ROSEMONT- The Chicago Wolves (4-1-0-1, 9 points) started their historic 25th Anniversary season with a bang. They won their first four games and surged to the top of the AHL’s Central Division. But since then they’ve lost their last two games, with Sunday’s shootout loss to the Milwaukee Admirals (5-1-1-0, 11 points) at Allstate Arena being the latest blemish. The Wolves have lost these games by a combined score of 10-7.
“It’s alright,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson when asked about the feeling amongst the team after back-to-back losses. “Tonight was a really good hockey game. We had the opportunity to win it, we had the lead late, and there was a lot of positives that we can build on without a doubt” he added.
The Wolves are now third in their division but the season is still young and they have played some very good hockey in the early going. Sunday’s game was the first of four scheduled broadcasts that the Wolves will have on the NHL Network this year. The Wolves got their goals from winger Brooks Macek (5, 6-PP), defenseman Nic Hague (first career goal), and forward Daniel Carr (2). While the Admirals got their scoring from defenseman Matt Donovan (3,4), center Emil Peterson (3), defenseman Fredric Allard (1), and the game-winning shootout goal from forward Yakov Trenin (3). Three of Milwaukee’s goals came on the power play.
“There’s going to be growing pains and sometimes those pains come without the puck. They can cost you but those are teachable things,” said Thompson after the game.
The Wolves have already scored 22 goals in just six games and that has coach Thompson excited for the remainder of the season. But surrendering power play goals as often as they have is something that the Wolves hope to correct sooner rather than later.
“I think our penalty kill was starting to come on late but our power play… was a little snake bitten,” he said.
While the Wolves did surrender three power play goals they did manage to kill the remaining five penalties against them. But the schedule is about to get a little more difficult for the four-time champions. After hosting Cleveland at home on Wednesday, they follow that up with a five-game road trip which will see them travel to Texas, then San Antonio, followed by back-to-backs in Manitoba, and finally Milwaukee before returning home to play Rockford on November 10th. Coach Thompson does have his concerns about the upcoming trip.
“I’m encouraged by what I saw tonight…. (But these are) little things that won’t happen (in the next) couple of weeks I feel at least.”
When the Wolves host the Cleveland Monsters (5-2-0-0, 10 points) at the Allstate Arena on Wednesday (11am faceoff), it’ll be their first meeting against any Eastern Conference team since 2008. The Wolves only play 76 regular season games as opposed to the NHL’s 82, with 64 of those games coming against their arch-rivals in the Central Division. But the Wolves are determined to make the playoffs again. The ultimate goal is to cap off this historic season with their first Calder Cup Trophy in a decade.