After finally losing their first game on Friday night, the Wolves entered Sunday’s matchup looking for revenge. The Griffins defeated the Wolves 4-1 in Grand Rapids on Friday night, handing the Wolves their first loss of the 2021 season. On Sunday, the Wolves returned home to Triphahn Ice Arena seeking their eighth win in nine games.
The Wolves set the tempo early in Sunday’s contest, tallying the first goal of the game just 48 seconds in. Philip Tomasino received a pass from Frederic Allard and buried it for his fourth goal of the season. The early lead gave the Wolves plenty of life that lasted throughout the contest.
The Wolves held on to the lead for the first half of the period. However, the one Achilles heel for the Wolves all game was the penalty kill. On the Griffins’ first power play of the day, Taro Hirose tallied his first goal of the season, tying the game.
Despite losing the lead, the Wolves had little trouble answering the Griffins. Just over two minutes after the Griffins tied the game, the Wolves tallied on a power play of their own. Rem Pitlick set up Jeremy Davies for a shot from the point. The puck found twine thanks to Jamieson Rees, as the big winger tipped home Davies’ shot to re-capture the lead.
Jamieson Rees wasn’t done, just three minutes later he showed off his excellent hands as he dangled Griffins’ goaltender Pat Nagle for his second of the game and third of the season.
The theme in Sunday’s game was back and forth. Sticking with the theme, the Griffins struck back when Dennis Cholowski threw a wrister from the point toward Beck Warm. Warm couldn’t see the puck thanks to a Michael Rasmussen screen, giving Cholowski his third goal of the season and cutting the Wolves lead to just one goal.
Although the Griffins answered late, the Wolves still held their 3-2 lead as the first period concluded. The Wolves looked much better in the first period Sunday compared to Friday, outshooting the Griffins 13-9 in the period.
The first period had plenty of action, but the middle frame didn’t disappoint either. Just over three minutes into the second, the Wolves added to their lead. Youngsters Seth Jarvis and Ryan Suzuki set up defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald at the right wing circle, aiding the fourth year pro to pick up his third goal of the season.
Minutes later, it appeared as if the Wolves added a fifth goal as Jarivs found the back of the net. However, the whistle blew before the goal counted because Dominic Turgeon and Josh Healey dropped the gloves at the 8:53 mark.
Rather than feeling robbed and deflated, Seth Jarvis made sure he scored his seventh goal of the season. Only 14 seconds after the fight, Jarvis tallied his seventh goal of the season and 11th point to extend the Wolves lead to three.
Remember the back and forth? The Griffins added their second power play goal of the afternoon as Kyle Criscuolo tallied his third goal of the season, cutting into the Wolves lead. Ironically, all three of Criscuolo’s goals have come on the power play, against the Wolves, and at Triphahn Ice Arena. It’s safe to say he’s enjoying playing in Hoffman Estates this year.
As a Joey Keane delay of game penalty ended, the Wolves found themselves heading up ice on an odd man rush. Without hesitation, Rem Pitlick buried his league leading eighth goal of the season after Sheldon Rempal found Pitlick back door with a beautiful pass.
The Wolves held off the Griffins, taking their 6-3 lead into the second intermission. Although the Griffins were down, they stormed back in the second period and dictated play, outshooting the Wolves 13-10 in the middle frame.
The Griffins kept their momentum going once again on the power play. Just over two minutes into the third period, Riley Barber tallied his fifth goal of the season, opening the scoring for the frame. The tally was the third goal the Wolves game up on the penalty kill, as the unit finished the game 1-for-4.
The 6-4 score didn’t last long though. Roughly three minutes after the Griffins added their fourth tally, the Wolves added their seventh goal of the game. In his first game since swapping places with Tanner Jeannot on the Nashville Predators roster, Sean Malone tallied his first AHL goal of the season and gave the Wolves another three-goal cushion. David Cotton and Anthony Richard picked up assists on the tally.
The tally originally looked like it could be Richard’s, but the goal was officially credited to Malone.
The score remained the same for most of the period. As a cherry on top, the Wolves added their eighth marker of the game on the power play with 11 seconds remaining. David Cotton picked up his fourth goal of the season with help from Joey Keane and Anthony Richard. The Wolves rebounded nicely after Friday’s loss, capturing Sunday’s game by a final of 8-4.
The Wolves improved to 8-1-0-0 with the win on Sunday. The Wolves are set to play two games with the Cleveland Monsters on Friday and Saturday, but have 11 off days in the next 13 days.
The Wolves proved they are indeed one of the league’s best, rebounding nicely against the same Griffins team that handed them their first loss of the season on Friday night. The team play much better and controlled the pace for most of the game. The Griffins kept it interesting, as they’re still a very fast and talented team, but the Wolves continually responded when the Griffins found any type of momentum on Sunday afternoon.
Jamieson Rees played “his best game of the season” per Coach Ryan Warsofsky. Rees tallied his second and third goals of the season during Sunday’s first period. His first goal was an excellent tip on Jeremy Davies’ point shot, but the second goal allowed Rees to show off the talent he truly has. His dangle in tight on Nagle was impressive, and something that is incredibly difficult to do. Assuming the Jarvis, Tomasino, Suzuki trio will have to return to their respective junior teams soon, Rees should have plenty of opportunities to flourish the remainder of the season.
Seth Jarvis, Philip Tomasino, and Ryan Suzuki played great games as well on Sunday. Jarvis was Sunday’s second star with a goal and an assist, good for his 10th and 11th points of the season. He is now the league leader in points as a rookie. Tomasino added the opening goal after missing two games with an injury and Suzuki picked up an assist. Suzuki nearly had a breakaway goal as well. These youngsters are continually showing why the NHL/CHL agreement is garbage.
The Wolves are the league’s hottest team. With three players already having double digit points this season, and at the top of the league scoring lists, the Wolves are cruising through the shortened 2021 season.