Last season, Norm Maracle set an Orlando Solar Bear record by recording . If the Chicago Wolves continue to play the kind of suffocating defense that they displayed in their 3-0 whitewashing of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Wednesday night, he could break that record by the half way point of the of the season.
If the fact that the Wolves only allowed 19 shots was not impressive enough, consider that they allowed 19 shots on goal while killing off several penalties. The Wolves short-handed unit not only killed off the infractions, but their aggressive play created scoring chances as well. Led by penalty killer specialist, (Wolves forward) Dan Plante, the Wolves defense gave the Ducks no room to operate as they harassed the puck carrier at every opportunity. If this group continues
to play as dominant as this, we’re going to need to find them a nickname.
With things well taken care of on the defensive end, the Wolves defense decided to help out on offense. With 4:24 gone in the first period, Rob Brown slid a beautiful pass, through the slot, finding Dallas Eakins for the one timer to put the Wolves ahead 1-0. Later in the period, Derek MacKenzie scored his first ever professional goal off of rebound shots by Brett Clark and Dan Plante. MacKenzie ended the scoring an empty netter at 19:54 of the third period with an assist from Jef Dessner.
The Wolves were awarded a rare penalty shot in the second period when Ben Simon was pulled down, from behind. Taking the Wolves first non-shootout since April on 1999, Simon skated in on the right side, and tried to stuff if under the pads of (Chicago native) Gregg Naumenko who made the save. Naumenko earned second star of the game, stopping 40 out of 42 shots.
Though it generally takes about 10 or so games for a team to gel, might just need a bit of fine tuning. They’ll find out on Friday as they travel to face-off against their former IHL rivals, the Houston Areos. Both teams return to Chicago for the second of a home and home weekend. The Areos are being taunted as one of
the teams to beat in this early AHL season, but the wolves, with plenty of championship experience will have a lot to say about this seasons outcome.