After two goals and a fight against Hamilton, did Darren Archibald go get himself a beer?
(Photo: Chris Jerina/AHL in Photos)
In a middling season, are the Chicago Wolves’ fortunes about to swing back up? The Canucks’ minor leaguers opened the year with four straight wins, but until last night’s win over Hamilton, they hadn’t won two successive games since that ferocious opening.
Powered by two well-taken goals by Darren Archibald – plus a fight from the big winger – the Wolves controlled the game nearly to the end. A pair of late goals from the Bulldogs made it close on the scoreboard (4-3), but it was an impressive performance by a Wolves squad that hasn’t had many impressive performances this year.
More on Darren Archibald after the jump. (Oh, and yes, on the rest of the team, too.)
– First up, the chance counts. Through two periods, it was firmly the Wolves night. The Bulldogs were kept outside and they fired many shots from very low-percentage spots. The Wolves, on the other hand, were confident driving to the net and the chance count reflects that. It was 7-3 after one, and 16-7 after two.
– With their third goal of the game (Darren Haydar’s second of the season) coming just 1:25 into the third period, the Wolves looked well-and-truly on their way to victory. Chasing the game, the Bulldogs managed 3 goals from 9 chances, bringing the final tally to 19-16 for the Wolves.
– Billy Sweatt was outstanding, using his speed to cause trouble all over the ice. He had an outstanding shorthanded chance in the second period, where he forced a turnover at the Hamiton blueline and then roared in on net. No goal, though. Finishing is always going to be a problem, that much is clear, but he does so many things well. He may be verging on the Jannik Hansen-third liner track.
– Archibald’s first goal wasn’t a chance, as he whacked the puck towards the front of the net from the side of the net; the puck caromed into the net. It was one of those ‘take-what-you-get’ goals. His second was very impressive. Archibald was causing havoc in front, and when the puck squirted away to his left, he showed great balance in strength in twisting to collect the puck and firing it past Bulldogs goalie Cedrick Desjardins.
– Just over a minute later, Archibald threw down with Zack Stortini. It wasn’t much of a tussle, just a few blows each way, but if you are looking for a willingness to stick up for himself and thinks it represents something, this would be a fine example.
– Playing with Brett Sterling and Andrew Ebbett, Zack Kassian had a strong first period. Recording three chances off the rush, Kassian showed off his strong, powerful skating. They were tough shots for Desjardins and Kassian’s linemates were close to pouncing on the rebounds twice. Ebbett and Sterling both picked up chances late in the second, off quick passing plays, but neither found their way to the back of the net.
– Darren Haydar played with Jordan Schroeder and Sweatt; they were a dangerous trio all night. The veteran captain managed four chances in the game, his goal coming off a rebound produced from a strong wrap-around effort by Sweatt.
– Peter Andersson’s first goal in North America was a good wrister from the top of the circle that found its way through a screen. Desjardins barely moved. Chalk it up as ‘got be good to be lucky.’
– Tim Miller and Mike Davies were useful in limited minutes, with Davies having two fine chances to score. Alex Friesen started the game as their centre, but didn’t see much ice. Nathan Longpre took a few extra shifts in his place.
– Matt Climie was solid, though he didn’t have much challenging work until a late 5-on-3 for the Bulldogs.
– Until the late advantages, Hamilton’s powerplay was totally inept, showing very little movement off the puck and not asking much of the Wolves’ pk unit. Even with the two man advantage, they couldn’t find a goal, though they managed three quality chances.