31.
After spending his first five professional seasons in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, Lyon has taken off during his first year in this organization. He has won six starts in a row to push his record to 9-1-1. He owns the AHL’s second-best goals-against average (1.79) and the third-best save percentage (.929). He also won a game for Carolina (NHL) on Nov. 13.
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 22, AND THURSDAY, DEC. 23: CHICAGO AT CLEVELAND
- Postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Makeup dates have not been set.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Friday, Dec. 31||at Rockford||6 p.m.||MetroCentre||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 1||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, Jan. 2||vs. Grand Rapids||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
|Friday, Jan. 7||at Rockford||7 p.m.||MetroCentre||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 8||vs. Iowa||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.