The Chicago Wolves were busy over the weekend, playing their first three-in-three sequence of the season. With three games in three days, the depth was going to be tested for the Wolves. The Wolves opened the set in Rockford playing the IceHogs before they returned home for two games with the Toronto Marlies at Allstate Arena.
Despite entering the weekend with a sensational 6-2-0 record, the Wolves left the weekend 7-3-1. Their 1-1-1 record over the weekend was still enough to hang on to the top spot in the division. That said, the Iowa Wild have made up ground and are now tied with Chicago for the top spot in the Central.
Despite the .500 weekend, the Wolves did a lot of good over the course of their first three-in-three. The Wolves can certainly build on that, along with the two-day rest, when they travel to Grand Rapids on Wednesday.
Friday, November 12: Wolves 4, IceHogs 1
The Wolves entered Friday with plenty of momentum, as well as looking for some revenge. The Wolves’ first loss of the season came at the hand of the IceHogs at Allstate Arena. On Friday, it was the first chance for the Wolves to return the favor at BMO Harris Bank Center.
The first period was all Wolves. Three first period goals were more than enough to effectively put the game out of reach. The first goal of the game came within the first minute of play as the captain, Andrew Poturalski, tallied his sixth goal of the season.
Later in the period, the power play struck for Chicago. At exactly the 11-minute mark of the period, Stefan Noesen potted his third of the campaign, and extended the Wolves lead to two goals. Noesen picked up an assist on the Potrualski marker, giving him two points early in the game. Later, Eric Gelinas tallied his second of the season to expand the lead to three. The Wolves scored three times on 16 opening frame shots while allowing just one shot on Eetu Makiniemi in the first 20 minutes.
Despite a lack of scoring for either team in the middle frame, the third period saw the IceHogs strike first. NHL veteran Brett Connolly tallied his fourth goal of the year on the power play. It took until the 16:31 mark of the third before there was additional scoring action. However, just over a minute later, Maxim Letunov scored on the empty net to put the game away for the Wolves.
Two assists from Max Lajoie and Noesen’s third multi-point effort of the season guided the Wolves to their seventh victory of the season, with quality momentum heading into their back-to-back home games against Toronto.
Saturday, November 13: Marlies 5, Wolves 1
Although the Wolves captured a victory on Friday, the momentum appeared to be in the Marlies favor on Saturday. The visitors wasted no time getting the party started on Saturday night. At the 2:29 mark, Bobby McMann’s second goal of the season gave the Marlies the early lead. Roughly two and a half minutes later, the Marlies padded their lead. Kurtis Gabriel’s first of the season gave Toronto life and forced the Wolves to dig out of a hole for the rest of the game.
However, roughly five minutes later, the Wolves cut into the deficit. Sam Miletic’s first goal as a member of the Wolves at the 9:28 mark made things interesting. The Wolves entered the first intermission trailing by one goal. Unfortunately, that was as close as they would get all night.
A pair of goals from Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Marc Michaelis in the middle frame, and an additional marker from Pavel Gogolev in the third sealed the win for the Marlies. Despite the Wolves outshooting the visitors 39-25, Erik Kallgren stood tall for the Marlies while Beck Warm struggled a bit for the Wolves.
Sunday, November 14: Marlies 2, Wolves 1
The Wolves entered Sunday with intentions of avenging their tough loss on Saturday night. With Sunday’s puck drop coming less than 24 hours after Saturday’s, the Wolves needed a good effort on short rest.
Early on, it looked like the Wolves had the energy needed to come away with a win. Before the end of the first period, Maxim Letunov tallied on the power play to give the Wolves the early 1-0 advantage entering the break. However, the Wolves’ lead didn’t last long, as the Marlies, courtesy of Curtis Douglas, tied the game at the 4:25 mark.
Neither team found the back of the net in the third period, so overtime was required to determine a winner. Just when it looked like a shootout was necessary, the Marlies scored. With two seconds left on the clock in overtime, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev scored his second goal in as many games against the Wolves, giving the Marlies the weekend sweep in Chicago.
Although Eetu Makiniemi was really good on Sunday, his 25 saves on 27 shots were not enough. Michael Hutchinson shined in net for Toronto, stopping 37 of the 38 pucks he faced. The Wolves brought a good effort, but Toronto took Sunday’s game.
Despite losing twice over the weekend, the Wolves finished 1-1-1, capturing three of a possible six points in their first three-in-three.
The Wolves struggled against a pretty good Toronto team on Saturday. It was bound to happen. That said, based on patterns, it was the most likely game for them to lose in regulation. All three of the Wolves’ regulation losses this season have come on Saturdays. Is it irony? Maybe, but its certainly an interesting pattern to keep an eye on.
There were some encouraging tidbits over the weekend. For starters, Jamieson Rees returned from injury and was assigned to Chicago by Carolina. He tallied his first assist on Letunov’s goal in Sunday’s overtime loss. In addition, Eetu Makiniemi was splendid in his two starts and continues to look like a quality starting goalie for the Wolves this season.
In addition, Maxim Letunov deserves a round of applause. The forward tallied two goals and an assist over the weekend and showcases the level of depth the Wolves have. They have more than one line that can score, and if they have any interest in competing for a Calder Cup, they’ll need that level of depth scoring to get there.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Wolves will take on the Grand Rapids Griffins in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, November 17. Set your alarms Wolves fans, as Wednesday’s puck drop is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. CST. The players, fans, and media will need some early morning coffee in preparation for the early puck drop on AHL TV.
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