With the incredible start for both the Milwaukee Admirals and the Rockford IceHogs it is almost lost that the Chicago Wolves have been having just as good of a start. They are ranked second in the Midwest Division, ahead of the Ads, and fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 10-4-2-0 (22 points) from 16 games.
Speaking of games played. The Admirals, and Grand Rapids Griffins, have played the fewest amount of games in the entire league to this point: 13 games. The Ads are buckling in for their first three-in-three of the season. They have three of these bad boys this season as opposed to eight last season. This weekend sees a bit of trekking, as well. It starts tonight in Milwaukee (vs. Chicago), then a trip down to Rockford on Saturday, before a late evening game in Iowa on Sunday.
Should be not only a great test for the Ads this weekend but a good way to get the games finally rolling. Right after Sunday’s game there will be a Wednesday scrap with the game team we get tonight, the Amtrak Rivals.
Yesterday morning I made it out to the rink for practice and caught up with head coach Dean Evason. I’m currently in the process of a Magnus Hellberg feature story, due up here some time next week, but I figured I’d also ask Dean about this coming weekend’s games.
Dean Evason Interview:
~Minding That Net~
Also, for a team that lost its rock Jake Allen from last season to this season, you might think the Wolves netminding would have taken a dent. It really hasn’t. Jordan Binnington has been having a great start to his rookie season with 5 wins from 8 games to go along with a 1.88 goals against average and a 0.924 save percentage.
Binnington has just about displaced Matt Climie at this point. The Wolves veteran goaltender has made only 3 starts from 9 games this month. In those games he has a win a 2 losses: 3.04 goals against average and a 0.906 save percentage. To boot, his career numbers against Milwaukee continued to be poor this season as he has taken 2 losses in 2 starts while allowing 3 goals in each game.
~See Goal, Score Goal~
There is only one team in the AHL that has scored more goals this season than the Wolves (56 goals in 16 games) and that’s the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (60 goals in 15 games) out in the Eastern Conference.
Ty Rattie is currently tied for the league lead in goals with Kris Newbury of the Hershey Bears with 10 goals. Rattie has twice as many goals as the next highest scoring Chicago Wolves player. Thing is, that would should be players because they have four players that have scored 5 goals already this season: Pat Cannone, Rob Bordson, Jeremy Welsh, and Shane Harper.
All this point production going on and you have Dmitrij Jaškin back on the Wolves roster after a 6 game stint with the St. Louis Blues came to an end a week ago. In that NHL stint the lone offense he produced was a goal. So far with the Wolves he has played in 7 games and tallied 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) – including a goal and an assist sent he was returned to Chicago. Jaškin has yet to face the Ads this season but, last year, 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) from 6 games against Milwaukee.
What are your expectations for this three-in-three weekend? How many points can the Admirals have from these three games? With the three-in-three in mind – how would you rotate the goaltenders? …would you even rotate the goaltenders?