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RECAP: Wolves Drop Second Straight, Lose to Monsters 3-1

The Wolves dropped their second straight game in as many days to the Monsters 3-1. Poor play was the theme for the Wolves all weekend.
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Chicago Wolves

Photo: Chicago Wolves

Less than 24 hours after the Wolves' disappointing loss to the Monsters in a shootout, the same two teams squared off again on Saturday afternoon. The Wolves needed a more complete game on Saturday if they had any hope of splitting the weekend series with Cleveland.

During last night's game, the Carolina Hurricanes announced they signed goalie Beck Warm to a two-year, two-way contract. Warm was on an AHL deal entering the 2021 season.

With Warm starting a day after earning a new contract, the Wolves looked to keep his record perfect, as Warm entered Saturday 4-0 this season.

First Period

Saturday's contest was a much closer affair in the first ten minutes than Friday was. The Wolves dominated the first half of the opening period Friday night, outshooting their opponent 13-1. However, Saturday was a much different story, as both teams were even in the shot count.

Although the game was close, the Monsters drew first blood. Adam Helewka scored his second goal in as many days on a redirect to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead at the 10:57 mark. Trey Fix-Wolansky and Andrew Peeke picked up the assists.

The Monsters weren't done in the first period. Dillon Simpson, the Cleveland defenseman, scored his second goal of the season to extend the Monsters' lead. Simpson played a forward position on Saturday due to the number of COVID-19 cases and injuries impacting the Monsters' roster.

Tyler Angle picked up his first AHL assist and Gavin Bayreuther picked up his third assist of the season on the Simpson goal.

Shots were even at 12 apiece heading into the first intermission, despite the Monsters leading on the scoreboard.

Second Period

The middle frame continued to have the same feel as the first period did. By the end of the period, both teams were still tied in shots on goal, each team adding 15 for a total of 27 through two periods.

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Each team had a power play chance, with the Wolves power play coming just 26 seconds into the period. The Wolves were forced to kill two penalties of their own, but were successful both times. Neither team tallied on the man advantage.

As time was winding down, Lucas Craggs found Sean Malone, setting up an incredible chance for the Wolves. Malone dangled his way through traffic, finding Dominik Bokk backdoor with a backhand pass for a wide open goal. The tally was Bokk's first North-American goal of his career.

There certainly could have been more scoring in the period, however both goaltenders were sensational for their respective clubs. The Wolves entered second intermission hoping to find a way to take the lead in the third.

Third Period

The third period was not what the Wolves were hoping for after inching closer during the second. The Wolves paced play, outshooting the Monsters 16-7 in the final stanza. That said, goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks stood on his head, denying the Wolves any opportunity to come back in this game.

To add insult to injury, the Wolves committed a single penalty in the third period, and that power play is what put this contest out of reach. Off a Cliff Pu face-off win in the Wolves zone, Tyler Angle found the loose puck and fired home his second goal in as many pro games. Angle was sensational for the Monsters the last two games, tallying three points in his AHL debut series.

The Wolves comeback effort fell short and the Cleveland Monsters took Saturday's game 3-1. The weekend was a clean sweep for the visitors.

Analysis

After Friday's game, Wolves Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky expressed his displeasure with his team's effort in their shootout loss. Today, the Wolves did not respond well, showing a similar effort and losing to a shorthanded Monsters team. Coach Warsofsky harped on the Wolves need to improve their play without the puck, once again that issue persisted on Saturday.

The bright spots of today's game were Sean Malone, Dominik Bokk, and Beck Warm. Malone made an incredible play, by far the best of the game, setting up Bokk for his first North-American goal. Bokk will likely see his name on the scoresheet more often now that the Wolves are without some of their top players.

Beck Warm was fantastic for the Wolves, stopping 31 of 34 shots he faced. Unfortunately, Warm was outplayed by his Monsters counterpart, as Kivlenieks stopped 42 of the 43 shots he faced on Saturday. Despite the loss, Warm is very deserving of the two-year, two-way contract he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday.

The Wolves have a lot of time to clean up some things before their next time. Based on Coach's feelings about his team's play, they'll likely be working incredibly hard in practice this week.

What's On Tap Next?

The Wolves are off until March 13, when they travel to Des Moines, Iowa to face the Iowa Wild. The Wolves will play two games in Iowa, with Saturday's game starting at 6:00 PM CST and Sunday's game beginning at 3:00 PM CST.