The AHL’s top team has had a wild seven days full of player movement, schedule changes, and an eventful road trip to date. All in all, the Chicago Wolves went 1-2-0 in their last three games but still sit atop the league with a 0.775 winning percentage with just over a dozen games left in the season.
Last Wednesday, the Wolves traveled to Rockford—and lost 4-3—before heading to Des Moines for a weekend series with the Wild. Chicago’s 4-1 loss to Iowa on Friday night marked their first set of consecutive losses in over a month. But they responded with a nail-biting 5-4 overtime victory on Sunday.
The Wolves will visit Grand Rapids tomorrow for a game rescheduled from yesterday due to COVID-19 protocols, and will visit Rockford again on Saturday.
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April 7 @ Rockford IceHogs
Despite an early possession advantage, the Wolves got off on the wrong foot against Rockford, allowing two goals in 40 seconds in the first period. AAAA-level player Brandon Pirri cashed in for a hat trick, and the Wolves couldn’t tie things late, falling 4-3.
Philip Tomasino and Tanner Jeannot set each other up for Chicago’s first two goals, and Tomasino dished an impressive cross-zone pass to Dominik Bokk for a power play tally early in the third period.
April 9 @ Iowa Wild
One of the Wolves’ worst outings of the year coincided with the return of goalie Connor Ingram, who started his first game since entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program earlier this year.
Chicago failed to convert on seven power-play chances and allowed two goals on the man-advantage in the first period. David Cotton recorded the Wolves’ only goal as Ingram allowed four goals on 36 shots.
April 10 @ Iowa Wild
Chicago got off to another tough start on Sunday, letting Iowa earn a 2-0 lead before Tomasino and Anthony Richard tied things up with two goals 30 seconds apart in period two.
Frédéric Allard notched three primary assists and helped the Wolves get out to a 4-2 lead before the Wild tied things with two goals inside two minutes to play in the third period. Sean Malone scored the overtime winner—his second goal of the year.
Players of the Week
Philip Tomasino: Two goals and three assists over the week is not too bad for the youngster; he’s one of the reasons the team was able to bounce back against the Wild on Sunday. With guys like Tommy Novak and Tanner Jeannot in Nashville, it’s up to Tomasino to step up and carry a heavy offensive load. He’s impressed at finding outlet passes when pressured by opponents and anticipating breakouts, giving teammates plenty of opportunities to set him up and create offense: [RK]
Frédéric Allard: Allard continues to be the Wolves’ top defender and plays valuable special teams minutes—especially on the penalty kill. The 2016 third-round pick now has 13 points in 12 games for Chicago—seven of which are primary ones scored at even strength. He notched three of those assists on Sunday against Iowa. But more than that, Allard has really excelled at making efficient defensive decisions this season, including this angling to cut off a high-danger scoring chance: [ED]
Notes and Quotes
- Tucson Roadrunners: Tucson hosted two barnburners last weekend, losing 8-6 to San Diego on Friday and winning 4-1 over the Gulls on Saturday. Michael Carcone scored six goals in those games—including four on Friday—and was named the AHL Player of the Week. Josh Wilkins went scoreless in both contests.
- Cleveland Monsters: At Monday’s NHL trade deadline, the Nashville Predators sent defender Brandon Fortunato to the Ottawa Senators in a deal for defender Erik Gudbranson. In two seasons in the Nashville organization, Fortunato played in 57 ECHL and AHL games, scoring 21 points—all in the ECHL.
- In the last week, the Carolina Hurricanes recalled forwards Drew Shore and Spencer Smallman and defender Joakim Ryan. Smallman was later reassigned along with defender Joey Keane and goalie Jeremy Helvig.
- Nashville recalled forward Tanner Jeannot on Sunday. If he scores in his next AHL game, he’ll become the first AHL player in nine years to score in nine straight games.
- Yesterday, the Wolves signed forward Zach Solow to an amateur tryout (ATO) for the remainder of the 2021 season. I noted Solow—a Northeastern alumnus—should be a UDFA target for Nashville, and I confirmed he was signed to an ATO at the request of the Predators.
- On Monday, Nashville signed defender Josh Healey to a one-year contract for the balance of this season. He was playing on an AHL deal beforehand.
- As noted above, Connor Ingram made his AHL debut this season and was shaking off obvious rust, allowing three goals on 14 first-period shots. It was an unkind debut, but Ingram grew comfortable as the game went on and did pitch a third-period shutout.
- The Wolves have allowed the game’s first goal in six straight now, and their power play went just two-for-fourteen last week. It’s easy to blame NHL call-ups, but Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky has made it clear that’s no excuse for such a talented team.
- Patrick Harper looked much better this weekend, especially in the defensive zone. He was active, covering tons of space and pressuring the puck-carrier and his assignment. He also added a secondary assist last Wednesday.
- We’re loving Anthony Richard’s game right now. He’s engaging physically and using his speed effectively on the penalty kill; he’s scored six goals and 10 points in 17 games.
- Philip Tomasino is third in rookie scoring in the AHL right now with seven goals and 20 points in 18 games; he’s first in points-per-game (1.11) for rookies who have skated more than 10 games this season.