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rocco grimaldi’s excellent adventure
Jetting from a weekend series in Cleveland to San Jose, Calif., for the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic didn’t exactly put the “break” in “All-Star Break” for Wolves forward Rocco Grimaldi.
The 30-year-old participated in four events for the Western Conference during Sunday’s Skills Competition, including the Puck Control Relay, Fastest Skater (13.855 seconds), Pass and Score and Breakaway Relay.
During Monday’s All-Star Challenge, Grimaldi notched two goals and added two assists in the Central Division’s trio of three-on-three games.
“It was an awesome weekend,” Grimaldi said. “I had a blast being able to play with guys I battle against every night. It’s always great being able to meet guys and make new connections.”
While the Skills Competition was mostly fun and games, as Monday’s All-Star Challenge progressed, the intensity grew.
“It just takes one guy to push the pace,” Grimaldi said. “No one wants to be that guy, but it just takes the first guy then the second and third guys will try.”
It marked Grimaldi’s second AHL All-Star Game appearance—he was also selected for the 2018 contest while a member of the San Antonio Rampage—and this one was made more special being in his home state of California.
Grimaldi is from Anaheim and he was pleased his family was able to gather for the festivities.
“It was amazing having my wife (Abby) and parents in attendance and I’m super grateful for the opportunity to have been able to represent the Wolves this weekend,” Grimaldi said.
GRIFFIN MENDEL SEEKING THAT NEXT LEVEL
After starting the season with Norfolk of the ECHL and then enduring a lengthy rehabilitation on his broken wrist suffered while he was with the Admirals, Griffin Mendel has settled into the Wolves lineup.
The defenseman has now appeared in 20 games with the Wolves this season and has two goals, three assists and eight penalty minutes. The 24-year-old Mendel has been a steadying force on the back end for the Wolves—even if he believes there’s still plenty of room for improvement in his game.
“I’m still up and down and I feel I have more to bring to our team,” Mendel said. “I’ve had some flashes of showing it and then some flashes where I kind of get away from it. I have to keep getting better and get the confidence going more.”
Mendel said the instability of joining new teammates—along with the injury suffered when he was hit blocking a shot—hasn’t allowed him to reach his full potential.
“The injury definitely didn’t help while also getting acclimated to a new team,” said Mendel, who inked a one-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes last summer. “Everybody goes through ups and downs and I’m just trying to get back up to where I can play. Nobody is a perfect player. You always know there are areas of the games you can get better.”
IMPACT PLAY OF THE WEEK
With the Wolves on the power play late in Friday night’s 5-0 victory over the Monsters in Cleveland, Nathan Sucese took a pass from Max Comtois and buried his 15th goal of the season. It was Sucese’s third tally of the game for his second hat trick this season.
REPUBLIC BANK SAVE OF THE WEEK
Goaltender Adam Scheel made this big stop on the Monsters’ Justin Pearson during the Wolves’ 5-0 victory Friday night in Cleveland. Scheel finished with 28 saves for his second shutout of the season.
C.D.E. COLLISION CENTERS’ COLLISION OF THE WEEK
During the opening period of Saturday’s game in Cleveland, Wolves forward Kyle Marino crunched Monsters defenseman Samuel Knazko into the boards.
Weekly rewind (1-1-0-0)
FRIDAY, FEB. 2
Wolves 5, Monsters 0: Nathan Sucese had a hat trick, Rocco Grimaldi and Max Comtois each added a goal and an assist and goaltender Adam Scheel made 28 saves to record the shutout as the Wolves reeled off their sixth win in a row on the road.
SATURDAY, FEB. 3
Monsters 9, Wolves 0: The Wolves fell on the road for the first time since Dec. 27 against the Admirals in Milwaukee.
First Star of the Week
NATHAN SUCESE, F
The 27-year-old from Fairport, N.Y. notched his second hat trick of the season to help lead the Wolves over the Monsters on Friday night. For the season, Sucese has 15 goals and 8 assists in 23 games.
Where we stand
16-19-3-2, fifth in the Central Division.
|Friday, Feb. 9
|UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
|Saturday, Feb. 10
|Tuesday, Feb. 13
|UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
|Friday, Feb. 16
|Saturday, Feb. 17