Last week, after two consecutive losses from the Chicago Wolves, a frustrated Ryan Warsofsky discussed his team’s lack of compete and poor play away from the puck. For a team that had relied on a high flying offense bailing them out of situations, finding themselves being suddenly stymied by the Grand Rapids Griffins appeared to come as a shock.
With a week in between games, the Wolves had a chance to work on the fundamentals, as well as adjusting to life without key players who have been called up to the NHL or a taxi squad. The hard work paid off with two decisive wins which highlighted what makes the Wolves great this season: skilled offense, stellar goaltending, and scoring from throughout the lineup.
Of course, it probably helps that the Wild are currently last in the Central Division, having won just three games so far this season. The Wolves lead the division with 21 points; the Texas Stars are a somewhat distant number two, with 16 points. While the post-season format — and indeed, if there will be a postseason at all — is still up in the air for the AHL, the Wolves are clearly running away from the rest of the pack, slightly less than halfway through the regular season.
Game 12: Chicago 4, Iowa 0
Goaltender Beck Warm, recently signed to an NHL deal by the Carolina Hurricanes, continued to impress in net, shutting the Wild out and improving his record to 5-1-0-1 this season. Warm had come close to notching his first shutout in previous wins, but always had the moment spoiled; not so this time, as the Wolves, and Warm, managed to keep the puck out of the net.
Nashville Predators prospect Tanner Jeannot, recently returned from playing his first NHL game, featured heavily on the score sheet for this game, recording a goal, assist, and a fight against veteran player Cody McLeod, who’s no stranger to the penalty box.
While the Wolves continue to take far too many penalties, their penalty kill showed up big in this game as the Wild went scoreless over seven power play opportunities. The Wolves also scored twice on the power play, making it (at that point) the third time this season that they’ve scored multiple times on the man advantage.
When your goaltender is rock-solid and your special teams are, well, special, then it makes for a heckuva @Hefty Highlight Reel.— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) March 14, 2021
ICYMI last night's 4-0 win over the Wild!#WeAreTheWolves pic.twitter.com/u8mRPp3Bai
Scoring: Tanner Jeannot, 1 G 1 A; Tommy Novak, 1 G 1 A; Sheldon Rempal, 1 G 1 A; Dominik Bokk, 1 G; David Warsofsky, 2 A; Cole Smith, 1 A; Max Lajoie, 1 A; Cavan Fitzgerald 1 A
In Net: Beck Warm, 1.000 Sv %, saved 31 of 31
Game 13: Chicago 6, Iowa 2
Jeannot continued his strong play with the Wolves, recording a goal and an assist, as did defenseman David Warsofsky, recently acquired by the Hurricanes in a trade.
Dominik Bokk scored in his third consecutive game, opening the scoring on the power play once again for the Wolves. While Bokk’s previous goals have highlighted the accuracy of his shot, this one also proved that he’s not just notable for his slick hands; he can score messy goals from up close, too.
Once again, special teams were a point of success for the Wolves. They were successful on all three penalty kills, making them 20-for-20 against the Wild so far this season. They also scored on three of their four power plays, giving them five power play goals total in this weekend’s set of games. Overall, the Wolves have eight power play goals against the Wild this season, a 42% conversion rate for their power play.
The Wolves play four more games against the Iowa Wild this season, just in case anyone’s keeping track.
Scoring: David Warsofsky, 1 G 2 A; Tanner Jeannot, 1 G 2 A; Max Lajoie, 1 G 1 A; Phil Tomasino, 1 G 1 A; Josh Healey, 1 G; Dominik Bokk, 1 G; Sheldon Rempal, 2 A; Cole Smith, 1 A; Spencer Smallman, 1 A; Tommy Novak, 1 A; Lukas Craggs, 1 A
In Net: Jeremy Helvig, 0.935 Sv %, saved 29 of 31