CHICAGO WOLVES (26-7-4-2)
AT MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (20-19-2-2)
One team had the AHL’s leader in goals-against average in its net. The other team had the American Hockey League’s reigning Player of the Week in its net. So it wasn’t a surprise Friday night’s game between the Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals at Panther Arena ended with a 1-0 verdict.
The Wolves’ Alex Lyon (19 saves) outdueled the Admirals’ Connor Ingram (27 saves) to earn his third shutout of the year and reduce his league-leading GAA to 1.92. Ingram, who entered the game riding two consecutive shutouts, was the hard-luck loser as CJ Smith’s first-period goal snapped his scoreless streak at 191 minutes and 49 seconds.
That’s already a lot of talk about shutouts, but there’s plenty more where that came from:
1) For the first time in Wolves history, they have played back-to-back games ending in a 1-0 final score. Last Saturday, the Rockford IceHogs edged the Wolves 1-0 in a shootout at Allstate Arena.
2) When a 0-0 game goes to a shootout, both goaltenders are credited with a shutout. Therefore, the Wolves have produced back-to-back shutouts for just the fifth time in franchise history. Rookie Jack LaFontaine stopped 16 of 16 shots in regulation and overtime last Saturday against the IceHogs to earn his first professional shutout in his fourth pro appearance.
3) Jordan Binnington, who went on backstop the St. Louis Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup championship, is responsible for the Wolves’ last back-to-back shutouts. Binnington won 4-0 on March 11, 2017, at Milwaukee, then followed that with a 1-0 shootout win over Texas on March 15 at Allstate Arena.
4) The Wolves lead the AHL with 7 shutouts: 3 by Lyon, 2 by Eetu Makiniemi, 1 by LaFontaine and 1 by Daniel Mannella. The franchise single-season record is 9, set by the 1999-2000 squad that featured now-general manager Wendell Young. The AHL single-season record is 17, which is shared by the 2003-04 Hartford Wolf Pack and 2003-04 Portland Pirates.
5) With their back-to-back shutouts, the Wolves have dropped their goals-against average to 2.38 for the year. That enabled them to overtake the Stockton Heat for the No. 1 spot on the AHL’s Goals Against list. Stockton’s late-night 2-1 win at Abbotsford pushed its GAA to 2.41. Former Wolves forward Sheldon Rempal scored with 2:52 left in regulation for the Canucks to make the Heat’s GAA rise.
NO SHOOTING YOUR SHOT
The Milwaukee Admirals launched 19 shots Friday night — and they shouldn’t hang their heads. It’s the highest total against the Wolves in their last four games as Chicago has given up 17, 16, 17 and 19 since Jan. 26.
The Admirals also should take something away from losing the shots battle by just 9 (28-19) Friday. In the Wolves’ previous six games, they had outshot each of their foes by at least 12 and their total shot advantage had been 238-118.
we are the wolves
One year ago today, the Chicago Wolves opened the 2020-21 regular season under unprecedented conditions: As partners with the Carolina Hurricanes AND Nashville Predators because the Milwaukee Admirals could not field a team.
The Wolves suited up 10 players affiliated with the Hurricanes and 10 players affiliated with the Predators as they knocked off the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-1 at the Wolves Training Facility in Hoffman Estates.
Tommy Novak, Seth Jarvis and Cavan Fitzgerald scored goals while Antoine Bibeau earned the win.
LAST TWO GAMES
- The Wolves snapped Milwaukee goaltender Connor Ingram’s scoreless streak at 191 minutes, 49 seconds to claim their seventh win in as many tries against the Admirals this season.
- Forward CJ Smith delivered the streak-busting goal at 12:18 of the first and was assisted by defenseman Jalen Chatfield and center Jack Drury.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 19 shots to earn his third shutout of the season..
- For just the eighth time in Wolves history, a scoreless game was decided by a shootout. Michal Teply and Lukas Reichel tallied in the first two rounds to give Rockford the extra point.
- Forward Stefan Noesen scored in the shootout’s first round while Jack Drury fired a game-high 5 shots as the Wolves launched 36 shots to the IceHogs’ 16.
- Goaltender Jack LaFontaine earned his first pro shutout with 16 saves over 65 minutes.
By the numbers
2: The Wolves’ blue line became even stronger Friday night as defensemen Joey Keane and Cavan Fitzgerald returned from injury. Fitzgerald, who leads all Wolves defensemen with a +13 plus-minus rating, played for the first time since Jan. 14 as he missed seven games due to injury. Keane, who leads all Wolves defensemen in points with 16 (3G, 13A) returned after missing two games due to an injury he suffered early Jan. 26 against Texas.
4: Rookie goaltender Jack LaFontaine, making his fourth appearance as a professional, recorded his first shutout last Saturday night and joined an exclusive but weird club at the same time. You see, LaFontaine got the shutout but not the win as the Wolves dropped a 1-0 decision in a shootout to Rockford. LaFontaine joined the company of Wendell Young (Nov. 11, 2000), Manny Legace (Oct. 23, 2009) and Jake Allen (April 1, 2014) as Wolves goaltenders who’ve earned a shutout without also getting a win. LaFontaine has made two starts for the Wolves since being loaned by the Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) on Jan. 24. He owns an 0-0-2 record with an 0.94 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
9.69: The Wolves are gunning to become the first AHL team since the 2007-08 Providence Bruins to lead the league in Shots For (35.18) and Shots Against (25.49) in the same season. Their shots differential per game (9.69) stacks up as the best in the league since the 2001-02 Saint John Flames’ 11.51 shots advantage. The Wolves won just one Shots For title in their first 27 seasons and have yet to lead a league in Shots Against.
15: The Olympics men’s hockey tournament begins Wednesday in Beijing and the Wolves will be well-represented with 15 former players listed on the active 25-man rosters: forward Tyler Wong and defenseman Jake Chelios (China); defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser (Germany), forward Sergey Andronov (Russian Olympic Committee), forwards Daniel Carr, Adam Cracknell, Landon Ferraro and Eric O’Dell and goaltender Edward Pasquale (Canada), forward Kenny Agostino and defenseman David Warsofsky (USA), forward Tomas Hyka (Czech Republic), defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (Finland) and forward Nicklas Jensen (Denmark). In addition, former captain and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner will serve as an assistant for Team Canada while ex-defenseman Morgan Ellis stands at the ready on Canada’s taxi squad.
20: For the first time in a while, Wolves forwards Andrew Poturalski and Stefan Noesen don’t have the AHL’s goal-scoring lead all to themselves. Ontario’s Martin Frk scored his 20th goal Friday night to pull into a tie with Poturalski and Noesen, Poturalski still holds the AHL’s scoring lead with 51 points (20G, 31A), but former Wolves center T.J. Tynan has moved the closest he has been in months with 48 points.
31: The Wolves’ penalty-kill units have defused their opponents’ last 31 power plays dating back to the 9:44 mark of second period of their Jan. 9 home win over Cleveland, which means it has been a franchise-record 640 minutes and 48 seconds since the last time Chicago allowed a power-play goal.
417: Since the Wolves played their first game on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 720 players have suited up for Chicago. Goaltender Jack LaFontaine became No. 720 when he made his Wolves debut Jan. 26, but he also became the 417th player to compete for the Wolves and in the greatest league in the world. Put another way, 57.9 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Tuesday, Feb. 8||at Cleveland||6 p.m.||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse||AHLTV|
|Friday, Feb. 11||at Rockford||7 p.m.||MetroCentre||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Feb. 12||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Tuesday, Feb. 15||vs. Milwaukee||11 a.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Feb. 19||vs. Iowa||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.