Game 7: Chicago Wolves 5, Cleveland Monsters 2
Many of the more experienced, veteran players brought in over the off-season for the Wolves have been frustratingly quiet so far. That’s been an issue for a team heavy on youth that’s been struggling to score. When no one’s producing, you expect your veteran players to stand up and lead the way.
Brendan Perlini, veteran of 262 NHL games, finally answered that call.
Perlini’s hat trick — with goals scored early in the first, late in the first, and early in the second — helped propel the Wolves to victory over Cleveland. This was another game in which the Wolves were outshot by their opponent in the double digits: 41 shots for Cleveland as compared to 26 for Chicago.
Perlini’s first goal came off of a carry-in by Jack Drury, who crossed the blue line and found David Farrance coming down the middle. Farrance then passed to Perlini as they both converged on Monsters goaltender Pavel Cajan.
The Monsters then however, tied the game slightly over halfway into the first period. Two late penalties by the Monsters, taken just six seconds apart, gave the Wolves nearly a full two minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage. It took nearly the whole power play, but Perlini eventually capitalized for his second of the game. This was just the third power play goal of the season and the first since they scored two goals with the advantage on October 22 against Rockford.
In case you missed this Brendan Perlini goal (2/3). pic.twitter.com/YUL1wSII2x— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) November 5, 2022
The Monsters tied the game up just 1:42 into the second period, but the Wolves took the lead back less than 20 seconds later when Farrance scored his second of the season. The Wolves managed to survive the rest of the second period, including two straight peanties midway through the period. The Wolves limited the Monsters to just two shots on each power play.
Perlini completed the hat trick at 3:36 in the second period. A long pass from out of the Wolves’ defensive zone helped send the team up the ice on an odd man rush. The Wolves swarmed the net, allowing Perlini to lift the puck into the net. The hat trick was the first of the Wolves season and the second of Perlini’s AHL career.
And then also this Brendan Perlini goal (3/3) pic.twitter.com/sAW3xQpdJ0— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) November 5, 2022
Of note: this game was the first game in which Anttoni Honka didn’t record a point, ending a six-game points streak for the rookie defenseman.
Additionally, while the Wolves have had a few different players wear letters this season, they had not officially named a captain yet. At various points this season, Max Lajoie, Jack Drury, Mackenzie MacEachern, Ryan Dzingel, William Lagesson, and Joseph LaBate have all worn letters for the team. At this game, Max Lajoie appeared wearing the C for the first time.
Annnnd anyone notice anything... different about Max Lajoie's fit tonight— Chicago Wolves (@Chicago_Wolves) November 5, 2022
(Hint: it's the C☺️) pic.twitter.com/rlcyP3GCFA
Scoring: Brendan Perlini, 3 G, 1 A; David Farrance, 1 G, 1 A; Joseph LaBate, 1 G, 1 A; Jack Drury, 1 A; William Lagesson, 1 A; Jamieson Rees, 1 A; Tuukka Tieksola, 1 A; Josh Melnick, 1 A; Max Lajoie, 1 A; Eric Cooley, 1 A
In net: Pyotr Kochetkov, saved 39 of 41, 0.951 sv%
Game 8: Chicago Wolves 2, Cleveland Monsters 4
The Wolves’ attempt to gain momentum off of Perlini’s hat trick fell short the next night in Cleveland. For the third consecutive game, the Wolves were outshot by double digits, particularly noticeable in a second period which saw the Wolves register five shots to 16 from the Monsters.
The Wolves started strong, with Jamieson Rees opening the scoring with a power play goal just about halfway through the first. Rees was occupying his usual net-front position and tipped in a shot from David Farrance.
Emil Bemstrom tied the game midway through the first on a power play goal of his own. This was the first goal the Wolves have given up on the kill since October 25 against Texas. Bemstrom, currently called up to the NHL, shares the lead league in points, with 14 this season so far.
The Monsters scored a second power play goal early in the second. Rookie Kirill Marchenko recorded his sixth goal of the season; he is currently second in rookie scoring in the AHL with 12 points in 10 games. Jamieson Rees, serving a penalty for high-sticking at the time, voiced his displeasure with the sequence as he returned to the bench, and was eventually assessed a 10-minute misconduct penalty for abuse of officials for protesting a bit too emphatically.
Bemstrom scored again early in the third period for his second goal and third point of the night. Nathan Sucese made it a one-goal game again with a tally off of a great pass from Brendan Perlini. (Also, watch in the below as Josh Melnick gets slashed in the back of the legs by Monsters goaltender Pavel Cajan. No call on the play.)
After Sucese’s goal, the Wolves were limited to just two shots on goal for the next ten minutes of play. The Monsters’ insurance goal from Justin Richards came after a flurry of activity where Richards followed up his own rebound to score. Wolves goalie Zach Sawchenko was pulled with just over four minutes remaining. The Wolves maintained possession and unleashed a volley of shots on Cajan but were unable to break through for a tying goal.
Scoring: Nathan Sucese, 1 G; Jamieson Rees, 1 G; Ronan Seeley, 1 A; Brendan Perlini, 1 A; David Farrance, 1 A; Jack Drury, 1 A
In net: Pyotr Kochetkov, saved 39 of 41, 0.951 sv%