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Wolves Weekly: Don’t Stop Now!

In this week’s Wolves Weekly, we examine a successful weekend for Chicago, some roster moves, a birthday, and more!

Wolves Weekly Chicago Wolves
Photo: Danny Schwartz/On Tap Sports Net

Entering the middle of January, the Chicago Wolves are the hottest team in professional hockey. It doesn’t matter if it’s the AHL, NHL, or ECHL, the Wolves are rolling at the right time. In fact, the Wolves have won 15 of their last 16 games after their win on NHL Network Wednesday night.

Entering the January 14th weekend, the Wolves are set for three games in four days. Chicago plays the Iowa Wild in a Friday/Saturday back-to-back in Iowa then ventures to Rockford for a matinee matchup on Monday. However, before the Wolves take the ice in Iowa, let’s recap the happenings in the world of Wolves hockey.

Four Games, Three Wins

Over the past six days or so, the Wolves played four games, including a three-in-three over the weekend. Friday night’s matchup with the IceHogs was a forgettable one, as Rockford throttled the Wolves 8-0. Although the winning streak ended, the Wolves rebounded nicely on Saturday and Sunday, defeating the Wild 6-2 and the Cleveland Monsters 4-3, respectively.

Following a successful weekend, the Wolves shutout the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0 at Allstate Arena on Wednesday. The shutout on Wednesday was the first of goalie Daniel Mannella‘s career. It was an incredible display for the 23-5-1-1 and AHL leading Chicago Wolves.

Rockford is always a team that plays the Wolves tough and matches their style well. However, there are few teams in the AHL that have shown they can run with the firepower the Wolves possess.

Lots of Roster Moves

Due to injuries in Carolina and injuries in Chicago, the Wolves have had a flurry of new names showing on the roster at times recently. In the last handful of days, the Wolves and Hurricanes have made a ton of roster moves. We’ll break them down in a few subcategories.

PTO’s

Following his shutout on Wednesday, goaltender Daniel Mannella and fellow goalie Michael Lackey were released from their PTO’s. In addition, defenseman Marcus McIvor was also released from his PTO.

These moves occurred due to a series of other moves. Alex Lyon has been returned to the Wolves from the Hurricanes, Kyle Marino has been recalled from Idaho of the ECHL, and goalie Dylan Wells will get a chance in Chicago after playing with ECHL affiliate Norfolk.

Joey Keane

Sadly for the Wolves and their fans, defenseman Joey Keane has been assigned to the Hurricanes’ taxi squad. Despite the loss for the Wolves, it is an incredible opportunity for Keane personally. If another injury or COVID-19 case plagues Carolina’s blue line, Keane will get another shot at the NHL level.

In 29 games with the Wolves this season, Keane has tallied 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) while carrying a +7 plus/minus. Keane has been one of the staples for the Wolves since their affiliation with Carolina began in 2020-21. The Chicago native has been one of the numerous bright spots for the league’s best team.

Stephen Harper Trade

Although a move that flies under the radar, ECHL/AHL journeyman Stephen Harper has been traded by the Wolves to the Tucson Roadrunners. The Roadrunners are affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes. Harper might get a better chance in Tucson to earn more regular playing time at the AHL level. Harper was traded for future considerations.

Harper has only appeared in six AHL games with the Wolves this season and has failed to appear on the scoresheet.

Happy Birthday, Captain!

Although January 14 means a matchup between the Wolves and Wild, it also signifies a special day for the Wolves’ captain. Andrew Poturalski is celebrating his 28th birthday!

Poturalski leads the AHL in points by a comfortable margin. In just 27 games this season, the Williamsville, New York native has 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) and has 11 more points than the six players tied for second in league scoring. If he can keep this pace up, he’ll be in the conversation for AHL MVP come season’s end.

What’s On Tap Next?

As noted earlier, the Wolves are in Iowa for two games on Friday, January 14 and Saturday, January 15. Both games this weekend are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST. Then, on Monday, the Wolves are in Rockford playing the IceHogs on Martin Luther King Day for an early 1:00 p.m. CST start. Three wins over this long weekend will really widen the Wolves’ lead in the Central Division.

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Work as an accountant by day. Huge Chicago sports fan. Played college football and only wish I could skate well enough to play hockey. Twitter: @rnldluce Instagram: @rnldluce

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