Lyon Hockey

Wolves Weekly: New Jerseys, Poturalski and more

Photo: Milwaukee Admirals

After a midweek game for Wolves last week, there was no Wolves Weekly. Despite the absence of this new post, you can check out the recap of Wolves’ 3-0 victory at Grand Rapids.

The Chicago Wolves are hot, having won five straight games after losing their home opener to the Rockford IceHogs. As part of that streak, the Wolves swept their three-game road trip by beating Milwaukee and Grand Rapids on Friday and Sunday, respectively, following Wednesday’s victory. Now the Wolves start this weekend with a chance for a seven-game winning streak with home games against the Admirals and Manitoba Moose.

That said, let’s dive into the events in the Wolves hockey world this week.

A storm is brewing

As Wolves’ Twitter account shared on Tuesday, Wolves will wear their new ‘Storm’ alternative jerseys on Sunday against the Admirals. The uniforms are in honor of the team’s partnership with the Hurricanes, who made the “Storm Surge” an important part of their home game day experience. Wolves have introduced their own “Storm” in the form of their magnificent replacements.

Sunday’s clash will be the first for the new “Storm” jerseys, but the fourth clash between Wolves and Admirals. Indeed, after Sunday, the Wolves will not see the Admirals again before mid-December for a round trip on December 17 and 18.

As noted in the tweet above, Wolves fans can pick up their new “Storm” gear at the link or on the team’s website.

Oh captain, my captain

Last week Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski was named AHL Player of the Week. Poturalski has nine points (four goals, five assists) in just three games. The reigning AHL top scorer ended his impressive week with a hat trick in Sunday’s 6-3 win over the Griffins.

Plus, Poturalski is off to an incredibly hot start. In just six games this season, he walks the league with 14 points (five goals, nine assists). The 27-year-old forward is setting an example for Wolves, helping the team climb to the top of the Central Division early in the season.

However, Poturalski is not the only dominant player this season. Equally impressive was the captain’s teammate CJ Smith. He’s off to a good start with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the team’s first six games, good for second in the AHL.

Road sweep

In the past week, Wolves have played three games on the road. They started the trip with a 3-0 victory over the Griffins in Grand Rapids, before venturing to Milwaukee on Friday. Friday’s win required a comeback, but Wolves pulled it out after falling 2-1, eventually reigning victorious, 4-2. Wolves followed with a 6-3 win on their return to Grand Rapids on Sunday.

As mentioned, Potrualski and Smith have been huge bright spots in the last handful of games. However, players like David Gust and Jack Drury are also worth mentioning.

Officially, Jack Drury had his best game of the season on Wednesday. After initially awarding the game’s first goal to CJ Smith, the AHL changed the decision and gave Drury the tally for his first professional goal. In addition, he counted late in the game to put the competition out of reach.

David Gust, from Orland Park, Illinois, is also having a good start to the season. With four points (two goals, two assists) in five games, Gust is currently fourth on the team in points. It only follows the aforementioned Poturalski and Smith, as well as Stefan Noesen. Gust scored in Wednesday’s win and added an assist on Friday.

Eetu Makiniemi

3-0, 1.68 goals against average and .947 save percentage. These are the stats rookie goalkeeper Eetu Makiniemi has released so far this season. Yes, it’s early. However, the Finnish-born goalkeeper has been astonishing for Wolves. He and his teammate Alex Lyon have effectively split the season so far, but there’s a chance Maikiniemi will take on the No.1 role himself pretty quickly.

A perfect example of Makiniemi’s dominance was Wednesday’s game. Although he saw most of the shots clean in the first 40 minutes, the Wolves keeper had to make impressive saves to keep Wolves in the lead in the third period, and ultimately preserve his shutout. In fact, Maikniemi is joining a pretty elite company with his success in the first two games (and now three) with Wolves.

Keep an eye out for Eetu Makiniemi this season. Wolves fans might be excited to watch his development in his first North American season.

What’s next?

Wolves return to the Allstate Arena for two games next weekend. On Saturday, the Wolves host the Manitoba Moose for a showdown on Saturday night. On Sunday, the Wolves have their fourth meeting with the Milwaukee Admirals in a classic Sunday morning in Rosemont. Puck shots for both games are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CDT and 3:00 p.m. CST, respectively. Don’t forget the time change!

Work as an accountant during the day. Big Chicago sports fan. I played college football and I just wish I could skate well enough to play hockey. Twitter: @rnldluce Instagram: @rnldluce