Hooked On Hockey Magazine

The Wolves are biting their way through the AHL

With the NHL lockout, the AHL affiliate team for the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Wolves had one goal in mind before the season started and that was to be the best team in the AHL.  Right now you could say that goal has been met.  After starting with back to back wins over Rockford, it marked the fifth time in franchise history they opened a season with two straight victories.

Fun fact of the day: Chicago has gone on to win a league title in three of the four previous times they started with back to back wins, (1998,2002, 2008.)  The real story to start the season was Eddie Lack’s play in net for those two wins.  In the season opener he stopped 25 shots in the game, and three of four attempts in the shootout to collect his 10th shutout of his AHL career.  Lack earned four shutouts last year, the most by a Wolves goaltender since 2004-05. The Wolves then exploded for 5 goals in a 5-3 thumping over Rockford. Eddie Lack was again the story for the Wolves as he pushed away 25 shots in the W.

Goaltender Matt Climie warms up with one of the pink sticks that was auctioned off in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Each stick sold for the cost of one mammogram for those who can’t afford them. Heidenhain matched every purchase to ensure more women had the opportunity to receive mammograms.(Photo: Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves)

A new face was welcomed with open arms to the Wolves during the off-season. After the Wolves dropped Craig MacTavish as their coach, they welcomed Scott Arniel as their head coach. Arniel was the third coach in franchise history to win in his season debut and also joined John Anderson to win his first games as a new bench boss for the Wolves.

If people thought the Wolves were done there, they were very mistaken, the Wolves went onto win their next two games before dropping their fifth game in Abbotsford – 4-1 . After allowing four unanswered goals to the Heat, the Wolves ran out of gas, and couldn’t keep up with the very talented Heat roster.

So the Wolves posted a 5-2-1-0 record and a .688 winning percentage in October. It was the team’s best opening month of a season since the 07/08 squad went 6-0-1-0, not too bad for this team who’s under a new bench boss, and has a few fresh faces.  After being called up from the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings (yes, there’s a place called Kalamazoo, and yes I looked it up), Michael Davies posted 3 points in his first three games with the Wolves after being called up.

We’re now in November, or should I say, Movember? Anyways, the Wolves are at the top of the AHL tied with Charlotte.  The Wolves amassed a 7-3-1-0 record to start the season, and sit with 15 points.  After losing to them on Sunday night, the Wolves rebounded with a 2-1 win over the Checkers on Tuesday night in Charlotte.  Steve Pinizotto (sounds like a pasta recipe, doesn’t it?) signed sealed delivered his first two goals of the season which put the Checkers down for an L.  Eddie Lack stopped 24 shots to earn the win, and is now 6-2 on the season.

This Wolves team looks very promising this year, and don’t be afraid to give them a look, because they’re the definition of Entertaining!  Chicago plays again this Friday in the Amtrak Rivalry against the Milwaukee Admirals.  Puck drop is 7 PM.

Kevin Cawthra

Just a Canadian kid living the life. Currently the Canucks writer for hookedonhockeymagazine.com and a Sports writer for vancitybuzz.com. Follow me on twitter @KevinCawthra to talk hockey or any sports you like, or if you want to debate, give me your best shot!

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