Welcome to Wolves Insider, brought to you by Rivers Casino: the weekly report that brings you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy winners head into the playoffs and prepare to challenge for the fifth league championship in the league. ‘organization.
LET THE CALDER CUP HUNT BEGIN!
For the first time since joining the American Hockey League in June 2001, the Chicago Wolves won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, which goes to the team with the best regular season record. Wolves’ franchise record 0.724 point percentage (50-16-5-5) has given Chicago the home advantage throughout the Calder Cup playoffs that open tonight.
Wolves, who also won the Central Division title for the fifth time in the past six years, were given a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They will spend this week training at the Wolves training facility in Hoffman Estates while keeping an eye out for potential opponents in the Central Division semi-finals: the fourth-seeded Rockford IceHogs against the Texas Stars. , seeded fifth, in a best-of-3 series. which begins Wednesday in Rockford. Wolves meet the winner in a best-of-5 set which begins the second week of May.
While there are never any guarantees when it comes to playoff hockey, there are plenty of reasons Wolves are optimistic about their chances of bringing their fifth league championship to Chicago.
1) The league’s best record is backed by solid metrics that reflect Chicago’s consistent level of dominance. Wolves posted a league-high +67 goal differential in 76 games, while Pacific Division winner Stockton Heat was second with +57. Wolves led the league in power play odds per game (4.22) and ranked third in lowest power play odds allowed (3.37).
2) Captain Andrew Poturalski and alternate captain Stefan Noesen — both named AHL First Team All-Stars — delivered offensive production not seen in the AHL since 2009-10. Poturalski’s career-high 101 points and Noesen’s 48 goals were the AHL’s highest totals in 12 years. “They’re arguably the two best players in the whole league and I think any manager who’s seen them would say that,” Wolves head coach Ryan Warsofsky said. “They can dominate the game. They set the tone for the way we play. It’s so easy.”
📝: https://t.co/YkToTLmsR8 pic.twitter.com/pgVks3Y203
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) May 1, 2022
3) While the Wolves finished fourth in the AHL in goals per game (3.43), they led the league in fewest goals against (2.55). Credit goes to a solid group of goalkeepers – led by Alex Lyon, Pyotr Kochetkov and Eetu Makiniemi – as well as a solid defensive body and a group of forwards who play as hard in the defensive zone as they do in the area. offensive.
Chicago’s Alex Lyon is the recipient of the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for the 2021-22 season. #AHLAwards
📝: https://t.co/6P1rPebwxM pic.twitter.com/LnZNAopJTb
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) May 1, 2022
4) The depth of the team is just as impressive as the aforementioned stars and top NHL veterans such as Josh Leivo and Richard Panik. The Twelve Wolves have bought time in the NHL this season and have several of the NHL’s top draft picks on the way. Chicago’s roster also includes crucial glue guys such as Orland Park native David Gust, who has 16 goals and 20 assists, and forward Spencer Smallman, who is rated +27 plus/ least through fierce back and forth play.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE PLAYOFFS
Wolves have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs – starting with the best Central Division semi-finals which begin next week. Whether they face Rockford or Texas, Wolves know they have a home game at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. To get tickets for this date, click on here.
Otherwise, fans should visit wolves playoff page for the latest information and the chance to win two tickets for each home game.
LAFONTAINE GOES TO CAROLINA
Hours before the Carolina Hurricanes opened the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Boston Bruins, the Hurricanes announced they had recalled rookie goaltender Jack LaFontaine from loan to Wolves.
Since turning pro in January, LaFontaine has posted a 4-3-4 record with a 2.89 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in 13 games with Wolves. The 24-year-old has also appeared in games for the ECHL Hurricanes and Norfolk Admirals.
The Hurricanes won the Metropolitan Division title and claimed the top seed in their quadrant of the 16-team Stanley Cup bracket. The Bruins earned the top wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
The 29-year-old Plano, Texas native became the fifth player in Wolves history to win the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s top scorer. Noesen finished his remarkable year with 48 goals – six more than any other AHL player in the past 12 years. Noesen’s game-winning 13 goals, a franchise record, also paced the AHL while his +35 plus/minus rating ranked second.
The Wolves captain got an assist on Stefan Noesen’s goal 10:51 of Saturday’s win at Rockford to become the first AHL player since 2010 (and the 100th player in AHL history) to score 100 points in one season. He finished with 101 points (28G, 73A) to become the fifth man in the AHL’s 86-year history to win the John B. Sollenberger Trophy (awarded to the league’s top scorer) two years in a row.
The 29-year-old from Baudette, Minn., was honored Sunday as the recipient of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award, given to goaltenders who have played at least 25 games for the team that led the AHL goals-against average. Lyon was the only Wolves goalkeeper to qualify by posting an 18-7-3 record and 2.16 average in 30 games.
SATURDAY, APRIL 30: CHICAGO 3, (AT) ROCKFORD 2
- Wolves fired 54 shots — the team’s highest regular-season total since Dec. 2, 2006 — as they ended the schedule with a win that clinched the AHL’s best regular-season record.
- Captain Andrew Poturalski placed forward Stefan Noesen twice as Poturalski finished first in the AHL in points (101) and Noesen led the AHL in goals (48). Striker Stelio Mattheos also scored.
- Goaltender Alex Lyon made 23 saves as the Wolves posted the AHL’s best goals-against average.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28: (AT) CHICAGO 6, GRAND RAPIDS 3
- Rookie center Jack Drury scored twice, including the game-winning goal in a four-goal third period, as Wolves remained in contention for the AHL’s best regular-season record.
- Forwards Andrew Poturalski and Stefan Noesen, named AHL First Team All-Stars earlier in the day, had 1 goal and 1 assist each while forwards David Cotton and Josh Leivo also scored.
- Goaltender Jake LaFontaine made 22 saves for his second straight victory.
GUARANTEED HOME PLAYOFF DATE
Wolves will host up to three games in the best of 5 Central Division semi-finals which start next week, but May 14 is the only guaranteed date regardless of the opponent.
All games are streamed on AHLTV.