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Pyotr Kochetkov is more comfortable stopping pucks than he is doing interviews in English, but the Russian goaltender still gave it his all when Wolves Insider asked for a minute of his time to discuss returning to the Wolves.
Early last week, Kochetkov was reassigned to the Wolves from the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL and the 23-year-old netminder was stellar in his two starts since — both victories. On Wednesday, Kochetkov made 19 saves in the Wolves’ 6-2 win over the Moose in Manitoba and he followed that up by stopping 22 shots during a 6-2 triumph over the IceHogs on Saturday night in Rockford.
“It was a nice moment for me to be in the NHL but I’m happy to come back to the AHL and be with my boys on the Wolves,” Kochetkov said.
During his time with the Hurricanes, Kochetkov was 10-4-5 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .913 save percentage and was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for December. He said the biggest adjustment to playing in the NHL was the speed of the game.
“It’s faster,” Kochetkov said. “There are a lot of nice players with hard shots and there are games almost every day.”
This season with the Wolves, Kochetkov is 4-2-1-0 with a 2.71 goals-against and .911 save percentage.
“It’s my second season in North America and my adaptation to the game here is getting better,” he said. “It’s taken a little bit of time but the boys, coaches and agents help me every day.”
Kochetkov is expected to start at least one of the Wolves’ final two games of their season-long, six-game road trip that concludes with back-to-back contests against the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in Arizona.
When coach Brock Sheahan found the Wolves short at the forward position due to injuries for their two games in Manitoba last week, he approached defenseman Alex Green with a question.
“Brock asked me if I would be willing to play some forward because of all the injuries we had up front,” Green said. “I was happy for the challenge and opportunity.”
Last Tuesday, Green centered the fourth line and was flanked by Alexander Pashin on his right and Joseph LaBate on his left. Green got off one shot during the Moose’s 2-0 victory. He also spent time up front during Wednesday’s 6-2 victory over Manitoba.
It marked the first time Green saw action at forward since he was a teenager in a similar situation while playing as a defenseman for the AAA Chicago Mission.
“It was fun playing with LaBate and Pashin,” Green, 24, said. “We tried to get in the other team’s face and be physical. We weren’t worried too much about scoring goals — just to give some energy to the team.”
Whether he’s playing forward or defense, the Chicago native said he is thrilled to be playing in front of his hometown fans.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Green said. “It’s nice to have family and friends come to games at Allstate Arena. Not everyone can say that they play for their hometown team in the AHL. I’m very grateful.”
Goal of the week
Ryan Suzuki has scored in each of the last two games — both Wolves victories — including this gem against the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday night that sealed the win for the defending Calder Cup champions.
Mental Health Awareness JErsey auctions now live
This weekend, the Wolves will don commemorative Mental Health Awareness jerseys that will then be auctioned for charities helping those struggling with mental health issues and other related causes.
The defending Calder Cup champions have teamed with Campfire Marshmallows to present the specialty jerseys that Wolves players will wear when they face the IceHogs on Saturday and the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday at Allstate Arena.
Jerseys for Kochetkov, Ryan Dzingel, Jack Drury, Mackenzie MacEachern and mascot Skates will be available via a blind auction. The blind auction can be entered online and at Allstate Arena.
The process is simple: Bid the highest amount you are willing to pay for a specific jersey and the highest bid submitted for each jersey by 12 p.m. on Monday will be the winner. The minimum bid is $250, and no one will know what others are bidding.
The online portion of the blind auction is now open. To bid in-arena, pick up a blind auction form at the Chicago Wolves Charities Table behind Section 105 at the games on Saturday and Sunday.
A silent auction will be held for all remaining Mental Health Awareness jerseys, including Wolves legends Bob Nardella, Steve Maltais, Gene Ubriaco and Billy Gardner. The silent auction can be entered online and at Allstate Arena. The online portion of the silent auction is now open and closes Friday at noon. Place a bid on your favorite player’s jersey at the Chicago Wolves Charities Table behind Section 105. Bidding in-arena begins on Saturday at 6 p.m., and concludes at the end of the second intermission on Sunday.
The Wolves are working with five local mental health awareness-related charities: Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors, Canine Therapy Corps, Erika’s Lighthouse, Paws for Patrick and Same Here
Other featured Mental Health Awareness items include Mystery Pucks and limited-edition t-shirts.
For more information on all of the Wolves’ Mental Health Awareness initiatives, go here.
weekly REWIND (2-1-0-0)
Tuesday, Jan. 17
Moose 2, Wolves 0: In the second game of their six-game trip, the Wolves were blanked by Manitoba goaltender Oskari Salminen (25 saves). Nicholas Jones and Brayden Burke scored for the Moose, who defeated the Wolves for the second time in two games this season.
Wednesday, Jan. 18
Wolves 6, Moose 2: After being blanked in their two previous games, the Wolves exploded for half a dozen goals as six different players found the back of the net. Jack Drury, Tuukka Tieksola, Nathan Sucese, Brendan Perlini, Ryan Suzuki and Joseph LaBate had goals to provide more than enough support for goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (19 saves).
Saturday, Jan. 21
Wolves 6, IceHogs 2: Jamieson Rees had two goals, Brendan Perlini, Noel Gunler, Ryan Suzuki and Vasily Ponomarev also scored for the Wolves. William Lagesson had three assists and Kochetkov (22 saves) was strong in goal to lead the Wolves to their second consecutive victory to move to 2-2-0-0 on the trip.
First Star of the Week
hit of the week
The Wolves provided plenty of big hits in recent games, but our Hit of the Week goes to the fan who obliterated his competitor during the second intermission entertainment Saturday night in Rockford.
Where we stand
14-18-3-1, seventh in the Central Division.
|Tuesday, Jan. 24||at Tucson||7:30 p.m.||Tucson Convention Center||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, Jan. 25||at Tucson||7:30 p.m.||Tucson Convention Center||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 28||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Sunday, Jan. 29||vs. Grand Rapids||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Friday, Feb. 3||at Cleveland||6 p.m.||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse||AHLTV|
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.