Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Rivers Casino: the weekly report that gives you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the Central Division champs prepare to battle for the organization’s fifth league championship.
CELEBRATE AN AMAZING REGULAR SEASON
The Calder Cup Playoffs are right around the corner — and the Chicago Wolves will enter the postseason with either the best or second-best record in the 31-team American Hockey League.
While now’s a good time for Wolves fans to get fired up about the prospect of winning the organization’s fifth league championship, it’s a great time for Wolves fans to pay their respects to the team that has fashioned the finest regular-season record in franchise history by attending the home finale Thursday night at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves host the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7 p.m., but the party starts as soon as the doors open with $2 Beer Night. Fans enjoyed the inaugural $2 Beer Night on March 25 so much, we’re bringing it back for the finale. Throughout the night, feel free to toast everyone who has doing their jobs to enable the Wolves to win at a .716 points percentage.
Toast the defense that leads the AHL in fewest goals allowed (2.56 per game). Toast the offense that boasts two of the AHL’s top three point-producers in Andrew Poturalski and Stefan Noesen. Toast the coaches and general manager Wendell Young, who have built the deepest roster in the league.
GREATER CHICAGO VETERANS JOB FAIR
The Wolves have teamed up with RecruitMilitary and DAV to host the Greater Chicago Veterans Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Allstate Arena. Approximately 60 exhibitors are scheduled to be on hand for this hiring event designed for all United States Military job-seekers and their spouses. Many exhibitors have hundreds, if not thousands, of listed jobs available. To sign up, please click here.
GET YOUR PLAYOFF TICKETS
The Central Division-champion Wolves have earned a first-round bye in the Calder Cup Playoffs, which means they get a chance to rest and renew during the first week of May while they await the winner of the best-of-3 series between the Central Division’s No. 4 and 5 seeds.
But Wolves fans don’t have to wait to set up their playoff tickets. Visit here to buy tickets and/or enter to win two tickets for each home game throughout the postseason.
The Wolves alternate captain is all but assured of capturing the Willie Marshall Award that goes to the AHL’s top goal-scorer. Noesen scored twice Sunday against Grand Rapids to pump his total to 45 goals for the year — five ahead of Ontario’s Martin Frk. The Reign only have one game remaining while the Wolves have two. Noesen also ranks third in points with 81.
The Wolves captain has a good shot to become the first AHL player since 1998 to win the points title in back-to-back seasons. Poturalski posted 2 goals and 4 assists last week to move to 97 points for the year. He’s one point behind Ontario’s T.J. Tynan in the race to become the first AHL player since 2010 to hit 100 points, but the Wolves have one more game than the Reign.
The veteran forward racked up 3 assists in Friday’s win at Grand Rapids and added 1 goal Saturday against Milwaukee to give him 21 goals and 23 assists in 52 games this year. Leivo, who’s two away from his career-high in goals, became the Wolves’ fourth 20-goal scorer this season and owns 110 goals for his career in 437 games split between the NHL and AHL.
- Forwards Stefan Noesen and Vasili Ponomarev scored two goals apiece in the first 30 minutes as the Wolves clinched the best regular-season record in franchise history with the victory.
- Forwards Andrew Poturalski and Noel Gunler posted the other goals while Poturalski, Richard Panik and Stelio Mattheos handed out two assists apiece.
- Goaltender Dylan Wells stopped 26 shots to earn his first AHL win since April 14, 2019.
- The Wolves allowed three power-play goals for the first time this season as Milwaukee took advantage of a late major to score twice on the power play.
- Forward Josh Leivo opened the scoring as captain Andrew Poturalski earned the primary assist for his 94th point of the year.
- Goaltender Dylan Wells recorded 26 saves, including a penalty shot, in his second Wolves game.
- The Wolves scored three goals during the first 10 minutes of the second period to take control and sweep all six games at Grand Rapids this season.
- Defenseman Chris Bigras and forwards Andrew Poturalski and Richard Panik scored in the second and rookie Noel Gunler added one in the third while Josh Leivo dished out three assists.
- Goaltender Jack LaFontaine stopped 27 shots for the win.
- Center Spencer Smallman produced a pair of short-handed goals in the third period to forge a tie, but Rockford’s Mike Hardman scored with 47 seconds left to claim the victory.
- Rookie center Vasili Ponomarev recorded his first professional goal in North America while defenseman Josh Jacobs handed out two assists as the Wolves outshot the IceHogs 47-28.
- Goaltender Jack LaFontaine recorded 24 saves.
FINAL TWO REGULAR-SEASON GAMES
|Thursday, April 28||vs. Grand Rapids||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 30||at Rockford||6 p.m.||MetroCentre||AHLTV|
All games are streamed on AHLTV.