Lyon Hockey

Game Day: Happy New Year!

ROCKFORD ICE (34-26-4-1)
TO CHICAGO WOLVES (46-14-5-5)

Tuesday April 19 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena | My50 Chicago | AHLTV | facebook live

HAVE A GOOD YEAR!

It seems like 108 years ago instead of 108 days, but today’s clash between the Chicago Wolves and the Rockford IceHogs was scheduled to take place on January 1 and be celebrated as the Chicago New Year’s Classic, presented by Planet Fitness.

But the Omicron wave of COVID-19 forced the Wolves and IceHogs to take a few weeks off over the holidays – and forced AHL planners to add an extra week to the regular season schedule in order to find spots on the schedule for a handful of postponed matches.

Had this game been played on Jan. 1, Wolves would have entered the night with a 20-4-1-1 record and on a 12-game winning streak while the IceHogs sat at 11-11-1-1 .

Although head coach Ryan Warsofsky’s Wolves haven’t quite maintained that ridiculous pace, they still boast the Central Division’s best record since January 1 and have clinched the fifth Central Division title in the league. organization over the past six years.

However, Wolves still have a lot to play for as they are essentially tied with Pacific Division leaders Stockton Heat to gain home ice advantage throughout the Calder Cup playoffs. If Chicago wins its last six games and Stockton wins its last five, they will finish tied at .750 point percentage. However, Wolves are well ahead of the first tiebreaker (percentage of games won in regular time).

Rockford, meanwhile, is working on two big incentives. The IceHogs’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 5 with seven games remaining. Also, even though Milwaukee clinched a playoff berth and are one spot ahead of Rockford in the standings, the IceHogs still have a chance to finish with a higher point percentage and sweep the third and final first-round bye of the game. central division.

GOALKEEPER CAROUSEL

When Wolves traveled to Texas last Tuesday for a three-game series with the Stars, they decided to take just two goaltenders – Pyotr Kochetkov and Alex Lyon – while sending Jack LaFontaine to Norfolk (ECHL) in order to get three or four games of action. Either Kochetkov or Lyon had to play tonight’s game.

But what about the best plans? LaFontaine played two games for Norfolk and then joined Wolves on Saturday once Lyon left Friday’s game early through injury. Then, after Carolina (NHL) starting goaltender Frederik Andersen suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday night, the Hurricanes recalled Kochetkov on loan on Sunday. With LaFontaine Chicago’s only healthy goaltender at the time, Wolves recalled Dylan Wells from loan to Norfolk. LaFontaine and Wells should be dressed tonight.

we are the wolves

Wolves wrapped up their 12th division title in 28 years on Saturday.
Here is the list of division champions:

1998 Midwest (IHL): 113 pts in 82 games (.689)
1999 Midwest (IHL): 110 pts in 82 games (.671)
2005 West (AHL): 105 pts in 80 games (.656)
2008 West (AHL): 111 pts in 80 games (.694)
2010 West (AHL): 105 pts in 80 games (.656)
2012 Midwest (AHL): 91 pts in 76 games (.599)
2014 Midwest (AHL): 100 points in 76 games (.658)
2017 Central (AHL): 101 points in 76 games (.664)
2018 Central (AHL): 95 points in 76 games (.625)
2019 Central (AHL): 98 points in 76 games (.645)
2021 Central (AHL): 45 points in 33 games (.682)
2022 Central (AHL): 102 points in 70 games (.729)

If Wolves earn 4 points in their last six games, they will break the franchise mark for the best regular season record. The 1999-2000 team set the standard with a .695 point percentage (53-21-8).

LAST TWO MATCHES

SATURDAY, APRIL 16: CHICAGO 6, (AT) TEXAS 4

  • Striker Stefan Noesen’s shorthanded goal 9:28 into the third period ended the game’s fourth and final tie and ended the winner as Wolves clinched the Central Division title.
  • In addition to Noesen’s 42nd and 43rd goals this year, Wolves have received goals from defenders Joey Keane and Max Lajoie and forwards Richard Panik and Josh Leivo.
  • Goalkeeper Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 25 shots for the win.

FRIDAY, APRIL 13: CHICAGO 4, (AT) TEXAS 3

  • Spencer Smallman scored with 5:28 remaining to wrap up Wolves’ rally from a 2-0 deficit and knock their magic number down to 1 for the Central Division title.
  • Rookie striker Ivan Lodnia produced his first two-goal game as a professional, defender Chris Bigras scored his first Wolves goal and forwards Vasily Ponomarev and Jamieson Rees added 2 assists.
  • Goalkeeper Pyotr Kochetkov came on for the injured Alex Lyon and made 12 saves for the win.

By the numbers

2.54: The Wolves lead the American Hockey League in goals against at 2.54 per game, but the Providence Bruins (2.60) are closing in. If Wolves can retain their place atop the GAA rankings, it would be the first time in franchise history to lead the league in the fewest goals allowed. The team record for fewest goals against per game was set in 2013-14 when Goaltender of the Year Jake Allen and substitute Matt Climie led the team to a mark of 2.51 per game . Wolves allowed 191 goals in 76 games that year, so this year’s side need to allow fewer than 13 goals in the last six games to break that record.

4: When veteran striker Josh Leivo scored his 20th goal on Saturday night, he became the fourth Wolves skater to hit the 20-goal mark this season. That ties the 2018-19 Calder Cup runners-up for the most 20-goal scorers in the last 11 years. Rookie center Jack Drury is just two goals from a 20. If he can catch two more, then this year’s team would tie the Wolves of 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2009-10 for the most 20-goal scorers in the AHL era.

13: Wolves’ magic number to claim home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is 13 with six games to go. The Stockton Heat’s magic number is 11 with five games remaining, so the teams are neck and neck to finish with the best point percentage in the AHL. If Wolves and Heat have the same points percentage at the end of the regular season, then the first tiebreaker is regulation wins divided by games played. Right now, that favors the Wolves (39/70=0.557) over the Heat (31/63=0.492).

23: Wolves earned their 23rd road win Saturday at Texas, tying the 2018-19 Calder Cup finalists for the most road wins in the organization since the AHL began playing a schedule. of 76 games in 2011. If Wolves can earn 3 points in their last two road games, they will finish with the second best road point percentage in franchise history. The 2006-07 team went 27-8-2-3 (.738).

43: With two goals Saturday night in Texas, forward Stefan Noesen became the first AHL player to score 43 goals in a season since 2010 — and the second Wolves player to score 43 goals in a season since Chicago joined the league. AHL in June 2001. Brett Sterling’s league-best 55-goal performance in 2006-07 is Chicago’s single most productive performance in the past 21 years. Noesen has a four-goal lead over Martin Frk of Ontario in the hunt for the AHL scoring title. To make his chances even better, Wolves have two more games to play than Reign.

91: Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski dished out 3 assists on Saturday night in Texas to bring his total points to 91 (25G, 66A) for the season. He and Ontario’s TJ Tynan (13G, 79A) became the first AHL players in 10 seasons to score more than 90 points. They are both trying to become the first in the AHL to break the 100-point mark since Hershey’s Keith Aucoin (106) and Alexandre Giroux (103) in 2009-10. Poturalski’s 66 assists are tied with Steve Maltais (1995-96) for the fifth-highest single-season tally in Wolves history. Jason Krog (2007-08) ranks fourth with 73.

422: Since Wolves played their first game on October 1, 1994, a total of 727 players have played for Chicago. Veteran Richard Panik and rookies Noel Gunler and Vasily Ponomarev joined the club on April 6 – and Panik became the 422nd player to boast NHL and Wolves experience. That’s 58.0 percent of all Wolves players, which doesn’t include former Wolves forward Cody Beach, who made his NHL refereeing debut on April 12 in Arizona.

REGULAR SEASON FINAL MATCHES

All games are streamed on AHLTV.