Tim Miller and Darren Haydar have their eyes on the playoffs.
(Photo: Matt Hyndman)
The Wolves returned to Chicago from their extended West Coast sojourn this week. After spending a few days at home they’ll be setting off on the road again for Texas and Oklahoma.
Getting 3 of 4 points in Abbotsford was seen as a good return for the team, as they continue to push towards taking the Midwest division title and possibly finishing 2nd in the Western conference.
More after the jump!
The Wolves split their games in Abbotsford at the end of last week, winning once in a shootout and losing once in OT.
Midweek, the Crimson and Gold travelled to San Antonio, where they were knocked off 2-1 by the Rampage. Mike Davies scored the only goal in the loss, set up by his Kid linemates Jordan Schroeder and Bill Sweatt.
Schroeder’s assist on Wednesday continues what has been a very good week for the Minnesotan. Playing in front of all the Canucks’ brass, he scored a pair of goals in Thursday’s tilt in Abbotsford, and in the last home game prior to the clubs road-trip, he also picked up a pair of assists. That gives him 5 points in 4 games. His line is buzzing every game, look for them to be key contributors in the playoffs.
Team captain Nolan Baumgartner has 5 assists in his last 7 games. The veteran told the Army in Abbotsford that the team is playing as well as it has all year and that he’s really enjoying his partnership with Kevin Connauton. They’ve played together for nearly two seasons.
Brad Hunt, on a tryout contract with the Wolves, scored his first professional goal in Thursday’s win. He slid into the middle of the Heat’s penalty killing box and deftly deflected home a pass from Steve Reinprecht. After the game, Hunt’s enthusiasm was in danger in bubbling over, especially when he was asked about the 40 or so friends and family members attending the game. It was Hunt’s shot from the point that Schroeder deflected for his first goal.
Despite his powerful 2nd period powerplay marker, Friday was a tough night for Connauton: he was on-ice for Abbotsford’s first three goals. The night before he was speared in the groin. It can’t have been a very happy two days for the young defenceman.
Unlike Schroeder’s excellent night in front of Canucks management, Eddie Lack had the complete opposite on Thursday, allowing 4 goals on 23 shots. He bounced back on Wednesday, stopping 30 of 32 shots.
Former Merrimack College goalie Joe Cannata joined the team in Abbotsford. He’ll be the team’s third goalie for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. It’s unclear whether he’ll see any game action, however.
Frank Corrado, another in the Canucks’ stable of promising young talent, has also joined the team. His junior team, the Sudbury Wolves, was eliminated last week and Corrado flew to Chicago on the weekend. Don’t be surprised if he suits up for a game or two, especially if the Wolves’ playoff picture clarifies.
The arrivals of Cannata and Corrado are exciting, but nowhere near as exciting as the promotion of Nicklas Jensen. The young Danish sniper joins the Wolves from Oshawa. The Generals were eliminated from the OHL playoffs last weekend. Now that his visa issues have been sorted out, it seems a safe bet that Jensen will go straight into the lineup for tonight’s game in Houston.
Byron Bitz was called up by the Canucks mid-week to take the injured Zack Kassian’s spot in the lineup. One wonders if his season in Chicago is over? Many expect Bitz to be a regular on the Canucks 4th line once the playoffs start next week.
Mike Duco and Andrew Gordon both remain out with injuries.
Victor Oreskovich, Kevin Doell, Dustin Friesen and Ryan Parent are all out with long-term issues and none are expected back this season.
The Hunting Ahead
The Wolves play tonight in Houston and tomorrow in Oklahoma. Next Wednesday they are in Austin to play the Texas Stars.