Another weekend, another full slate of Chicago Wolves hockey. The Wolves ventured down to Texas to square-off with the Stars for three games in four days. In those three games, the Wolves scored 19 goals en route to the three-game sweep.
The Wolves entered the weekend riding a six-game win streak. In the team's last ten games following the three wins this weekend, the team is 9-0-0-1. The lone shootout loss in their last ten games came back on November 20 against the Rockford IceHogs.
After a successful weekend that also saw Andrew Poturalski win AHL Player of the Week, let's dive in to the three games.
Thursday, December 9: Wolves 8, Stars 4
Thursday's game opened in ridiculous fashion down in Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas, and the amount of scoring was no different. In the first 3:36 of the game, each team tallied two goals. For the Wolves, C.J. Smith and Poturalski scored at 0:33 and 3:05, respectively. As for the Stars, Josh Melnick and Riley Damiani scored at 2:47 and 3:36 in the first period.
Despite the early back-and-forth, the Wolves took the lead at the 6:16 mark of the opening frame. Jack Drury cleaned up a loose puck in front of the Texas net and potted his fifth goal of the season to give the Wolves a 3-2 lead.
Despite the lead, the Stars answered back before the end of the first. Anthony Louis, a former Rockford IceHog, tallied his sixth of the season to tie the game 3-3.
The second period was almost as eventful as the first. C.J. Smith tallied his second goal of the game just 24 seconds in to give the Wolves a lead. However, a Ty Dellandrea goal tied the game once again at the 11:42 mark of the period. That said, the Wolves took over and put the game out of reach.
Three goals in under six minutes opened the game up. Josh Leivo and Joey Keane tallied their fourth and second goals, respectively, of the season and Smith's hat trick goal gave the Wolves a 7-4 lead entering the second intermission.
Leivo's second goal of the evening in the final five minutes of the third period capped off an impressive 8-4 win for the Wolves. The win marked the team's seventh in a row with two more games against the Stars scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, December 11: Wolves 4, Stars 3 (OT)
Saturday's affair proved to be much closer than Thursday's three-game set opener. Although the Wolves dominated shots on goal and the scoreboard on Thursday, Saturday proved to be an even matchup. That said, it was the Wolves who struck first when Poturalski scored on the powerplay.
Ty Dellandrea tallied again in the three-game set to tie the game at 16:08. Following the first period, there was a notable trend. Each team scored a goal in each period. The second period featured goals from Stefan Noesen for the Wolves and Riley Damiani for the Stars. In the third, it was C.J. Smith and Curtis McKenzie for their teams, respectively.
Three periods wasn't enough as the Wolves and Stars went into overtime. However, during extra time, Stefan Noesen's second of the game capped of the overtime win for the visitors. The Wolves captured the 4-3 OT win in game two of the weekend sequence.
Sunday, December 12: Wolves 7, Stars 2
After Saturday's game ended in electric fashion, the Wolves were more interested in making Sunday's game more like Thursday's outcome. Fortunately for Chicago, it played out that way. Although the Stars struck first thanks to Ben Gleason, the Wolves evened the score with Jack Drury's sixth of the season at 13:20.
The second period featured a pair of goals from Stefan Noesen, who continues to heat up along with his fellow linemates. In the third period though, the Wolves broke the game open, outscoring the Stars 4-1 in the final period.
Josh Jacobs led the third period scoring off for the Wolves. Soon after, Drury tallied his second of the game to continue padding the lead. Although Rhett Gardner tallied at 12:03 on a penalty shot, the Wolves tacked on two more to close the game from Poturalski and Spencer Smallman. The Wolves pulled out yet another victory, extending their streak to nine straight wins.
What a weekend for the Chicago Wolves. Andrew Poturalski continued his incredible pace with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the three games over the weekend. In addition, Josh Leivo added nine points (two goals, seven assists), Noesen added seven points (four goals, three assists), and Jack Drury added five points (three goals, two assists). This doesn't include solid offensive performances from Joey Keane and C.J. Smith. Keane had four points (one goal, three assists) and Smith had four goals as well as two assists. Dominance was the word to describe this three-game set.
The Wolves are clicking at the right time. Although players are interchanging throughout the lineup due to some COVID-19 problems with the Hurricanes, the team's depth is shining bright and carrying the load. Currently, the Wolves' top line occupies three of the top six spots in league scoring, with Smith and Poturalski as the top two. Noesen currently sits in sixth with 24 points. The entire team is clicking, in addition to receiving fantastic goaltending from Eetu Makiniemi and Alex Lyon.
The Wolves are on the right path. This will be a fun season, as long as COVID-19 doesn't hurt the Hurricanes or Wolves too much.
What's On Tap Next?
The Wolves are back at Allstate Arena on Thursday, December 16. It will be one of those exciting 11:00 a.m. starts against the Manitoba Moose this week.