The Wolves had a rocky weekend in their two-game set with the Cleveland Monsters last week. However, a shutout win in Iowa on Saturday night set the Wolves up for a chance at four points in less than 24 hours.
The Wolves looked to follow up their 4-0 win against Iowa with another. A big game from Beck Warm and a gritty performance by the entire Wolves team set the tone for the weekend. Could the Wolves continue their dominance in game two?
The first period had good tempo from the start. Both teams settled in quickly, trading chances in the opening minutes.
The Wolves received a power play after a Damien Giroux slashing penalty early in the period. Luckily for the Wolves, they made the Wild pay.
At the 3:01 mark of the period, Dominik Bokk scored his third goal in as many games. That said, it wasn’t just Bokk’s third goal in three games, it was also the third straight game in which Bokk opened the scoring. Tanner Jeannot and David Warsofsky assisted on the play.
Saturday night’s game was filled with chippy plays, and that continued on Sunday. Josh Healey and Mason Shaw earned penalties due to some shenanigans, leading to four-on-four action. Later in the period, Brandon Hickey and Mitch McLain exchanged blows as well.
Unfortunately as the period ticked away, the Wild struck back. At 13:46, Damien Giroux found the loose puck and roofed it over goalie Jeremy Helvig’s shoulder to tie the game. The marker was Giroux’s third of the season and was assisted by Jarrett Burton and Ryan O’Rourke.
That said, the Wolves were blessed with a Wild too many men penalty with a minute remaining in the period. On the ensuing power play, David Warsofsky, younger brother of Wolves’ Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky, scored his first goal of the season to put the Wolves in front heading into the first intermission.
The Wolves entered the period with the lead, and the Wild trailed in shots on net 6-9 after 20 minutes.
Before fans could return from the concession stands, the action was picking up. The Wolves quickly went on the penalty kill after a Philip Tomasino hooking penalty. That said, it wasn’t the Wild who scored during the man advantage.
While shorthanded, Tanner Jeannot brought the puck up ice for the Wolves. He made an excellent move to dip around the defender, and stuffed the puck home for his fifth goal of the season. The Wolves took a 3-1 lead after Jeannot’s marker.
The Wolves added another score roughly three minutes later. Max Lajoie joined the play and delivered his second goal of the season to extend the Wolves lead to three. Lukas Craggs and Spencer Smallman picked up the helpers. Smallman’s assist was his first of the year.
Despite the early dominance for the Wolves in the second period, the Wild shifted the momentum back in their favor. The Wild ended up outshooting the Wolves 14-9 in the middle frame. However, before the period ended the Wild cut into the Wolves’ lead.
After spending majority of the season with the Minnesota Wild, Gerry Mayhew was returned to Iowa just a few games ago. After leading the AHL with 39 tallies a season ago, Mayhew found the back of the net for his first of the new campaign, giving the Wild life.
A stronger middle frame from the Wild pushed the score to 4-2 after 40 minutes of play. The Wild’s onslaught certainly made things interesting as the game entered the third period.
Although the Wild pressed entering the third period, the Wolves took over the game early. At the 2:40 mark of the period, tough guy Josh Healey scored his first goal of the season. His shot from the high slot snuck in behind Hunter Jones, and Jones did the rest, kicking the puck into the net.
Rempal and Cole Smith picked up the helpers on Healey’s first of the season.
Near the middle of the period, the Wolves struck again on the power play. After Jeannot and Warsofsky touched the puck, Philip Tomasino ripped a beautiful shot top shelf. The puck bounced in off of Jones’ back to give Tomasino his fifth of the season.
There were two more fights in the third period, as Josh Atkinson and Josh Healey duked it out at the 8:35 mark and Anthony Richard tustled with Calen Addison at the 9:53 mark. Today’s contest was incredibly physical.
The Wolves held on for the 6-2 victory. The Wolves’ 10th win of the season in 13 games means Ryan Warsofsky is the fastest Wolves’ coach to ten victories in a season.
After Saturday’s physical battle, Sunday’s game did not disappoint. Multiple fights and plenty of fireworks after the whistle made for an intense duel in Iowa. That said, the Wolves were the better team by far, securing the 6-2 win and four points in a 24-hour span.
Tanner Jeannot and David Warsofsky were excellent on Sunday, as both picked up a goal and two assists in the win. Jeannot’s three-point effort gives him the team lead in scoring with 13 points in eight games. As for Warsofsky, his goal is the first of the season and his first with the Wolves.
Dominik Bokk continued his hot streak as well, scoring his third straight goal in three games to open the scoring. Now that some players are missing from this roster, Bokk has stepped up to help fill the scoring void left by players such as Rem Pitlick and Seth Jarvis.
In a six-goal effort, its easy to forget about goaltending. However, Jeremy Helvig stepped up on Sunday, stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced. Helvig has now won four straight starts for the Wolves, tying teammate Beck Warm for the best stretch by any goaltender this season.
If the Wolves continue to play the way they did this weekend in Iowa, the Wolves will dominate the Central Division for the remainder of their schedule.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Wolves are off until Friday, March 19 when they travel to Grand Rapids for two games with the Griffins. Puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 PM CST on Friday night.