Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Rivers Casino: the weekly report that gives you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the organization battles for its fifth league championship.
WE’VE BEEN USING THE FORCE
As the Chicago Wolves prepare for Saturday’s Star Wars Night clash with the Rockford IceHogs at Allstate Arena (tickets and special laser sword packages are available here), it’s a great time to turn the spotlight on a group that has been using the Force for nearly a full month straight: The Wolves’ penalty-kill units.
On Jan. 9, the Wolves allowed the Cleveland Monsters to score a power-play goal in what turned out to be a 4-3 Wolves win. Since that day, the Wolves have not given up a single power-play goal in any of their subsequent 11 games. That’s an absurd number that nearly has doubled the previous franchise record of six games without allowing a power-play goal.
Heading into Tuesday’s road game at Cleveland, the Wolves have gone 700 minutes and 48 seconds without giving up a PPG as they have killed 31 consecutive shorthanded situations. Assistant coach Patrick Dwyer, who spent his share of time on the penalty kill during his seven seasons with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, oversees the Wolves’ penalty-kill units.
“Everybody has bought into it,” Dwyer said. “You don’t kill that many in a row without everybody doing it — and doing it the right way. We’ve got everybody blocking shots. Defensemen. Forwards. First-line guys and fourth-line guys. When everybody’s doing that, you have an opportunity to do something special.”
WOLVES IN THE OLYMPICS
The Olympics men’s hockey tournament begins Wednesday in Beijing and the Wolves are 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 Wolves captain and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner is serving as an assistant coach for Team Canada.
FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP NIGHT
One of the Chicago Wolves’ most engaging traditional events is Faith and Fellowship Night. Join the Wolves and your family and friends at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, for the game against the Iowa Wild.
One of the highlights of the night is the pregame service project hosted by the Salvation Army. We’re welcoming volunteers to make blankets with us that will distributed immediately to those in need throughout the Chicago area. To volunteer for this service project, please visit here. A game ticket is required to participate, but groups of 15-plus receive discounts and a free gift.
On Sunday, Feb. 20, join the Wolves and LGBTQ+ and ally families, fans and community organizations as we celebrate Pride Day as part of the 3 p.m. game against the Iowa Wild. The Wolves are collaborating with The Pinta Pride Project, the LGBTQ+ Center of Lake County and Naper Pride for this event and a portion of each Pride Day ticket will be donated to these organizations. To learn more, click here.
The high-scoring Wolves forward delivered the game’s only goal during the 1-0 victory Friday night at Milwaukee, then followed it up the next night with one goal (.2 of a second before the second-period horn) and one assist. The 27-year-old Smith ranks third in the AHL with 42 points and stands fourth with 28 assists — both on pace for career-highs.
The Wolves’ top goaltender rejected all 19 shots he faced Friday night at Milwaukee to earn the 1-0 win and his third shutout of the season. Lyon shares second place in the AHL in shutouts, but has second place all to himself in goals-against average (1.95). The Baudette, Minnesota, native also boasts a 12-4-2 record and .918 save percentage in 18 appearances.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ 2019 first-round pick started hot with a goal in the Wolves’ opener and three points in the team’s first five games, but then he suffered an injury that forced him to miss 31 games. Now the second-year center is healthy and delivering on his immense promise. He scored a goal Saturday night — his first since Opening Night on Oct. 16.
- Milwaukee jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first period, but the Wolves chipped away and cut the deficit to 6-5 with 5:05 left before allowing an empty-net goal in the final second.
- Forwards David Gust, Ryan Suzuki and CJ Smith and defensemen Jesper Sellgren and Jalen Chatfield scored goals while all but Suzuki also contributed an assist.
- Goaltenders Jack LaFontaine stopped 7 of 11 and Alex Lyon posted 11 saves on 13 shots in the loss.
- 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..
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.