Matt Climie and the Wolves had a fantastic week.
(Chris Jerina/AHL in Photos)
The Wolves are roaring – four straight wins has vaulted them into second place in the division. The Charlotte Checkers are just two points up on the Wolves, but the boys from suburban Chicago have two games in hand. Given their opposition this week, there’s no reason to think they won’t carry on with their recent run of form.
A triple header on the weekend and a midweek, midday game. Friday night, the Wolves took down Peoria 5-2 as Byron Bitz made a triumphant return to the lineup after nearly two seasons’ worth of injuries. The good vibes carried on into Saturday, with Lake Erie going down 3-1 at the Allstate Arena. Sunday’s matinee saw the home team again snipe 5 goals on 27 shots and Eddie Lack surrendered just 2 goals from 34 shots by archrival Charlotte. The week’s results were rounded out nicely with another matinee game on Wednesday, a 4-2 victory over Illinois rival Rockford.
Mark Mancari seems to have been amped up by his recent time in Vancouver. He had a beastly week, picking up 4 goals and 4 assists.
Darren Haydar sat out Friday’s and Wednesday’s games, but in the two games he did play (Saturday and Sunday), he bagged a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Steve Reinprecht completed the great week for the trio of veterans, scoring a goal and recording 5 assists.
Both Eddie Lack and Matt Climie picked up two wins and conceded just 7 goals between them.
Mike Duco‘s hat trick on Friday earned him a call up to the Canucks, after Andrew Ebbett had his collarbone re-arranged in the Saturday tilt between Vancouver and the Boston Bruins.
As mentioned above, Byron Bitz scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s victory. It was his first league game since since March, 2010.
Tim Miller scored two goals on Sunday.
Jordan Schroeder, who had shown good signs in December, had a tough week. He picked up just one assist, in Wednesday game against Rockford. Linemate Anton Rodin was very poor on Friday and Saturday, getting just two shots on Friday and none on Saturday. He wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday or Wednesday.
The Wolves used the same six defencemen in all four games- Kevin Connauton and Chris Tanev, Yann Sauve and Nolan Baumgartner and Adam Polasek and Ryan Parent. JP Testuwide played as a forward on Wednesday.
The forward lines were similar to the usual – Haydar-Reinprecht-Mancari, Sweatt-Schroeder-Rodin, Miller-Longpre-Oreshkovich. Byron Bitz, Matt Clackson and Antoine Roussel all spent time in the lineup as well. When (if) Mike Duco returns, there will be some challenging lineup decisions to be made.
The Hunting Ahead
Three home games in the next week: Friday against Milwaukee, Saturday against Lake Erie and Wednesday against Texas.