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For a Wolves team still in search of its identity, the upcoming road trip to Tucson should provide a good opportunity for teammates and coaches to bond–which will help matters when it comes to taking the ice.
“It’s huge,” Wolves coach Bob Nardella said of the time spent together on the road. “On the road, you have your lunches and your dinners and getting together as much as possible is very important. You get to know little things about each and it helps when you go to battle together. When a guy is down or makes a mistake, you pick up for him and pick up the slack.”
With only four players returning from last season–Josh Melnick, Alex Green, Nathan Sucese and Cavan Fitzgerald–it figures to take some time for the Wolves to form a winning chemistry.
“Going on the road could be a tough environment but it’s a good opportunity to bond as a team and face a little adversity on the road,” Melnick said. “We’ve got a good group so everyone gets along. It’s getting a feel for where guys are on the ice and getting used to playing as linemates.”
In their first six games of the 2023-24 season, the Wolves have played in two away games but the trips to Rockford on Oct. 21 and Iowa on Oct. 25 were short and didn’t involve plane rides or multi-day hotel stays. With the trip to Arizona for games Friday and Saturday, there will be plenty of bonding time.
“When we’re on the road it’s nice to have hockey as the only thing on our minds other than calls back home to wives, kids, girlfriends, etc.,” forward Dominic Franco said. “It’s a great chance for us to come together early in the year and a little warm weather probably will brighten some spirits, too.”
“This is by and large a brand new team,” Franco added. “Normally, you have a core that comes back every year. There’s definitely some growing pains but we’ve got enough experience here where we can’t use that as an excuse. We have to come together and starting stringing some wins together. It will be a good trip and we’re hoping for a good result.”
As a veteran of 152 career NHL games as well as another 760 in the AHL, Wolves forward Chris Terry knows his way around an ice rink.
So it’s not surprising that Terry is off to a strong offensive start. The 34-year-old has three goals–with a team-leading two power-play scores–and two assists in six games to rank third on the Wolves in scoring.
During the 2017-18 season, Terry won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s leading scorer with 32 goals and 39 assists with the Laval Rocket. In his AHL career, Terry has 293 goals and 403 assists and is one of 48 players in AHL history to reach the 600-point mark.
“Offense is obviously my biggest threat,” Terry said. “I take a lot of pride in special teams with the power play being one of my biggest strengths. I like having the responsibility of being a strong two-way forward. It doesn’t matter if we’re up a goal or down a goal, in the last two minutes I want to be a responsible player. When I’m skating and doing the right things, that’s the focus.”
Citing the “opportunity to hopefully chase a Calder Cup,” Terry signed with the Wolves during the summer after spending two seasons with the Bridgeport Islanders.
With the Wolves, Terry has been an alternate captain and doesn’t hesitate to impart knowledge with his younger teammates.
“With age comes experience,” Terry said. “I’ve ben through a lot of different experiences at this level and at the NHL level. I’ve been on some winning teams and I enjoy passing on the knowledge and experiences I’ve had to guys who want to know. But I think my play will kind of dictate the leader I want to be.”
IMPACT PLAY OF THE WEEK
During Saturday night’s game against the Cleveland Monsters, veteran forward Chris Terry unleashed this slap shot while on the power play to pull the Wolves into a 2-2 tie.
REPUBLIC BANK SAVE OF THE WEEK
Veteran goaltender Keith Kinkaid stoned Monsters forward Yegor Chinakov on a breakaway to keep the Wolves even with Cleveland during Saturday night’s contest.
C.D.E. COLLISION CENTERS’ COLLISION OF THE WEEK
Wolves defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald lowered the boom on the Monsters’ Cole Clayton on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Weekly rewind (0-2-0-0)
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 25
Wild 1, Wolves 0: Keith Kinkaid was sensational in goal for the Wolves, yielding one score, but Iowa’s Jesper Wallstedt stopped all 31 shots sent his way to win the goaltending duel.
SATURDAY, OCT. 28
Monsters 7, Wolves 3: Chris Terry had two goals and Rocco Grimaldi a goal and two assists but the Wolves came up short after Cleveland struck for four goals in the third period.
First Star of the Week
Where we stand
1-3-1-1, seventh in the Central Division.
|Friday, Nov. 3||at Tucson||9 p.m.||Tucson Convention Center Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Nov. 4||at Tucson||9 p.m.||Tucson Convention Center Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Nov. 11||vs. Iowa||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
|Sunday, Nov. 12||vs. Rockford||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||AHLTV/My50 Chicago|
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