What a difference a day makes.
It is said sometimes you need to hit rock-bottom before you can get better and the Chicago Wolves did just that this past week giving their worst effort of the season before turning out one of their most complete games of the year just 24 hours later to find themselves in third place in the AHL’s Midwest Division.
Wednesday, November 28th –Grand Rapids Griffins 3 Chicago Wolves 0
Three different goal scorers paced the Griffins to a shutout win over the Wolves Friday night at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves were out-played from the opening faceoff, but goaltender Matt Climie kept the game scoreless through one period with 15 saves.
The Griffins opened the scoring exactly one minute into the middle stanza with a power play goal, and yet Climie shut the door again making 10 saves in the period as the Griffins outshot the Wolves 26-9 through 40 minutes.
The Griffins continued their terrific puck-possession game in the third period, scoring twice in the first 6:10 of the frame to make it 3-0; goaltender Tom McCollum was unbeatable on the night, making 11 saves in the period.
Shot Clock: Kevin Connauton registered four shots on goal to lead the Wolves, who were outshot 37-20 in the game.
Special Teams: The Wolves went 0-for-1 on the man-advantage while the Griffins were 1-for-4.
Friday Night Hockey: This was the first home-game of the season for the Wolves on a Friday night. The last time the Wolves played on a Friday night at Allstate Arena was on April 27th, a 3-2 double-overtime loss to San Antonio in the decisive Game 5 of the first-round of the AHL playoffs.
Free-for-all: Although no fighting majors, a small ruckus broke out early in the third period that resulted in a combined 36 penalty minutes.
Saturday, December 8th –Chicago Wolves 2 Rockford IceHogs 1
Darren Haydar picked a good time to score his first goal of the season as Chicago’s captain notched the game-winner in the third period to give the Wolves a 2-1 win over the IceHogs Saturday night.
Haydar grabbed an assist to go along with his goal and Andrew Ebbett also scored his third goal of the season for the Wolves.
The Wolves outshot the IceHogs 15-9 in the first period, a period that featured 28 penalty minutes, but it was the IceHogs who headed to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead.
Ebbett evened up the scoring with a power play goal just under five-minutes into the second period; the veteran jumped on a Kevin Connauton shot and rebound to beat IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton.
Haydar gave the Wolves a 2-1 lead just over seven-minutes into the final period and goaltender Matt Climie stood tall the rest of the way for the Wolves.
Arch-Rivals: The two teams combined for 84 penalty minutes, which included two scraps on the night. Wolves forward Tim Miller took on Andrew Shaw in the second period – we’ll give the win to Shaw. Connauton then hammered away at IceHogs forward Jeremy Morin’s lip in the third period – a win for Connauton.
Flashback: Almost one year to the day, December 9th, 2011, the Wolves and IceHogs met in a heated game in Rockford that featured a combined 100 penalty minutes. Connauton had a fight as well in that game, a 6-2 win for the IceHogs.
Shot Clock: The Wolves outshot the IceHogs 36-24.
Golden Stick: Ebbett changed from a blue stick to a gold stick prior to the game. The move paid off as he registered a team-high seven shots along with his second period goal.
Special Teams: The Wolves finished 1-for-8 on the man-advantage while shutting down the IceHogs power play, which went 0-for-3.
The Wolves are back at it Thursday for a tilt against the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal, 8-10-1-1) at Allstate Arena. This will be the first of two games the Bulldogs and Wolves will play against each other this season; the teams split the two-game set last season. . The Wolves then travel to Cleveland, Ohio, for a tilt against the Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado, 12-10-1-1) Saturday night. This marks the first of four meeting between the teams, the Wolves won 3-of-4 against the Monsters last season.
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