MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (33-24-4-4)
AT CHICAGO WOLVES (40-12-5-5)
Saturday, April 2 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena | My50 Chicago | AHLTV | Facebook Live
to be continued…
For the third time this season, the Chicago Wolves and the Milwaukee Admirals face each other on back-to-back nights in their respective arenas. Just as they did on Oct. 22-23 and Dec. 17-18, they played the first game on a Friday night at Panther Arena and then Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
The first two times, the Wolves swept both ends of the back-to-back. On Friday, though, Milwaukee flipped the usual script by collecting a 4-1 victory — erasing a 1-0 lead the Wolves held from 1:35 of the first to 14:26 of the second.
But these teams did not go quietly into the night. During the third period alone, they combined for 56 penalty minutes as three 10-minute misconducts were handed out (two to Milwaukee). Even with everything decided in the final 30 seconds, former Wolves defenseman Josh Healey picked up an elbowing penalty at 19:32. Fourteen seconds later, after the Wolves’ Spencer Smallman checked an Admiral near the corner, Milwaukee’s Mitch McLain rumbled over to engage with Smallman. They wound up on the ice with McLain swinging, which led to roughing calls for McLain and Smallman.
While the officials sorted out that one, players on both benches leaned over the boards and jawed at each other — which led to more unfriendly behavior as the Wolves’ Jack Drury and Milwaukee’s Jimmy Huntington picked up matching roughing calls at 19:50 immediately after taking a faceoff.
Long story short, both teams’ behavior suggests tonight’s game will be cooking from the start as the Wolves try to get 2 points closer to winning the Central and the Admirals try to maintain third place.
KOCHETKOV’S FIRST AWARD
The American Hockey League honored Chicago Wolves goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov Friday as the league’s Rookie of the Month. Kochetkov merited the award after producing a 7-0-1 record, 1.74 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in his eight March appearances. It marked just the fourth time in the Wolves’ 21 AHL seasons that a Chicago player captured Rookie of the Month. Kochetkov joined the company of Brett Sterling (Nov. 2006 and Dec. 2006) and Lucas Elvenes (Oct. 2019).
Kochetkov’s honor marked the sixth time this season the AHL has recognized a Wolves player. Andrew Poturalski (October) and Josh Leivo (December) claimed Player of the Month awards while Poturalski (Oct. 25-31; Dec. 6-12) and Stefan Noesen (Feb. 13-19) received Player of the Week plaudits.
we are the wolves
Tonight’s game serves as the Wolves’ seventh Salute to Military Families Night, presented by Kia. The team will honor current and former members of the military and their families in appreciation of their dedication to our country. The Wolves, your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Kia dealers, Mid-West Moving and Recruit Military worked together to provide complimentary tickets to military families for this game.
On Thursday, April 28, the Wolves will host the DAV RecruitMilitary Chicago Area Veterans Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with dozens of exhibitors planning to be on the Allstate Arena concourse.
LAST TWO GAMES
FRIDAY, APRIL 1: (AT) MILWAUKEE 4, CHICAGO 1
- Milwaukee scored twice in a 1:16 span late in the second period to erase the Wolves’ 1-0 lead and set the tone for the win at Panther Arena.
- Rookie forward Jamieson Rees scored 1:35 into the game as Josh Leivo and Jack Drury picked up the assists.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 21 of 24 shots.
TUESDAY, MARCH 29: CHICAGO 4, (AT) CLEVELAND 2
- Forwards Josh Leivo and CJ Smith scored 19 seconds apart early in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit and clinch a Calder Cup Playoff berth.
- Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen scored 62 seconds into his Wolves debut, Leivo added an empty-net goal in the final minute and Ryan Suzuki contributed two assists.
- Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov posted 27 saves for his fourth straight win.
By the numbers
2.53: The Wolves stand atop the American Hockey League at 2.53 goals allowed per game with the Providence Bruins (2.66) serving as their closest pursuers. If the Wolves can maintain their spot at the top of the GAA charts, it would mark the first time in franchise history to lead the league in fewest goals allowed. Prior to this, the closest Chicago came 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 — set in 2013-14 when Goaltender of the Year Jake Allen and primary backup Matt Climie led the team to a 2.51 per-game mark.
6: After clinching a Calder Cup Playoff spot Tuesday at Cleveland, the Wolves’ next task is clinching a first-round bye that will allow them to rest for a week before starting the best-of-5 Central Division Semifinals against either the No. 4 or No. 5 seed. That magic number stands at 6, which means they could wrap up a bye as soon as Sunday. The Wolves’ magic number to clinch their fifth Central Division title in the last six years sits at 14.
8: Chicago leads the AHL in rallying to win when trailing after two periods. Though they couldn’t pull off the rally Friday at Milwaukee, the Wolves own an 8-10-2-1 record when losing after 40 minutes. The Henderson Silver Knights are next with a 7-20-2-0 record.
8.79: The Wolves are trying to become the first AHL team since the 2007-08 Providence Bruins to lead the league in Shots For (34.66) and Shots Against (25.87) in the same season, though the Manitoba Moose snuck past them Wednesday to move into first place in fewest shots allowed at 25.72. Chicago’s shots differential per game (8.79) ranks as the AHL’s biggest positive margin since the 2001-02 Saint John Flames managed a 11.51 shots advantage. The Wolves are in position to break the single-season franchise records for Shots For (34.69) and Shots Against (27.93).
35: Wolves forward Stefan Noesen owns 35 goals, which shares the AHL lead with Abbotsford’s Sheldon Dries. Noesen paces the AHL in game-winning goals (9) and shares the lead in first goals with Ontario’s Martin Frk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Valtteri Puustinen (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 35 goals in 57 appearances, the 29-year-old from Plano, Texas, is on pace to score 43 goals. Only three Wolves (Sterling, Steve Maltais and Rob Brown) have scored more than 41 in a season.
82: Captain Andrew Poturalski ranks second in AHL scoring with 82 points (24G, 58A). If he can outduel the Ontario Reign’s T.J. Tynan (13G, 71A) down the stretch to win the scoring crown, then he’ll become the first player since Philadelphia’s Peter White in 1997-98 to win back-to-back AHL scoring titles. Poturalski is on pace for 101 points this season as he and Tynan are threatening to become the first AHL players to reach the 100-point mark since Hershey’s Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux scored 106 and 103 points, respectively, during the 2009-10 season.
421: Since the Wolves played their first game on Oct. 1, 1994, a total of 723 players have suited up for Chicago. Defensemen Chris Bigras and Tarmo Reunanen pushed that number to 723 when they made their Wolves debuts Tuesday at Cleveland. Because both have played in the NHL, that makes 421 Wolves who’ve appeared in the world’s best league. Put another way, 58.2 percent of all Wolves have suited up in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Sunday, April 3||vs. Texas||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Wednesday, April 6||vs. Texas||11 a.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 9||vs. Manitoba||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, April 10||vs. Cleveland||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Wednesday, April 13||at Texas||7 p.m.||H-E-B Center||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.