Forced to play away from home for three straight weekends, the Wolves began their journey by winning two of three. Goaltending was the story in a two-game set in Peoria and then the offence finally showed some life vs Hamilton.
Three games since we last reported – a pair of games on the weekend in Peoria and a mid-morning clash with Hamilton on Tuesday. Friday the Wolves lost to the Rivermen 3-2 but bounced back on Saturday, winning 2-1. Tuesday’s game was billed as a ‘Schools Day’ game by the Bulldogs with close to 6,000 elementary school kids in attendance. The Wolves had their first solid win of the year, riding Darren Haydar‘s back for a 4-1 win. Beyond taking 2 of 3 so far on their road stretch, what should be noted from the trio of games is the Wolves twice held their opponents to fewer than 30 shots per game, the first time all season that has happened. Eddie Lack faced just 23 shots on Friday. Matt Climie faced 30 shots on Saturday, and 27 shots on Tuesday.
Climie grabbed both wins and was stellar in doing so. Jordan Schroeder and Anton Rodin (his first as an AHLer) scored Saturday’s goals. Darren Haydar recorded four points against Hamilton, setting up two goals for Tim Miller and bagging an empty-netter himself. Billy Sweatt scored his second goal in three games against Hamilton. Sweatt and Nathan Longpre scored in Friday’s losing effort. Longpre’s now got 4 points in 5 games, while Miller’s at 8 points in 11 games. Perennial AHL scoring race contender Haydar has 12 in 12.
Mark Mancari is struggling. He’s playing with Jordan Schroeder and Anton Rodin (who both scored vs Peoria on Saturday), had 10 shots over the past 3 games but no points. His scoring record in the AHL is too good to ignore, he’ll start finding the back of the net soon.
The Wolves have been used the following lineup this week:
Adam Polasek and Sebastian Erixon had been used as a pair before this week, but are now alternating with each other and playing with the more experienced Mark Matheson.
Chris Tanev remains out with injury. Victor Oreshkovich may return this weekend, look for him to slot in on the 3rd line, probably for Mike Davies. Steve Reinprecht is expected to join the team soon, so it will be interesting to see how the lineup is re-jigged. Matt Clackson and Antoine Roussel were the scratches this week
After releasing Dean Strong the week before Hallowe’en, defenceman JP Testuwide was the latest roster casualty. He had yet to appear in a game for the Wolves and been re-assigned to Missouri of the CHL.
This Week’s Hunting
Just one game this week, as the Wolves head tup to arch-rival Milwaukee tonight for yet another battle with the impressive Admirals (7-2-0-1). Tomorrow night’s game will be a good marker to see if the Wolves have indeed improved their defensive play.