SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The Chicago Wolves embarked on a six-game road trip amid a lot of chaos that is going on around the team. It was announced that their parent club, the Vancouver Canucks has purchased the Peoria Rivermen leaving the team in limbo in regards to the future. Also the trade deadline is less than 24 hours away for the NHL and moves have already affected the team. While players movement has been going on in mass. And also did we mention that their opponent is the San Antonio Rampage has beaten the Wolves in seven straight games at the AT&T Center? Well it didn’t matter as the Wolves scored early and often to win by the score of 6-3.
Zack Kassian who was sent down by the Vancouver Canucks, got the Wolves quickly on the board finding the loose puck in the neutral and taking it in. His first shot was blocked but the rebound came right back to him for another shot that made it in just thirteen second into the game. If you thought that was fast it was not the quickest in Wolves history. The record is nine seconds and it was done twice.
Left wing Ludwig Blomstrand got his first North American goal at the 2:53 mark as the puck was deflected up over the net, hit the boards and bounced in front of the net for the goal. Playing in only his fourth game with the Wolves, Blomstrand was the 120th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and was assigned to the Wolves after playing in Sweden.
Half a minute later, the Rampage got on the board as the Wolves turned over the puck in their zone allowing Anthony Liciani the goal. The Wolves got that one right back as Andrew Gordon got the puck in after receive the biscuit from Brett Sterling.
Gordon is also returning to the Wolves from Vancouver after forwards Bill Sweatt and Nicklas Jensen were called up. Defenseman Kevin Connauton was traded to the Dallas Stars in a package that brought center Derek Roy to the Canucks.
After going almost ten minutes without a goal in the first period, the Wolves All Star representative, defenseman Brad Hunt wound up on a pass across the ice from Gordon and fired a bazooka into the net. This goal is the one that made Rampage Head Coach Chuck Weber change out his netminders replacing Dov Grumet-Morris with Brian Foster.
It was amazing that nothing happened in the second period until 6:37 in where left wing Brett Sterling got the only goal scored in the middle frame.
Now with a 5-1 lead going into the third the question heading into the period is, can the Wolves hold onto the lead in a period that they are known to fall apart. Well it was a little shaky as center Scott Timmins took the puck end to end on a bad pass to score his 10th of the season. Then on the power play close to the halfway point of the period, defenseman Zach Miskovic fired a one-timer from the point past his former teammates to bring his team within two goals. But the Wolves settled in for the rest of the game that was topped off with and empty net goal from right wing Darren Haydar.
The Three Stars of the game were all from Chicago; Third Star Adam Polasek with 2 assists, Second Star Andrew Gordon with a goal and two assists, and the First Star Brett Sterling with a goal for a four point night.
The win moved the Wolves back in the eight spot with the Milwaukee Admirals and a few other teams on their backs. The team will stay in Texas and travel to Houston for their next game on Friday.
As for the Vancouver Canuck situation, speculation was that the Calgary Flames plan on moving their team from Abbottsford and relocating them in Utica, New York which formerly was the home to the AHL Devils. Abbotsford is the logical place for the Canucks since they are both in British Columbia. In buying out the Peoria franchise from the St. Louis Blues, it gives the team proximity and full control of the operations of their team in matters of players, coaches, and front office personnel, unlike the Wolves as they are independently owned by Don Levin.
Levin has been rumored as being very interested in having his own NHL team but no real word has come out on what his status is. He was shopping around in Seattle a few years back but that has cooled down a bit. Levin hates to lose and throughout the 19 years of the franchise you can see the success of the team and will do anything to field a winner. At least eight teams have approached General Manager Wendell Young regarding possible affiliations and that list has dwindled down to four with St. Louis being one.
As with the NHL Trade Deadline, we haven’t seen this many deals this early with almost a day left to go. The Vancouver organization has already made some deals and exchanged players from the Canucks and the Wolves but that doesn’t stop there. Once the NHL deadline comes, the AHL has a full week to work on their rosters so we will see what Young will do to boaster the Wolves lineup as they fight for their playoff lives.