After having their Friday night contest against Cleveland rescheduled due to AHL COVID-19 protocols, the Chicago Wolves completed a dreaded three-in-three this weekend, playing at Cleveland on Saturday and Sunday then visiting Grand Rapids on Monday.
The Wolves finished that swing with a 1-1-1 record but have little rest as they hit the road again tomorrow against Grand Rapids. Chicago will then host Iowa on Friday and Saturday, completing their second three-in-three this week.
After starting the season with a 12-2-1 record in February and March, Chicago has recorded a 4-3-2 stretch in April, including a 2-3-2 run in their last seven games.
Explore: Nashville’s AHL/ECHL Prospects
April 24 @ Cleveland Monsters
Chicago opened the game again allowing their opponents to score first, but Philip Tomasino responded with his eighth of the season less than a minute later. Chicago and Cleveland traded another pair of goals with Zach Solow scoring his first professional marker, but the Monsters jumped out to a two-goal lead thanks to Tyler Sikura early in the third period.
The Wolves responded with goals from the perimeter from Josh Healey and Cole Smith, but ultimately, Cleveland took the win after a suffocating sequence in overtime.
April 25 @ Cleveland Monsters
Chicago’s response to their overtime loss on Saturday was anything but inspiring as the Wolves allowed two first-period goals to Cleveland on Sunday. Max Lajoie responded with assists from Zach Solow and Anthony Richard, but the Monsters cruised to a 4-2 victory despite just four shots on goal in the third period.
Connor Ingram started his third AHL game this season, allowing three goals on 22 shots against.
April 26 @ Grand Rapids Griffins
If the Wolves needed a statement game after two difficult losses in Ohio, this was it. Philip Tomasino scored first just two minutes into the opening frame, and Tommy Novak and Anthony Richard added 5-on-3 and 5-on-4 goals respectively to give Chicago a 3-0 lead after one period.
Richard added his second power-play goal of the night in period two, and Tommy Novak scored off the opening faceoff in period three as Chicago took home a decisive 5-1 win.
Players of the Week
Anthony Richard: Richard added two goals against Grand Rapids on Monday evening as well as a goal and an assist on Sunday against Cleveland while recording eight shots on goal. Fatigue is evident with the Wolves trying to handle a compressed schedule, and Richard’s presence has become very balanced and measured. In a three-in-three set of games, Richard was able to provide a steady presence and some goals at even strength and on the power play. [RK]
Tommy Novak: Novak has solidified his role as Chicago’s top-line center and recorded two goals and one assist in his last three games. The second-year pro looks well on his way to breaking the 0.70 points-per-game mark he notched in Milwaukee last year, but he’s also increased his shots per game from 1.40 to 2.22. Novak’s passing ability is well-known, but he’s an adept shooter, too, as he demonstrated for his second goal against Grand Rapids on Monday. [ED]
Notes and Quotes
- Tucson Roadrunners: The Roadrunners went 1-2-0 in their past three games against the Colorado Eagles. Michael Carcone recorded one goal and one assist on 14 shots on goal; Josh Wilkins dressed in just one of those three games.
- A stat that surprised me a bit: Despite his impressive season, Philip Tomasino is just fourth in points per game among AHL rookies who have played ten or more games. Liam Foudy (1.45), Trevor Zegras (1.24), and Tyler Angle (1.13) are all ahead of Tomasino at 1.10.
- Sean Malone is quietly having an excellent season in Chicago. On Saturday, he recorded a 60.0% Corsi rating at even strength, exited the defensive zone with possession at a 60.0% success rate, and entered the offensive zone with possession at a 50.0% success rate.
- After another long COVID break, it’s clear fatigue is setting in for Chicago. This upcoming three-in-three series could be a huge tone-setter for the remainder of their season but bear in mind how grueling this schedule has been for the Wolves.
- Zach Solow has been a solid feature as the Wolves’ fourth-line center since leaving Northeastern on an ATO. He recorded his first two professional points this weekend and should be an important addition for a Milwaukee team that may be graduating several regular forwards next season.
- David Warsofsky has become an essential piece to the Wolves’ blueline as the top two pairs are anchored by him and Frederic Allard.
- Josh Healey is another steady presence in the Wolves’ lineup, playing all 24 games this season. It was, however, evident how exhausted he was against Grand Rapids on Monday. During even-strength play, he recorded a 48.6% Corsi rating and allowed a controlled zone entry on 50.0% of attempts against him.
- As Connor Ingram splits starts with Beck Warm and Antoine Bibeau the rest of the season, I’m not sure there will be many conclusions we can draw from his play in 2021. The next few weeks will be a great opportunity to get back into game shape and a regular routine.
- Philip Tomasino has, most of the time, looked dominant at the AHL level. With the puck, he’s forceful and decisive about the offensive he generates; Off the puck, he’s slippery and excels at stretching out the defense to open up himself or teammates as we saw with his opening goal against Grand Rapids.