Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
When we last saw the Chicago Wolves in Milwaukee – Kevin Fiala made people blow tires and look bad. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals were stationary yesterday. With points percentage being what dictates things in the AHL these days they have the Iowa Wild to thank for pushing them into first place of the Central Division and second place of the Western Conference standings. The Wild took down the Rockford IceHogs 3-1 yesterday evening. To boot, the Wild also shot down a certain Chicago Wolves team 2-1 the day prior. It feels as if it’s darn near the first back-to-back wins for Iowa since they were named the Chops. Kidding aside, cheers for all that you do down there Iowa.

~The Streak Is Over~

Before plunging into tonight’s game there is another bit of news worth touching on from yesterday. The Grand Rapids Griffins’ fifteen game winning streak is officially over. The Griffins lost 3-2 on the road to the Lake Erie Monsters to finally see their franchise record winning streak snapped. When their winning streak began the Griffins were 2-8-0-1 on the season with a 0.136 points percentage. Now, sixteen games later, they are up to a 0.648 points percentage.

The Griffins run is officially tied for the third longest winning streak in the AHL since 1992: 2011-12, Norfolk Admirals (28 games)… 2004-05, Philadelphia Phantoms (17 games)… 2015-16, Grand Rapids Griffins (15 games)… 2007-08, Syracuse Crunch (15 games)… 1995-96, Albany River Rats (15 games).

~Amtrak Rivals~

As I spoke about briefly when we last faced the Wolves – things just haven’t been going that well for them and it’s all happening with core players of the team in camp. They enter tonight’s game with a record of 14-11-1-2 (31 points). Their 0.554 points percentage has them in sixth place of the Central Division and eighth in the Western Conference standings.

The Wolves month of December to this point has been a mixed bag: 4-5-0-1 record. Before dropping their last game to the woeful/surging Wild the Amtrak Rivals, like the Admirals at the moment, were on a three-game winning streak of their own. They beat the Texas Stars 4-3 in a shootout, the IceHogs 4-3 in overtime, and then the Manitoba Moose 4-1. All those games were at home and it wasn’t until that Iowa game where the homestand came to a crashing end.

The same ol’ three musketeers are leading the Wolves in scoring as has been the case most of this season: André Benoît, 23 points (3 goals, 20 assists)… Ty Rattie, 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists)… and Pat Cannone, 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists).

On the roster move front, the St. Louis Blues flipped defenseman Petteri Lindbohm down to the Wolves while recalling defenseman Joel Edmundson and forward Jordan Caron back on 12/20/15. Caron had scored a pair of goals in three-games against the Admirals this season.

In net, things are a little rocky for last season’s standout Jordan Binnington. This season he has a 6-4-2-2 record, 2.64 goals against average, and a 0.904 save percentage. He has lost the last two-games he’s started against the Admirals after winning eight consecutive games in the Amtrak Rivalry.

Expectations for tonight’s game? Would you prefer to see Marek Mazanec carry over his performance from Saturday’s game into tonight or should the Admirals put Juuse Saros in net and decide after the game how they want to work tomorrow’s tilt with the Griffins? How concerned are you with the Admirals defense so banged up at the moment?

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