After a mid-week game for the Wolves last week, there was not a Wolves Weekly. Despite the lack of this new publication, you can check out the game recap from the Wolves' 3-0 win in Grand Rapids.
The Chicago Wolves are hot, having won five straight games after dropping their home opener to the Rockford IceHogs. As a part of that streak, the Wolves swept their three-game road trip by defeating Milwaukee and Grand Rapids on Friday and Sunday, respectively, after Wednesday's win. Now, the Wolves roll into this weekend with a chance to make it seven straight wins with home games against the Admirals and Manitoba Moose.
That said, let's dive into the happenings within the world of Wolves hockey this week.
A Storm is Coming
As the Wolves' Twitter account shared on Tuesday, the Wolves will be wearing their new 'Storm' alternate jerseys on Sunday against the Admirals. The uniforms are in honor of the team's partnership with the Hurricanes, who have made the 'Storm Surge' a significant part of their home game day experience. The Wolves have introduced their own 'Storm' in form of their beautiful alternates.
Sunday's matchup will be the first for the new 'Storm' jerseys, but the fourth matchup between the Wolves and Admirals. In fact, after Sunday, the Wolves won't see the Admirals again until mid-December for a home-and-home on December 17 and 18.
As noted in the tweet above, Wolves fans can scoop up their new 'Storm' gear at the link or on the team's website.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Last week, Wolves' captain Andrew Poturalski was named AHL Player of the Week. Poturalski recorded a staggering nine points (four goals, five assists) in only three games. The reigning AHL leading scorer capped off his impressive week with a hat trick in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Griffins.
In addition, Poturalski is off to an incredibly hot start. In just six games this season, he paces the league with 14 points (five goals, nine assists). The 27-year-old forward is leading by example for the Wolves, helping the team sit atop the Central Division early this season.
However, Poturalski isn't the only player dominating this season. The captain's fellow winger, C.J. Smith, has been equally as impressive. He's off to a hot start with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the team's first six games, good for second in the AHL.
Over the last week, the Wolves played three games on the road. They started the trip with a 3-0 win over the Griffins in Grand Rapids, before venturing to Milwaukee on Friday. Friday's win required a comeback, but the Wolves pulled it out after trailing 2-1, ultimately reigning victorious, 4-2. The Wolves followed that up with a 6-3 win in their return to Grand Rapids on Sunday.
As mentioned, Potrualski and Smith were massive bright spots over the last handful of games. However, players such as David Gust and Jack Drury are worth mentioning as well.
Officially, Jack Drury had his best game of the season on Wednesday. After originally crediting the first goal of the game to C.J. Smith, the AHL changed the ruling and gave the tally to Drury for his first professional goal. In addition, he tallied late in the game to put the contest out of reach.
Orland Park, IL native David Gust is also off to a nice start to the season. With four points (two goals, two assists) in five games, Gust is currently fourth on the team in points. He only trails the aforementioned Poturalski and Smith, as well as Stefan Noesen. Gust scored in Wednesday's win and added an assist on Friday.
3-0, 1.68 goals-against average, and a .947 save percentage. That is the stats that rookie netminder Eetu Makiniemi has posted so far this season. Yes, its early. However, the Finnish-born netminder has been astonishing for the Wolves. He and fellow goalie Alex Lyon have effectively split the season so far, but there is a chance that Maikiniemi plays himself into the No. 1 role rather quickly.
A perfect example of Makiniemi's dominance was Wednesday's game. Although he saw most of the shots in the first 40 minutes cleanly, the Wolves' goalie had to make some impressive saves to keep the Wolves ahead in the third period, and ultimately preserve his shutout. In fact, Maikniemi joins some pretty elite company with his success through the first two games (and now three) with the Wolves.
Keep an eye on Eetu Makiniemi this season. Wolves fans may be in for a real treat watching his development in his first North American season.
What's On Tap Next?
The Wolves return to Allstate Arena for two games this coming weekend. On Saturday, the Wolves host the Manitoba Moose for a Saturday night showdown. On Sunday, the Wolves have their fourth date with the Milwaukee Admirals in a classic Sunday matinee in Rosemont. Puck drops for both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CDT and 3:00 p.m. CST, respectively. Don't forget the time change!