After a pair of weekend tilts with the Iowa Wild, Chicago remains undefeated atop the AHL standings with a 7-0-0 record and 14 points—the best start in the franchise’s history. The Tucson Roadrunners—who’ve played just four games—are the only other undefeated squad.
The Wolves will travel to Grand Rapids this Friday and then host the Griffins on Sunday to wrap up the month of February.
Explore: Nashville’s AHL/ECHL Prospects
February 20 vs. Iowa Wild
In the weekend’s first contest, Chicago smothered Iowa, lighting up rookie Hunter Jones for nine goals in two periods alone. The Wolves notched four goals in the game’s first ten minutes—two courtesy of Anthony Richard and Rem Pitlick—and bested themselves in the second with five, including Cole Smith’s first career tally.
February 21 vs. Iowa Wild
Despite the Wild controlling play throughout the afternoon, Chicago got off to an early start with two first-period goals from Carolina’s Morgan Geekie. Rem Pitlick added his sixth of the season in the middle frame, and Tanner Jeannot added an empty netter to secure the victory despite the Wolves recording just 14 shots on net.
Players of the Week
Anthony Richard: It is excellent to see Richard “back” to his old self, scoring shorthanded, speedy goals. He’s also developed a bit of a physical presence to his game this season. His pace is still eye-popping, and he finds ways to open up the ice for himself. In 2021, he’s recorded two goals and three points in six games for the Wolves. [RK]
Frederic Allard: Since returning from a 25-game stint in Austria’s ICEHL, Frédéric Allard has four assists in three games for the Wolves, excelling alongside Jérémy Davies with Alexandre Carrier in Nashville.
After Sunday’s win, Wolves’ head coach Ryan Warsofsky said of Allard, “He’s a steady defenseman...moves pucks really well...keeps it simple...He’s a guy who's grown a lot—I think this is his fourth year as a pro—he’s vocal on the bench, he cares, he wants to win, and I think it’s contagious to our whole bench...” [ED]
Notes and Quotes
- Tucson Roadrunners: The Roadrunners' three games scheduled for this past weekend were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. In four games, Michael Carcone has four points (3G-1A), and Josh Wilkins has one point (one assist).
- Cleveland Monsters: Brandon Fortunato has skated in each of the Monsters’ first five games mostly on the second and third pair. He’s yet to record a point.
- Per the Wolves’ public relations staff, the franchise record for the fewest shots in a game is 13; Tanner Jeannot’s empty-net goal was the Wolves’ 14th shot on Sunday afternoon.
- The Carolina Hurricanes—or some team—could be smart to lock up goalie Beck Warm on an entry-level contract. In three games this season, he’s allowed just five goals and posted a 0.958 save percentage.
- Four of the AHL’s top ten scorers are from the Wolves—including Tommy Novak (9), Tanner Jeannot (8), and Rem Pitlick (7). Seven of the top 20 scorers are from Chicago—including Jérémy Davies (7) and Phil Tomasino (7).
- Carolina’s Seth Jarvis should be returning to Portland soon as the WHL has granted its American division a season start date of March 19. That will free up a bit of ice time on Chicago’s crowded roster.
- Defender Tyler Lewington has not played since the Wolves’ season opener on February 5th.
- If you blinked, you may not have noticed that Tommy Novak is co-leading the AHL in scoring right now with two goals and nine points (five are primary points scored at even strength) in six games. He had a five-point weekend against Iowa and has really refined his scoring touch, adding to his puck skills and good vision.
- Right behind Novak in scoring is Tanner Jeannot with eight points, including three primary points at even strength. After Sunday’s win, I asked Jeannot how he feels with added responsibility this season. He remarked the season’s been fun as everyone has bought into a “one team” mentality despite the shared roster. On top of that, he’s enjoyed his new opportunities on ice to lead by example, including top-six minutes at even strength and time on the penalty kill and power play.
- The Wolves have shown they’re diligent in responding to needs that have been identified in previous games. Against Iowa, they cranked up their physicality as the Wild came out aggressive from the start. But 33-year-old head coach Ryan Warsofsky wants to emphasize these learning opportunities, saying Sunday night, “I thought we had a stretch in the first period that was pretty good...a shift or two here or there in the second and third...but for the most part, we were on our heels. But [it’s] a very good teaching moment in a lot of these young players’ careers...”