Wolves skaters check out one of the few noteworthy moments – a Guillaume Desbiens fight – on the jumbotron.
Anyone that knows me will tell you all about how fond I am of word play, and let me tell you, the title above was not accidental. There’s some things that you just can’t unsee, and unfortunately, I get the feeling that this Saturday night tilt between the Wolves and the Peoria Rivermen is one of them.
After two lackluster periods, there seemed to be a potentially exciting finish to the game brewing, as the result was still in question. Those sentiments were quickly erased once the Rivermen locked the game down after netting the go-ahead goal with roughly 10 minutes left.
The Wolves – who lost to this same Peoria team by a 3-2 score in overtime last night – lost for the first time in regulation at the Allstate Arena. As you can tell, I won’t sugarcoat things; this game was incredibly choppy, and poorly played all the way around. But some things did happen, and I’ll do my best to fill you in on them.
Read Past the Jump for Notes on the Game.
-After a busy night in which Eddie Lack had to do his best to just keep the Wolves afloat, he was given a much-deserved night off in this one. Matt Climie got the start, for already the third time against Peoria this season.
-In his recap of last night’s game, Thomas Drance noted that Zack Kassian and Jordan Schroeder struggled to get anything going. Tonight’s game was much of the same, especially for Schroeder. Kassian created a nice scoring chance early in the first, as he put his (vastly underrated) hands on display. He created space behind the net, then took it to the other side for a wrap-around attempt that nearly resulted in a goal.
-The Wolves dominated the action in the first half of the opening frame, but only had 1 goal – a juicy rebound that Steve Pinizzotto converted – to show for their troubles. We constantly talk about how you have to make your chances count as a team, because it seems like more times than not, the opposition will make you pay if you don’t. And tonight was no different.
The Rivermen scored a pair of quick goals to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission. The second one was of the fluke variety, as a pass from behind the net bounced off of Jordan Schroeder’s leg and in. I guess in theory you can’t say that Schroeder wasn’t productive tonight; he was, but just not for the team you’d expect.
-One of the few exciting moments in this game actually came as time expired in the 1st, as Peoria seemed to have scored a third goal, only to have it waved off. Instant replay showed that the puck crossed the line a fraction of a second after the horn had blown. A lucky break for the Wolves, indeed.
-Early in the second, Andrew Gordon was whistled for a penalty that he didn’t even commit. He masterfully lifted his opponents stick off of the puck, only to have him clip himself in the face with his own shaft (wait, what?). The Wolves killed off the penalty, though, and used a perfectly executed 2-on-1 involving Haydar and Gordon to tie the game back up at 2.
-Kassian drew a 10-minute misconduct late in the 2nd, for unsportsmanlike conduct. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but apparently it was due to his reaction during a goal review that took place.
-Early in the third period, Guillaume Desbiens dropped the gloves, much to the delight of the home crowd. Unfortunately, the AHL Live cameras don’t actually show the fights, instead putting the camera on the team’s bench to show the reaction of the players. But judging by the crowd noise, and player reactions, it was a spirited fight.
-The first shot on goal of the third period came 9:20 into the frame, and it was in the form of a goal for Peoria. They managed to get a ton of traffic in front of Climie, and took a 3-2 lead as a result. If you would have told me that the quality of play could get worse from that point on, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it did. The Rivermen locked the game down, and seemed quite content to hold onto their lead for dear life. Fortunately for them, the Wolves seemed to be cool with that plan, as well.
Fun with Numbers:
5: Heading into the third period, the Wolves had five straight frames with double digit shots on goal. Unfortunately, they were only able to generate 5 of them in the final 20 minutes, with none of them leading to anything resembling a quality opportunity.
Five is also the number of power play goals that the Wolves have through 14 games. Only the Albany Devils have fewer markers with the man advantage this year.
6: These two teams will play a grand total of 6 more times this season, which seems cruel. The Wolves are now 1-2-1 against Peoria on the season, as the 3 of the 5 wins the Rivermen have this season have come at the hands of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate.
14: There were 15 scoring chances combined in this game, and even that seems like it’s a bit high given what unfolded in this game. In case you’re trying to figure out if that number is low or high, it’s incredibly low.
36: Thanks to a misconduct in the second period, and a roughing penalty which put a bow on the game, Kassian now leads the Wolves with 36 penalty minutes on the season. To put that in perspective, he had 82 PIMs in 74 games (between Buffalo, Vancouver and Rochester) last season. Despite his billing as a physical player, Kassian hasn’t truly had a big-time PIM season since ’08-’09, when he racked up 136 of them for the Peterborough Petes.
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