MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (23-19-2-2)
AT CHICAGO WOLVES (27-9-4-3)
MADE FOR THE MORNINGS
Three times per season, the Chicago Wolves host 11 a.m. games designed for school children throughout the Chicago area to enjoy a field trip to Allstate Arena that includes a workbook for each child filled with lessons on how every subject in school relates to hockey.
At the same time, the Wolves keep taking their American Hockey League opponents to school in these morning games. In eight of their last nine 11 a.m. starts at Allstate Arena — dating back to Dec. 21, 2017 — the Wolves have claimed the victory. This includes a 4-3 win over the Manitoba Moose on Dec. 16 this season when veteran forward Josh Leivo scored with 1.1 seconds left.
The Wolves also have enjoyed success when playing in the morning on other teams’ home ice. When they traveled to Grand Rapids on Nov. 17, the Wolves earned a 2-1 overtime victory on Andrew Poturalski’s goal 33 seconds into extra time.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
With right wing Stefan Noesen sharing the American Hockey League lead in goals (22) with Abbotsford’s Sheldon Dries and Ontario’s Martin Frk — and captain Andrew Poturalski just one goal behind the trio — it’s not too hard to figure out who has been carrying a heavy load offensively for the Wolves this season.
But a look at the last 10 days suggests the prolific veterans are getting help up and down the lineup as 11 Wolves have scored goals over the last four games. Yes, Noesen has two goals and Poturalski one over this stretch, but Orland Park native David Gust owns 3 goals and 20-year-old rookie center Ryan Suzuki has two. Forwards Jack Drury, Jamieson Rees and CJ Smith and defensemen Jalen Chatfield, Cavan Fitzgerald, Joey Keane and Jesper Sellgren have produced one each.
WHAT THE RAMS’ WIN MEANS
Some might call this an omen. Some might call this trying to tie two random facts together to create a narrative. Either way, here’s the deal:
On the date Super Bowl XXXIV was played (Jan. 30, 2000), the Wolves had played exactly 43 games of their regular-season schedule for the first time in franchise history. The Rams, then based in St. Louis, claimed their first Super Bowl victory that day — and the Wolves went on to capture the 2000 Turner Cup championship.
Fast-forward to Sunday. On the day Super Bowl LVI was played (Feb. 13, 2022), the Wolves had played exactly 43 games of their regular-season schedule for the second time in franchise history. The Rams, now based in Los Angeles, claimed their second Super Bowl victory — so clearly the Wolves are on their way to capturing the 2022 Calder Cup championship.
we are the wolves
Twenty years ago today, Steve Maltais produced a hat trick against Philadelphia Phantoms goaltender Maxime Ouellet to lead the Wolves to a 5-1 road win. It marked Maltais’ first AHL hat trick for the Wolves, but it wouldn’t be his last that year.
He hit Utah for three goals March 29, notched three against Grand Rapids April 15 in the playoffs and then delivered three goals on June 3, 2002, when the Wolves captured the Calder Cup. Maltais scored three goals to force extra time, then Yuri Butsayev scored in the second overtime to start the party at Allstate.
LAST TWO GAMES
- Forward Stefan Noesen scored with 1:41 left to push the game into overtime, but Rockford’s Michal Teply tallied the lone shootout goal in the third round to give the IceHogs the extra point.
- Forwards Ryan Suzuki and Jack Drury scored during the second period while defenseman Max Lajoie handed out two assists.
- Goaltender Jack LaFontaine posted 16 saves in regulation and overtime.
- Rockford owned a 5-1 lead 34 minutes into the game, but the Wolves rallied to pull within 1 with 14 seconds left before dropping the feisty Central Division clash.
- Forwards David Gust, Andrew Poturalski and Jamieson Rees and defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald while Poturalski added two assists as the Wolves owned a 47-23 shot advantage.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 11 of 16 shots and backup Jack LaFontaine rejected all 7 he saw.
By the numbers
7: The Wolves lead the American Hockey League in shutouts with 7, which is more than twice as many as every other AHL team except for Milwaukee (5) and Manitoba (4). The most recent blanking happened Feb. 4 when Alex Lyon stopped 19 shots in a 1-0 win at Milwaukee. Lyon, who ranks third in the league with a 2.16 GAA and is expected to play today, owns 3 shutouts. Rookie Eetu Makiniemi, who hasn’t played since Dec. 18 due to injury, has posted two whitewashes while rookie Jack LaFontaine and Daniel Mannella own one apiece. The franchise record of 9 was set in 1999-2000 by Wendell Young (6) and Andrei Trefilov (3).
10.3: The Wolves are gunning to become the first AHL team since the 2007-08 Providence Bruins to lead the league in Shots For (35.42) and Shots Against (25.12) in the same season. Their shots differential per game (10.3) ranks as the AHL’s biggest positive margin since the 2001-02 Saint John Flames managed a 11.51 shots advantage. The Wolves own just one Shots For title in their first 27 seasons — it happened in 1998-99 — and have yet to lead a league in Shots Against. If the Wolves maintain these shot averages the rest of the season, both will set single-season franchise records.
14: One of the ways to earn the Central Division title is to continue to stack up points at home — and the Wolves have earned at least one point in each of their last 14 games at Allstate Arena. The streak began with an overtime loss Nov. 14 against Toronto and has carried through Saturday’s shootout loss to Rockford, but there were a lot of wins in between. The Wolves own a 9-0-2-3 record during this run. It’s the franchise’s best stretch at home since the 2017-18 squad won 13 straight at home from Dec. 6 to Feb. 15.
18: There are 18 Wolves competing on the active rosters of the 12 Olympics men’s hockey teams. Kenny Agostino, the 2016-17 AHL MVP, has been playing on the top line for the United States squad that earned a bye into Wednesday’s quarterfinal. Defenseman David Warsofsky, the younger brother of Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky, also has played every game for the USA. Tomas Hyka (2017-19) scored a goal for Czech Republic in Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Russia Olympic Committee. Finland earned a bye to the quarterfinals with help from defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (2013-17).
57: Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski, who won the AHL scoring title last year with 43 points in 44 games, has been at the top of the league’s scoring list this year since he recorded his 24th point on Dec. 4. Poturalski racked up 4 points in two games over the weekend to push his total to 57 (21G, 36A) in 40 games, which puts him on pace to score 104 points this season. Ontario center T.J. Tynan ranks second in the AHL with 52 points (8G, 44A).
400: Wolves forward Stefan Noesen suits up for his 400th professional game today. The Plano, Texas, native owns 31 goals and 23 assists in 207 NHL regular-season appearances to go with 62 goals and 76 assists in 192 AHL games.
418: 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 418th player to compete for the Wolves and in the greatest league in the world. Put another way, 58.1 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Saturday, Feb. 19||vs. Iowa||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, Feb. 20||vs. Iowa||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Saturday, Feb. 26||at Manitoba||2 p.m.||Canada Life Centre||AHLTV|
|Sunday, Feb. 27||at Manitoba||2 p.m.||Canada Life Centre||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, March 2||vs. Texas||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.