Wednesday, October 17th – Chicago Wolves 2 Peoria Rivermen 1
Eddie Lack was rock solid between the pipes in a pair of games last weekend, but it was veteran Matt Climie who stole the show on Wednesday as the Chicago Wolves bested the Peoria Rivermen 2-1 in overtime.
Zack Kassian scored his first goal of the season to open the scoring before hometown boy Zach Miskovic scored the winner at 2:59 of overtime, while Climie made 29 saves, including 13 in the third period alone.TY-BITS
-This marked the fourth time in franchise history the Wolves have started 3-0-0-0 out of the gate, the previous three times (97/98, 01/02, 07/08) they went on to win the championship.
-Jordan Schroeder, Derek Joslin, Andrew Gordon, and Brett Sterling all picked up assists in the game.
-Peoria outshot Chicago by a count of 30 to 26.
-Kassian snapped the Wolves 0-for-12 power play drought when he attempted a centering pass from behind the net that went off a Rivermen defender and in.
-The Wolves finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play, which sat at 1-for-17 through three games.
-3 Stars: 1. CHI, Climie. 2. PEO, Jake Allen. 3. CHI, Miskovic.
Friday, October 19th – Chicago Wolves 3 Abbotsford Heat 2 (Shootout)
Zack Kassian did it all on Friday night. He threw multiple thunderous hits, he scored a beautiful goal, dropped the mitts, and sealed the deal in the shootout as the Chicago Wolves improved to 4-0-0-0 with a 3-2 shootout in Abbotsford over a previously undefeated Heat squad.
After an uneventful first period, Kassian opened the scoring halfway through the middle stanza with his second of the year, and second in as many games. In the third period the Heat answered back before Nathan Longpre scored his team-leading third of the season to regain the lead. Chicago’s lead would only last just over a minute as Abbotsford would again knot up the score.
Cue Eddie Lack. The Wolves goaltender stopped Ben Walter on a breakaway with 12:05 left in the third period before stopping Roman Horak on a breakaway with just over two minutes remaining. Chants of “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie” were heard throughout the 6,871 in attendance, the majority of them cheering for the Wolves.
After overtime didn’t solve anything, the Wolves scored on three of four shootout attempts, while Lack stopped all three Heat shooters to seal the win. TY-BITS
-Steve Pinizzotto, Andrew Gordon, and Andrew Ebbett picked up assists for the Wolves.
-The Wolves outshot the Heat by a count of 32 to 29. -Kassian dropped the gloves with Abbotsford’s Joe Piskula midway through the third period; Derek Jory’s pink V-neck shirt gave the decision to Kassian.
-Jordan Schroeder, Darren Haydar, and Kassian scored in the shootout, with Bill Sweatt the lone Wolves player to miss.
-Pinizzotto had a goal disallowed with 8:29 left in the second period after he redirected a Gordon shot, but it was determined his stick was above the crossbar.
-Lack finished with 27 saves, and had gone seven of nine periods played without allowing a goal.
-Through four games the Wolves had not given up a goal in the first 40 minutes of any game this season.
-3 Stars: 1. ABB, Roman Horak. 2. ABB, Ben Walter. 3. CHI, Zack Kassian. (Not sure who picked those stars…) QUOTES
Kassian on his second period goal: “I had a lot of speed and Ebbett made a great pass, kind of caught the defense flat-footed, went in and had a good shot.”
Kassian on what caused his third period scrap: “Pushing and shoving, two people got a little angry and decided to fight.”
Coach Arniel on Kassian’s game: “That is the best game I have seen him play.”
Gordon on the crowd cheering for them: “It was interesting, definitely the first time that has happened to me in my career; it’s awesome to see that many people out to support us.”
Saturday, October 20th – Abbotsford Heat 4 Chicago Wolves 1
Kass-sanity ran wild in the first period, but the Chicago Wolves ran out of gas as the game went on, losing their first game of the season, 4-1 to the Abbotsford Heat on Saturday night.
Kassian opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the first period, marking the third straight game the power forward had opened the scoring for the Wolves. Later in the period, Kassian engaged in a short but lopsided scrap with the Heat’s Zach McKelvie, bringing the sold-out crowd on its feet yet again.
A spirited second period saw the Heat tie the game up at the 5:10 mark after Wolves goaltender Eddie Lack was caught out of his crease on a failed clearing attempt that had Carter Bancks put the puck in the empty net. Bancks would then challenge Alexandre Mallet to a fight after the Canucks prospect laid out a Heat defender with a bone-crushing hit. Mallet gladly accepted the challenge and showed the many Canucks fans in attendance one of the main reasons he was drafted in the second round; he can throw bombs. Steve Pinizzotto then got in on the action taking on a much bigger opponent in 6-foot-7, 230-pound Chris Breen. The teams went to the locker room tied at one after 40 minutes.
The gas tank appeared to hit empty in the third period for the Wolves, who were playing their fifth game in eight nights (with travel), as the Heat poured it on, scoring three times in the final period to cruise to a 4-1 victory.TY-BITS
-The Heat outshot the Wolves 41-26, including 17-9 in the final period.
-Yann Sauve picked up the lone assist on the Kassian goal.
-It was Wolves captain Darren Haydar’s turn to sit the game out, as AHL rules only allow teams to dress five players with over 260 games of pro experience.
-Kassian and Andrew Ebbett led the way for the Wolves with three shots a piece.
-This marked the first time all season the Wolves have allowed a goal in the first 40 minutes of play.
-The Wolves have allowed only ten goals in five games this season, nine of which have come in the third period.
-The Wolves went 0-for-4 on the man advantage, bringing their season total to 1-for-25 (4%), good for last in the AHL.
-3 Stars: 1. ABB, Sven Baertschi. 2. ABB, Barry Brust. 3, ABB, Bancks. QUOTES
Coach Arniel on the team looking tired as the game went on: “Three games in four nights with some travel in there caught up with our legs a little.”
Eddie Lack on the Heat’s first goal: “We were up 1-0 and I made a mistake, I wish I could get that one back, I just got to learn from it and move on from here.”
Mallet on #TheShift: “It is one of my biggest strengths I bring to the game; I am a big guy that likes to hit a lot and not afraid to drop the gloves.”COMING UP...
The Wolves (4-1-0-0) will get some much needed rest before playing a tough three games in three nights next weekend. Up first is a tilt in Peoria against the Rivermen (STL, 1-2-1-0) on Friday before returning home for a pair of home games against the San Antonio Rampage (FLO, 2-2-0-0) on Saturday, and the Grand Rapids Griffins (DET, 1-2-0-1) on Sunday afternoon. This marks the first of five three games in three nights weekends for the Wolves.