Last year’s AHL champions, the Cleveland Monsters, are in town as the Wolves continue to chase first place and extend their win streak to five Saturday night at the Allstate Arena.
The Wolves are 8-1-1-0 in their last ten games. Led by the AHL’s leader in points Kenny Agostino, the Wolves will look to build on their already 20-6-1-1 record at home this season.
The Wolves will be down some guys but that has not seemed to affect them at all this season. Ivan Barbashev, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Schmaltz are currently with the NHL affiliate the St. Louis Blues. And, the Blues traded away standout goalie Pheonix Copley to the Washington Capitals right before the trade deadline. These have been key pieces for the Craig Berube’s team this season, but the depth of the team has really been what has made this team one of the best in the Western Conference.
With 19 games remaining, the Wolves are not far off from the top of the conference or their division. The Wolves stand second in the Central division, with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the lead and the Milwaukee Admirals not too far behind in third. But after that, the Wolves have the advantage over every other team. It is not just the record but the dominance they have have against other teams this season.
In the Wolves-Monsters last meeting on February 22nd, the Wolves won 4-2 behind Copley’s 23 saves. Wolves rookie Vince Dunn scored a powerplay goal halfway through the third period that turned out to be the game winner. Dunn made headlines on the 26th after fighting with an Iowa player in the tunnel by the locker rooms. Here is the video:
After the game Dunn said that “He got me up in the face with his stick on the ice and I went after him. On the way back the locker room I said some stuff I probably should not have said and we went after it again.”
Tonight is the first of four meeting against the Monsters this month. The Wolves will take on the Manitoba Moose on Sunday afternoon at home before taking a few days off until the Monsters come back to the Allstate Arena on Thursday, March 9th. The remaining games in Cleveland on March 21st and 22nd.
You can follow Thomas Gibbons on Twitter: @ThomasGibbons_3