Wolves buck All-Star break hangover
CHICAGO—The Wolves arrived at Allstate Arena Saturday less than 18 hours removed from a loss to the Rockford Icehogs. Saturday’s matchup against the Central division’s last-place team, the Manitoba Moose, provided a chance for redemption. The Wolves took advantage with their signature style of play, burying the Moose 5-2 and regaining second place in the central.
“When we play with speed, nobody can play with us,” said Wolves forward Daniel Carr, who finished Saturday’s game with one goal and one assist. “When we get away from it, things like [Friday’s loss] happen.”
Wolves coach Rocky Thompson emphasized the team’s commitment to speed and forechecking after the victory. His forwards’ ability to aggressively forecheck allowed the Wolves to dominate time of possession in the first period.
They outshot the Moose 14-6 after 20 minutes of play and entered the second period with a 2-1 lead. A bad bounce off the end boards caused a puck to ricochet off Wolves goalie Oscar Dansk’s back and into the net. It tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period.
“I think the team that responds the best mentally after those things has the [advantage],” Thompson said. “It’s how you respond to those mistakes after they’re made, or those bounces, that reveals the character in the individual and in the team.”
After the fluke goal, the Wolves rebounded by scoring three unanswered goals. The first came from a pinpoint shot in the corner by Keegan Kolesar that snuck over the Moose goalie’s shoulder. The second and third came in the final period of the game off the sticks of defenseman Zach Whitecloud and forward Gage Quinney respectively.
The Wolves are now 1-1 after the AHL all-star break and 25-15-5 overall with a full week before their upcoming four-game road trip. The seven-day layoff is one of their two longest of the season. To come out strong on Feb. 9 against a team trailing the Wolves by only three points in the standings, their signature speed and aggressiveness on display Saturday will need to be present.