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.
FOURTEEN OUT OF 15 AIN’t BAD
The Chicago Wolves have played just 29 games this season, but they’ve already delivered enough historical achievements to fill five seasons. That doesn’t even count the fact the Wolves have won 14 of their last 15 games.
As the Wolves prepare for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home game against the Grand Rapids Griffins — their last game at Allstate Arena until Jan. 26 — let’s take a look at some of their finer accomplishments to date.
1) The Wolves’ 22-5-1-1 record stands as the best start in franchise history, which means something a little extra for an organization that has won four league championships and reached three other Finals. Chicago’s .793 points percentage paces the 16-team Western Conference and ranks No. 2 among all 31 AHL teams. If the Wolves win Wednesday and the Utica Comets (19-3-3-0) lose, then the Wolves will own the league’s best record.
2) The Wolves’ 12-game winning streak from Nov. 26 to Dec. 18 tied the franchise record set in 1999-2000 by the John Anderson-coached squad that hoisted the 2000 Turner Cup.
3) The Wolves are firing a league-high 34.86 shots per game. If they maintain this pace the rest of the year, it would set a franchise record and could mark just the second time they’ve led the league in shots.
4) When the Wolves limited Cleveland to ZERO shots in Sunday’s third period, it was just the second time the organization has achieved that feat. On Nov. 18, 2005, the Wolves blanked the Peoria Rivermen on the way to a 4-3 shootout win.
5) The Wolves boast three of the league’s top eight scorers in center Andrew Poturalski (a league-leading 40 points in 26 games), left wing C.J. Smith (tied for fourth with 30 points in 27 games) and right wing Stefan Noesen (tied for seventh with 29 points in 23 games). Perhaps more impressively, head coach Ryan Warsofsky wasn’t afraid to tinker with his uber-successful top line over the weekend. He gave left wing Sam Miletic a shot Saturday and he responded with his first 3-point effort (G, 2A) since April 7, 2019. Miletic earned a return nod Sunday and he teamed up with Noesen and Poturalski to set up the game-tying goal in the third.
CRAFT BEER NIGHTS
Each of the next three Chicago Wolves’ home games are Craft Beer Nights. Get to Allstate on Jan. 12, Jan. 26 or Jan. 28 and enjoy the Craft Beer Package that features one game ticket, three craft beers and one exclusive Craft Beer Night T-shirt for one low price! To get your Craft Beer Package today, either click here or email a Wolves ticket representative directly at WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.
OFFICIAL MAKEUP DATES
The Chicago New Year’s Classic presented by Planet Fitness, which was slated for Jan. 1 at Allstate Arena, has been shifted to Tuesday, April 19, and will be broadcast by My50 Chicago. The Jan. 2 home game versus the Grand Rapids Griffins has been moved to Thursday, April 28.
All tickets for Jan. 1 and 2 will be honored on their new dates, but the Wolves will make accommodations for anyone who cannot attend their rescheduled games. Fans who want to pick a new date for their tickets should contact their Wolves ticket representative or email a request to WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.
SAVE THE DATE FOR THESE 2022 GIVEAWAYS
Who’s ready to grab a great giveaway at a Wolves game? Circle your calendars for March 5 and April 9. On Saturday, March 5, it’s Wolves Snow Globe Giveaway Night courtesy of Jewel. Don’t forget to bring your blades for the free postgame skate, presented by Chicagoland Jiffy Lube. On Saturday, April 9, get to Allstate Arena early for the Wolves Goalie Mask Bank Giveaway, courtesy of My50 Chicago.
The Wolves captain stacked up three points (G, 2A) in Saturday’s win over Iowa, then repeated the feat during Sunday’s victory over Cleveland. That means Poturalski owns 15 goals and 25 assists in 26 games this season. His 40 points are nine more than his closest AHL pursuer while he shares the assist lead with former Wolves standout T.J. Tynan.
In his last five games for the Wolves, Noesen owns 7 goals, 3 assists and 3 game-winning goals. The Texas-born forward’s latest game-winner came Sunday when he delivered the go-ahead power-play goal at 9:53 of the third period to beat Cleveland. Noesen’s 5 game-winning goals lead the AHL and he ranks seventh in points with 13 goals and 16 assists in 23 games.
One of four goaltenders the Wolves signed in 48 hours to address an avalanche of injuries and an NHL recall, Mannella flew in Saturday morning after playing Friday night for the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers in Texas. He stopped all 16 shots in his AHL debut Saturday night in relief, then he made his first start Sunday afternoon and earned his first win with 24 saves in 27 shots.
SUNDAY, JAN. 9: (AT) CHICAGO 4, CLEVELAND 3
- Trailing by one entering the third, the Wolves received goals from Stefan Noesen and Andrew Poturalski while holding the Monsters without a shot in the final period.
- Center Jack Drury and defenseman Artyom Serikov also scored goals while Poturalski (G, 2A) and Noesen (G, A) scored multiple points for the second day in a row.
- Goaltender Daniel Mannella stopped 24 shots to earn his first AHL win in his first AHL start.
SATURDAY, JAN. 8: (AT) CHICAGO 6, IOWA 2
- Led by Stefan Noesen’s two goals and one assist, the Wolves stacked up five goals in the opening 32 minutes to register their 13th win in the last 14 games.
- Captain Andrew Poturalski also notched two goals and one assist, Sam Miletic scored a season-high 3 points (G, 2A) and rookie Ivan Lodnia produced his first North American professional goal.
- Goaltender Michael Lackey notched 11 saves in the first 28 minutes to pick up his first AHL win and Daniel Mannella stopped 16 of 16 shots in relief to highlight his AHL debut.
FRIDAY, JAN. 7: (AT) ROCKFORD 8, CHICAGO 0
- Playing for the first time in 20 days, the Wolves were shut out for the first time in 719 days as their franchise-record-tying 12-game winning streak came to a close.
- Rockford goaltender Collin Delia, who had posted the previous Wolves shutout on Jan. 19, 2020, rejected 30 shots to pick up his first shutout of the season.
- Goaltender Michael Lackey, signed to a PTO that afternoon, stopped 27 shots in his AHL debut.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Wednesday, Jan. 12||vs. Grand Rapids||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Friday, Jan. 14||at Iowa||6 p.m.||Wells Fargo Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 15||at Iowa||6 p.m.||Wells Fargo Arena||AHLTV|
|Monday, Jan. 17||at Rockford||1 p.m.||MetroCentre||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 22||at Manitoba||2 p.m.||Canada Life Centre||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.