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.
Let’s PLAY OUTSIDE
The Chicago Wolves have scheduled the second outdoor practice in team history for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink in Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park Entertainment District. Head coach Ryan Warsofsky sees this as a chance to switch things up and provide something new for his players during a stretch when practices can get stale.
“Just have some fun,” Warsofsky said. “It’s a long year. We forget sometimes — I know it’s a job, I completely get it — but we have to enjoy what we do. And we have to have fun. It’s a great game. And when times are tough and you don’t feel like going to the rink all the time, you’ve got to make it fun. For me, there were times in my college career where I didn’t like going to the rink. I just wasn’t having fun. So we’ve got to make sure we enjoy coming to the rink.”
During Warsofsky’s first season as an AHL head coach (with the Charlotte Checkers in 2019-20), his team held an outdoor practice during a road trip in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He’s hoping Tuesday’s change of venue keeps things loose as the Central Division leaders prepare for this weekend’s road trip to second-place Manitoba.
But, of course, there’s going to be a purpose behind the practice.
“Our 4-on-4 play is not good and we’re going to play some 4-on-4 outdoor hockey,” Warsofsky said. “There’s a positive to it and we’ll try to learn from it. It’s a thing we can look forward to.”
BIG GIVEAWAYS AHEAD
The Wolves have led the Central Division since Nov. 27 — a stretch of 87 days and counting — which is reason enough to get out to Allstate Arena for the final two months of the regular season. As an added bonus, the Wolves’ promotional schedule is filled with extra reasons to get to a game.
On March 5, the first 2,500 fans receive a Wolves Snow Globe courtesy of Jewel-Osco and there’s a free postgame skate courtesy of Jiffy Lube. The Wolves Goalie Bank Mask Giveaway, courtesy of My50 Chicago, will be Saturday, April 9. The Wolves Trading Cards Giveaway, presented by Vienna Beef, will be Sunday, April 24.
CRAFT BEER NIGHTS
The Wolves’ home schedule in March is filled with Craft Beer Nights!
The fun starts with the Wolves’ next home game on Wednesday, March 2, against Texas, and continues on March 16, March 22 and March 25.
The Wolves offer a Craft Beer Package of a ticket, three craft beers and a T-shirt for one low price. To get yours, click here or contact a team representative at WolvesTix@ChicagoWolves.com.
Noesen earned the American Hockey League’s Player of the Week award Monday after stacking up six goals in three games, which included his first professional hat trick in Saturday’s win over Iowa. Noesen regained possession of the league lead in goals with 28 in 41 games, which means he’s on pace to score 48 goals this season — the most in the AHL since 2010.
The Wolves captain piled up one goal and six assists in three games to extend his point streak to seven games and to push his AHL-leading points total to 64 (22G, 42A). He’s on pace to score 108 points this season, which would be the AHL’s highest total since the Wolves’ Jason Krog posted 112 points while winning the AHL’s Most Valuable Player award in 2007-08.
The 22-year-old from Penza, Russia, made his North American debut Saturday night and backstopped the Wolves to a 5-3 victory. The Carolina Hurricanes’ second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft hadn’t played in the KHL since Jan. 7, but he shook off the rust to hold the Wild scoreless for the final 38 minutes while stopping their final 22 shots.
SUNDAY, FEB. 20: (AT) CHICAGO 5, IOWA 1
- The Wolves scored the game’s first five goals in the opening 28 minutes and cruised to a weekend sweep of the Wild at Allstate Arena.
- Forward Stefan Noesen delivered his league-leading 27th and 28th goals while forwards Andrew Poturalski and CJ Smith and defenseman Jesper Sellgren also scored.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon posted 24 saves to earn the win.
SATURDAY, FEB. 19: (AT) CHICAGO 5, IOWA 3
- Forward Stefan Noesen produced the first professional hat trick of his eight-year career, including the tying and insurance goals in the third period, to spark the Wolves’ rally.
- Forward Josh Leivo scored a power-play goal, defenseman Joey Keane delivered the game-winning goals and two assists while captain Andrew Poturalski handed out three assists.
- Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 30 shots to win his North American pro debut.
TUESDAY, FEB. 15: MILWAUKEE 4, (AT) CHICAGO 3
- Forward Stefan Noesen scored his league-leading 23rd goal to stake the Wolves to a 2-0 lead, but Milwaukee answered with four scores in the second to swipe the School-Day Game win.
- Forwards David Gust and Josh Leivo also scored goals while Andrew Poturalski and Jack Drury contributed two assists apiece.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon notched 17 saves.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|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||My50|
|Saturday, March 5||vs. Texas||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, March 6||vs. Iowa||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.