Wolf Prowl - February 17th, 2012

Patrick Johnston
February 17 2012 02:47PM

 
Mike Davies and the Wolves just keep on rollin'
(Photo: Chris Jerina/AHL in Photos)

After a bit of a hiatus following the AHL All Star Game, your favourite Chicago Wolves feature is back!

In the past week the Wolves played three times, picking up two wins. That continues their hot 2012; they've now got 12 wins in 18 games since the beginning of the year.

Weekly Wrap

Last weekend, the Wolves travelled to Rockford a pair of games and came away with a split. On Friday, the Ice Hogs took the win in a tight 2-1 game. Wolves captain Nolan Baumgartner scored the lone goal on a first period powerplay. Saturday's win came from a dominant 6-2 performance, Mark Mancari leading the way with a pair of goals (putting him through the 400 point AHL barrier).

On Wednesday, the Wolves returned home and squeaked past Grand Rapids, 4-3 in overtime. The game was a back and forth affair, the Wolves bursting out the gates to take a two goal led only to give away the advantage in the second period. Billy Sweatt recorded the winning goal, taking a beautiful pass from Chris Tanev and flying in alone on Griffins goalie Tom McCollum

The Wolves are now just 2 points back of Charlotte for first place in the midwest division.

Standouts

Eddie Lack and Matt Climie saw lots of rubber this week and are back to their dominant selves. In Friday's loss, Lack stopped two of 29 shots, the lightest total of the week. Climie faced 41 shots the next night and Lack 39 on Wednesday.

Mike Davies has been restored to the regular rotation, and scored goals on both Saturday and Wednesday. The pair gives him 7 on the season, one shy of the 8 he recorded last year (in 22 more games).

Jordan Schroeder only scored in Wednesday's game, but he did record 8 shots over the three games. He's got 14 points in his last 15 games. With 30 points on the year, he's now eclipsed his total from all of last year, showing how much his developed under Craig MacTavish's tutelage. In his last 10 games, he's been on ice for just 4 even strength goals against.

In a sign that the breaks are at least with him, Yann Sauve was +3 for the week and is now +14 on the season, second best on the team (behind Tim Miller's +17)

Lowlights

Darren Haydar has hit a pothole in his season: he hasn't recorded a point in his last 4 games, has just 3 assists in his last 10 games. Before that he had 3 goals and 3 assists in the first 4 games of 2012. It's not all bad for the 32-year-old: he did get profiled in the paper this week.

Although he did pick up a pair of assists this week, Anton Rodin is still having his struggles. He's got just one goal in 2012 (against Rockford on February 2nd). His 7 points in 13 games since the New Year are also deceptive, as 4 of those assists came in the two games in Abbotsford, when he first started playing with Mark Mancari and Steve Reinprecht.

Lineup Notes

Mike Duco's recall last week meant Matt Clackson skated on the weekend with 4th liners Stefan Schneider and Antoine Roussel.

As most know, Chris Tanev was called up by the Canucks on Thursday and will dress vs Toronto on Saturday.

Sebastian Erixon continues to struggle to get in the lineup, with Adam Polasek usually getting the not ahead of the young Swede.

Ryan Parent and Kevin Doell were both reported to be on-ice on Friday, the first time either has been heard from since sustaining concussions. Doell, who's been out most of the year, was expected to be a key checker for the team coming into the season, it will be interesting to see how he fits in, if and when he's cleared to return to action. Victor Oreskovich remains sidelined with a concussion of his own.

Lines from Wednesday:

Rodin Reinprecht Mancari
Sweatt Schroeder Davies
Miller Longpre Haydar
Duco Schneider Roussel
     
Connauton Tanev  
Sauve Baumgartner  
Polasek Matheson  

The Hunting Ahead

The Wolves host division-leading Charlotte for a pair of games Saturday and Sunday. With a game in hand on the Checkers, the Wolves could put themselves in a very strong position for the remaining 30 or so games in the season. Peoria is 3 points behind Chicago, but the Wolves also hold a game in hand on their cross-state rivals.

Charlotte is in a three-way tie for second in the conference, giving even further incentive to the Wolves. All three teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings have played one more game than Chicago.

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Patrick Johnston is a Vancouver journalist. In addition to regular contributions here at Canucks Army, his work has appeared in The Province, Hockey Now and on the CBC. Check out his blog and other writing at http://johnstonwrites.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter: @risingaction
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