There wasn’t too much holiday cheer for the Chicago Wolves this past week.
The Wolves dropped two-of-three contests, all one-goal games, as they find themselves slipping down the AHL Midwest Division standings, now sitting in fourth place, four points out of first.
Thursday, December 27th –Rockford IceHogs 3 Chicago Wolves 2
Ebbett took a beautiful no-look backhand pass from Kassian and banged the puck behind IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton on the man-advantage to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead just 3:22 into the opening period. The IceHogs responded just over two minutes later to send the teams to the dressing room even at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
After the IceHogs took the lead in the early-going of the second period, Sterling notched a power-play goal to make it 2-2. Rockford responded just over two minutes later as Martin St. Pierre beat Wolves goaltender Matt Climie for the eventual game-winner.
Helping Hands: Along with the two assists from Kassian and one by Ebbett, Darren Haydar also picked up an apple for the Wolves.
Shot Clock: The IceHogs outshot the Wolves by a wide margin of 39-25, including 21-10 in the first period.
Mr. Consistency: Climie started his ninth game in a row for the Wolves, making 36 saves in the losing effort
Undisciplined Bolig: Darren Archibald rocked Andrew Shaw in the second period with a massive, clean hit that prompted IceHogs enforcer Brandon Bolig to jump Archibald and pick up 16 minutes of penalties.
Canucks AHL Flashback: The last time a Canucks AHL affiliate played on December 27th was back in 2010 as the Manitoba Moose defeated the Peoria Rivermen 5-2. Bill Sweatt scored his seventh of the season, Guillaume Desbiens grabbed two assists and Eddie Lack made 28 saves in the win. Former Surrey Eagle Nathan Oystrick scored for the Rivermen.
Saturday, December 29th –Abbotsford Heat 3 Chicago Wolves 2
Darren Archibad and Zach Miskovic netted goals and Jordan Schroeder picked up two assists as the Wolves dropped their third straight game, losing 3-2 to the Heat on Saturday in front of 10,833 fans at Allstate Arena.
After a scoreless, uneventful first period that saw the teams combine for a lowly 12 shots, the Heat were able to beat Wolves goaltender Matt Climie twice at the midway point of the second period to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Archibald took a bite of the Heat lead with 3:59 to play in the frame as the 6-foot-3 winger took a backdoor pass from Zack Kassian and hammered the puck home to make it 2-1.
In the third period the Wolves were able to complete the comeback as Schroeder found Miskovic open at the point and the hometown boy blasted a thunderous slap shot that beat Heat goaltender Danny Taylor blocker-side to make it 2-2. The lead was short-lived, however, as the Heat answered right back just 24 seconds later to regain the lead and Taylor shut the door the rest of the way as the Heat grinded out a 3-2 victory.
Helping Hands: Along with Schroeder’s two assists, Kassian and Brad Hunt also picked up helpers for the Wolves
We Have a Tie: The Wolves and Heat were dead-even in the shot clock department 27-27, with Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling leading the way with for the Wolves with five shots apiece.
Making an Impact: The goal gave Archibald six goals in 11 games, including three power-play tallies since being called up from the Canucks ECHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings.
Canucks AHL Flashback: On this date last year, the Wolves edged the Rockford IceHogs 5-3 in front of 11,029 fans in Chicago, as current assistant coach, Nolan Baumgartner and current forward Stefan Schneider each picked up a goal and an assist for the Wolves. Former Delta Ice Hawks forward, Brandon Segal was in the IceHogs lineup.
Sunday, December 30th – Chicago Wolves 3 Abbotsford Heat 2
Darren Haydar scored the game-winner early in the third period as Chicago mounted a two-goal comeback to best Abbotsford 3-2 on Sunday at Allstate Arena. Andrew Ebbett and Jordan Schroeder also netted goals for the Wolves, who snapped a three-game winless streak with the victory.
Joe Cannata made his AHL season-debut in net for the Wolves and things could not have started worse for the 22-year-old, as the Heat scored on their first two shots of the game, taking a 2-0 lead by the mid-way point of the opening period. Ebbett pulled the Wolves to within a goal with a power-play maker late in the period, a period that saw the Wolves outshoot the Heat 11-2.
Schroeder bagged his eighth goal of the season 10:35 into the middle stanza to even the score at 2-2 after 40 minutes.
With the Wolves starting the third on a power-play, it was the captain, Haydar that banged home the game-winner on the man-advantage to pull the Wolves out in front 3-2. The Wolves defense shut the door the rest of the way, holding the Heat to five shots in the third period and only 16 on the game, 20 less than the Wolves total of 36.
Helping Hands: Haydar, Ebbett, Brad Hunt, Zach Miskovic, Brett Sterling and Zack Kassian grabbed assists for the Wolves .
Big Shooters: Kassian (7) and Sterling (5) combined for a whopping 12 shots on goal, 1/3 of the Wolves total for the game.
Fight!: Alex Friesen dropped the mitts with Abbotsford’s Carter Bancks in the first period. You may remember Bancks from such fights as the one when he was introduced to Alexandre Mallet in slow-motion.
Jumpin’ Joe: This marked the first AHL game since April 15, 2012, that Cannata got the start in goal. Back in April he allowed two goals and made 40-saves in a 4-2 Wolves win over Peoria, in what was his professional-debut.
Sunday not so fun day: The Wolves are now 2-2 on Sunday’s this season, snapping a two-game football-day losing streak with the win.
Canucks AHL Flashback: Last time a Canucks AHL affiliate suited up on December 30th was way, wayyyyy back in 2008 when the then Canucks AHL squad, the Manitoba Moose took on the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves hammered the Moose 6-2 in front of 7581 fans at the MTS Centre. The Moose got goals from Maxime Fortunus and Mario Bliznak, while former Nanaimo Clipper Raymond Sawada was minus-2.
The Wolves have three-games in four-nights this week, as they hit the ice against the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville, 15-3-2-1) Thursday in the fifth Amtrak Rivalry game of the season; Milwaukee has won three-of-four. This Friday the Wolves return home for a tilt against the Midwest Division leading Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit, 17-10-1-1) and finish the week off with a match-up against Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton, 16-10-1-3) Sunday afternoon.
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