Hungry like the Wolves is an ongoing feature on Pass it to Bulis during the lockout, wherein we keep an eye on the Canucks prospects and property currently playing for the Wolves as it’s the closest thing we’re going to get to Canucks hockey for quite some time.
For the first time this season, the Wolves lost 3 games in a row. It may not have felt like it, however, since there was a week-long break between two of the games. Way, way back on November 9th, the Wolves lost 7-4 to the Milwaukee Admirals, with Eddie Lack getting pulled for the first time this season after allowing 4 goals on 13 shots. A week later, the Wolves played the Peoria Rivermen on back-to-back nights, losing both by the same 3-2 score.
Fortunately, a rematch versus Milwaukee turned out to be just what they needed (just what they needed!), as the Wolves defeated the Admirals 5-3 and snapped their brief losing streak.
The three-game dip dropped the Wolves to second in their division behind the Grand Rapids Griffins and seventh in the Western Conference. More importantly for Canucks fans, it coincided with the struggles of Zack Kassian who picked up just one point, an assist, in those four games, though he did only play in three of them due to his one-game suspension. Kassian now has 8 points in 14 games after leading the Wolves in scoring earlier in the season.
Here are the highlights, quotes, and notes from all four games:
November 9th: Wolves 4 – 7 Admirals
Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack (6-3-0) made 9 of 13 saves before being replaced by Matt Climie (12 of 15) at the start of the second period.
…the Wolves outworked the Milwaukee defense to set up Jordan Schroeder’s fourth score of the year, a rifle right past Hellberg’s glove.
Four different players scored for the Wolves as forwards Brett Sterling, Jordan Schroeder, Tim Miller and defenseman Mark Matheson lit the lamp for Chicago.
November 16th: Wolves 2 – 3 Rivermen (OT)
The Chicago Wolves scored two third-period goals in under 30 seconds to overcome a 2-0 deficit and force overtime, but they couldn’t hold off the Peoria Rivermen Friday night at Carver Arena, falling to host Peoria 3-2 in the extra frame.
First, Guillame Desbiens knocked a puck out of the air and into the Peoria net; and not thirty second later Kevin Connauton unleashed a shot from the top of the circle that was expertly tipped by Steve Pinizzotto for the game tying marker.
Easily the best Chicago line on Friday night was the top-line, featuring Darren Haydar, Andrew Ebbett and Steve Pinizzotto. Those three are all solid AHL veterans, and along with Lack their play was a lone bright spot in the first two periods for Chicago.
In contrast, the Jordan Schroeder, Zack Kassian line were very quiet all evening and struggled to develop much of anything with consistency on Friday.
Anton Rodin had a lovely power-play zone-entry in the second period, and followed it up with a really impressive deke while cutting into the slot. Occassionally his skill level is dazzling but those moments have been too few and far between for Rodin this season.
November 17th: Wolves 2 – 3 Rivermen
Steve Pinizzotto gave the Wolves an early 1-0 lead with this fourth goal in four games.
Late in that period it appeared the Wolves scored a power-play goal, but a video replay upheld the initial no-goal call. For a team that hasn’t scored more than two goals in five of their past seven games, it proved to be an important moment.
“We’ve got people who are squeezing their sticks to score goals,” coach Scott Arniel said. “We need more than just three or four guys scoring. We need goals by committee.”
Kassian created a nice scoring chance early in the first, as he put his (vastly underrated) hands on display. He created space behind the net, then took it to the other side for a wrap-around attempt that nearly resulted in a goal.
Kassian drew a 10-minute misconduct late in the 2nd, for unsportsmanlike conduct. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but apparently it was due to his reaction during a goal review that took place.
36: Thanks to a misconduct in the second period, and a roughing penalty which put a bow on the game, Kassian now leads the Wolves with 36 penalty minutes on the season. To put that in perspective, he had 82 PIMs in 74 games (between Buffalo, Vancouver and Rochester) last season.
November 20th: Wolves 5 – 3 Admirals
Left wing Brett Sterling scored two goals and handed out one assist as the Chicago Wolves snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Admirals at Allstate Arena.
Right wing Andrew Gordon, defenseman Mark Matheson and center Jordan Schroeder added tallies for the Wolves (8-5-2-0) while Anton Rodin handed out a professional-best three assists.
After Milwaukee’s Chris Mueller scored his first of two goals, Schroeder answered with a goal from the slot that required him to fall to his knees and elbows to complete his move.
It seems the Wolves’ fortunes are strongly tied to those of Jordan Schroeder, who is among their best skill players.
So it was no surprise that a 5-3 win over the Admirals included a strong performance by the 22-year-old center, including a spectacular second-period goal.
‘‘It feels good to find the score sheet,’’ Schroeder said. ‘‘I had to get back to some basic things and get some pucks on net. I got to give credit to my linemates Gordo [Andrew Gordon] and Kass [Zack Kassian] tonight. I thought we played great — moved the puck well, definitely got a lot of scoring opportunities. So it was good.”
Hungry like the Notes: