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The 2022-23 AHL season has been a learning experience – and a productive one – for Wolves center Jamieson Rees.
In his third full season in the league, the 22-year-old has focused on what he needs to improve upon to reach the next level of his game and the results have followed.
Rees has already set career highs in goals (13), assists (25), points (38), penalty minutes (84), power-play goals (three) and shots (113) in 55 games played.
What has led to the career season?
“I just feel like I’m way calmer out there with the puck,” Rees said. “Last year, whenever I had the puck I was panicking a lot of the time and didn’t really look to see where my space was or let my guys get open. Now, I know when to slow down and when to speed up and that’s definitely helped my game a lot.”
Figuring out his time and space on the ice isn’t the only thing Rees has discovered while being one of the defending Calder Cup champions’ top offensive threats.
“Something that’s a little bit underrated is being comfortable receiving passes because coverage is a lot tighter here and guys are on you much faster,” the Hamilton, Ontario, native said. “So if you can get that puck settled down faster you can make a play faster. That’s something that a lot of people generally don’t talk a whole lot about but I think is really important.”
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, Rees is tied for second on the team in scoring with Max Lajoie, one point back of Malte Stromwall. But Rees isn’t focused on being the Wolves’ leading scorer when the dust settles on the season.
“I just want to win,” Rees said. “I just want to win.”
ANTTONI HONKA’s HELPING HAND
In his first season in North America, defenseman Anttoni Honka has focused on keeping pucks out of the Wolves net while at the same time making plays to set up his teammates at the other end.
“The first option for me is to try to find my own guy and pass the puck to him and then try to join the rush,” Honka said. “That’s what I’m good at so I want to keep doing it.”
Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the third round (83rd overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Honka came to the U.S. last summer after playing for his hometown team in Finland, JYP Jyvaskyla, of the Finnish league Liiga for several years.
The adjustments to playing in North America have been plentiful.
“It’s different than what I’ve been used to back in Europe,” Honka said. “It’s learning everything about the game and life here and that’s kind of what has helped a lot.”
IMPACT PLAY OF THE WEEK
On Sunday in Texas, the Wolves trailed the Stars 1-0 when Ryan Suzuki finished off a pretty passing play from Ronan Seeley and Max Lajoie to score his 10th goal of the season. It marked the first of three consecutive goals for the Wolves as they rallied to a 3-2 victory.
REPUBLIC BANK SAVE OF THE WEEK
With the Wolves already in a three-goal deficit during Saturday’s game in Texas, Zachary Sawchenko robbed the Stars’ Riley Tufte from in close to keep the score where it was. The stop allowed the Wolves to rally and send the game to overtime where they fell 4-3 to earn a point in the Central Division standings.
C.D.E. COLLISION CENTERS’ COLLISION OF THE WEEK
Also on Saturday, forward Jamieson Rees drilled Tufte with a clean hit, helping set the tone for the rest of the game.
Weekly rewind (1-1-1-0)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22
Griffins 6, Wolves 3: Max Lajoie, Malte Stromwall and Jamieson Rees scored for the Wolves but it wasn’t enough in the opener of a four-game road trip.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25
Stars 4, Wolves 3 (OT): Tuukka Tieksola scored two goals and Mackenzie MacEachern added another as the Wolves rallied from a three-goal deficit to earn a point in the Central Division standings.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26
Wolves 3, Stars 2: Ryan Suzuki, Vasily Ponomarev and Cavan Fitzgerald scored and Zachary Sawchenko was strong in goal as the Wolves erased an early deficit to snap a four-game losing skid.
First Star of the Week
Where we stand
27-28-4-3, sixth in the Central Division.
|Wednesday, March 29||at Grand Rapids||6 p.m.||Van Andel Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, April 1||vs. Rockford||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Sunday, April 2||vs. Milwaukee||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago/NHL Network|
|Wednesday, April 5||at Milwaukee||7 p.m.||UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena||AHLTV|
|Friday, April 7||at Iowa||7 p.m.||Wells Fargo Arena||AHLTV|
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