MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (30-21-4-3)
AT CHICAGO WOLVES (34-10-5-5)
WHEN POINT STREAKS COLLIDE
The Chicago Wolves own the American Hockey League’s longest active point streak with a 7-0-1-2 record (.850) over the last four weeks. The Milwaukee Admirals share the second-longest active point streak with their 4-0-1-1 showing (.833) since Feb. 27. That’s one reason tonight’s game at Allstate Arena has a little something extra to it.
While the Wolves have owned the Central Division’s No. 1 spot for 133 of a possible 151 days this season — including the last 110 — the Admirals have needed to make a long climb just to reach third place in the Central. On Dec. 3, Milwaukee owned a 5-12-1-0 record — a distant last in the Central and tied with Lehigh Valley for the worst record in the league. These varying paths to excellence, particularly with the playoffs around the corner, lends even more to this matchup.
The fact so many Wolves and Admirals were teammates last year in Chicago — eight dressed for the Wolves Saturday and seven for Milwaukee — has put extra oomph into every meeting this season.
Lastly, the recent results in this series add urgency to tonight’s clash. The Wolves grabbed the first seven games, but the Admirals have taken the last three. That includes Saturday night’s 2-1 shootout loss at Milwaukee, which the Wolves thought should have been a 2-1 overtime win on captain Andrew Poturalski’s wraparound goal that was not recognized by the officials or endorsed by video replay.
At least one-sixth of the Wolves’ lineup will look different than Saturday’s game. Forwards Sam Miletic and Jack Drury suffered first-period injuries in that game while defenseman Josh Jacobs was injured in the first period of Sunday’s home game against Grand Rapids.
“We’re banged up,” said Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky. “Jacobs is going to be out. It’s a week-to-week thing. It looks like Drury is week-to-week. Miletic is going to be done for a while.”
CHATFIELD RE-ENTERS THE CHAT
The Wolves’ blue line benefits today from the return of 25-year-old defenseman Jalen Chatfield, who was reassigned on loan to Chicago Monday after spending three weeks with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Chatfield played nine games in 17 days for the Eastern Conference’s best squad and contributed two assists, three blocked shots and 13 hits as the Canes forged a 6-2-1 record.
“I got to play against some good players,” Chatfield said. “I played against (Sidney) Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin, (Alex) Ovechkin — all those guys you watch growing up. So that was pretty cool.”
While the Canes’ schedule was hectic, Chatfield said he tried to follow the Wolves’ exploits while he was away — but his iPad didn’t always make it easy to stick with the AHLTV.com broadcasts. “That was stressful,” he said. “I was freaking out a little bit, so I just turned it off. That happened a couple times.”
we are the wolves
When Jack Drury recorded a hat trick March 6 against the Iowa Wild at Allstate Arena, he became part of the first father-son hat trick combo in Wolves history, but he’ll need another one to match his father’s total.
Months after Jack was born, Ted Drury spent the 2000-01 season with the Wolves and helped the team reach the last Turner Cup Final. Ted recorded his first hatty during a 7-5 road win over the Kansas City Blades on Dec. 19, 2000, then he hit the Cleveland Barons for three goals on April 4, 2001, at Allstate Arena.
LAST TWO GAMES
SUNDAY, MARCH 13: GRAND RAPIDS 2, (AT) CHICAGO 1 (OT)
- Grand Rapids’ Turner Elson scored 20 seconds into overtime to snap the Wolves’ nine-game winning streak against the Griffins dating back to May 12, 2021.
- Forward Stefan Noesen recorded his 32nd goal to regain sole possession of the AHL’s goal-scoring lead. Andrew Poturalski earned the assist to set a personal season-high with 71 points.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon rejected 26 shots.
- Milwaukee’s Cole Schneider and Graham Knott scored in the first and fifth shootout rounds, respectively, to outdo Stefan Noesen’s third-round tally and claim the extra point.
- Noesen scored in the first period to pull into a share of the AHL goal-scoring lead with 31. Forwards Jamieson Rees and Andrew Poturalski picked up the assists.
- Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov posted 27 saves in regulationa and overtime.
By the numbers
2.54: The Wolves lead the American Hockey League with 2.54 goals allowed per game as they maintain a slight edge over the Pacific Division-leading Stockton Heat (2.63). If the Wolves can maintain this status, it would mark the first time in franchise history they led their league in fewest goals allowed. The closest Chicago has come was a third-place finish in 2018-19 with 2.62 goals allowed per game. That’s not to be confused with the team record for fewest goals allowed per game. That was set in 2013-14 when AHL Goaltender of the Year Jake Allen and primary backup Matt Climie led the team to a 2.51 per-game mark.
8: The Wolves and the Charlotte Checkers are tied for the league lead in goaltenders used this season with eight — a total that hasn’t been surpassed in the AHL since 2013-14. Alex Lyon (24 games), Eetu Makiniemi (14), Jack LaFontaine (8), Pyotr Kochetkov (5), Daniel Mannella (3), Michael Lackey (2), Beck Warm (1) and Dylan Wells (1) have handled the Wolves’ first 54 games.
8.74: The Wolves are gunning to become the first AHL team since the 2007-08 Providence Bruins to lead the league in Shots For (34.54) and Shots Against (25.80) in the same season. Their shots differential per game (8.74) ranks as the AHL’s biggest positive margin since the 2001-02 Saint John Flames managed a 11.51 shots advantage. The Wolves have a chance to break the single-season franchise records for Shots For (34.69) and Shots Against (27.93).
17: This is the Wolves’ magic number to clinch their 21st playoff berth in 26 seasons (which ignores the last two years when COVID-19 did not allow anyone to qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs). Any combination of 17 points won by the Wolves and lost by the Texas Stars (and a 16-point combo with the Iowa Wild) will ensure a playoff berth. The Wolves can clinch their spot as soon as March 25. The team’s magic number to clinch a first-round bye sits at 22 and the division clincher is 34.
32: Wolves forward Stefan Noesen leads the AHL with 32 goals. He also leads everyone in game-winning goals (9) and first goals (7). With his next GWG, he’ll tie the organization’s single-season record shared by Chris Marinucci (1998-99), Brett Sterling (2007-08), Mark Mancari (2011-12) and Shane Harper (2014-15). With his 32 goals in 49 games, the 29-year-old from Plano, Texas, is on pace to produce 46 goals. Only three Wolves (Sterling, Steve Maltais and Rob Brown) have scored more than 41 in a single season.
239: The Wolves have enjoyed more power-play opportunities than any other AHL team with 239 through 54 games. Because the league’s teams haven’t played a similar number of games, it’s important to note Chicago also leads the league with 4.43 power plays per game with 4.43. On the flip side, the Milwaukee Admirals pace the AHL in most power-play opportunities allowed with 242. Through the first 10 games of this season series, the Wolves own a 48-29 lead in power plays.
419: Since the Wolves played their first game on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 721 players have suited up for Chicago. Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov became No. 721 when he made his North American debut with a win over Iowa on Feb. 19. Defenseman Brayden Pachal became the 419th to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday night. Put another way, 58.1 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Saturday, March 19||at Toronto||3 p.m.||Coca-Cola Coliseum||AHLTV|
|Sunday, March 20||at Toronto||3 p.m.||Coca-Cola Coliseum||AHLTV|
|Tuesday, March 22||vs. Texas||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Friday, March 25||vs. Manitoba||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, March 27||at Iowa||3 p.m.||Wells Fargo Arena||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.