TEXAS STARS (18-19-5-4)
TO CHICAGO WOLVES (30-10-4-4)
Wednesday March 2 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena | AHLTV | facebook live
THE SPIRIT OF LODNIA AT 8,000 MILES
Chicago Wolves rookie forward Ivan Lodnia was born in Southern California. But his father, Konstantin, was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and became a professional hockey player in his home country. His mother, Irina, was born in Kiev. His older sister, Masha, was born in Kiev.
Although Ivan’s family gave up everything to start a new life in Los Angeles in 1996, three years before he was born, several members of his extended family remain in Ukraine. You can imagine what he thinks and feels since Russia entered Ukraine a week ago.
“My uncle just joined the army there,” Ivan said. “My aunt, we tried to get her here, but it didn’t work. So she hides. My other uncle, he ran away. Usually, if you were going to Poland, it would take four and a half or five hours by road. It took my uncle 25 hours because there was so much traffic.
Over the past week, including the Wolves’ trip to Winnipeg this weekend, Lodnia’s time has been spent following every bit of news from Ukraine. So he enjoys every practice and game that allows his brain to focus on something else for an hour or two. .
“I’m (focused) on the news 24/7,” he said. “Come back from the morning meetings, sit down, watch it. Take a nap, wake up, watch it. Twitter, always up to date. On the phone with my parents every day. I try to do my best to help. »
Lodnia spoke about it for a reason: to remind everyone that these are real people whose lives are at stake – and to raise awareness to encourage everyone to help Ukrainians. On his Twitter account (@ivan_lodnia), he asks for humanitarian aid donations at novaukraine.org. Meanwhile, he also asked Wolves equipment manager Ryan Shoufer to paint the upper yellow stripe on the top half of his skates blue – so that the outside of his skates resembles the Ukrainian flag.
Lodnia, 22, also had a bigger idea: “It doesn’t matter which country it is or which city it is: it’s war. There are kids my age with guns who are dying. If it wasn’t for my dad (moving the family), I’d be here too, right now. Sometimes we don’t realize how lucky we are. If we can do something, we must. I feel like no matter what country it is, there shouldn’t be any war at all. What’s yours is yours. You don’t need to have a war about it and try to take someone else’s business.
TWO WOLVES HIT THE BIG 2-0-0
Tonight’s game marks the 200th American Hockey League appearance for forward Josh Leivo and defenseman Cavan Fitzgerald.
Leivo, 28, had 61 goals and 89 assists in his first 199 AHL games – all of which were played for the Toronto Marlies except for this year’s 10 goals and 16 assists in 28 games with Wolves. Fitzgerald, 25, has 19 goals and 37 assists in his first 199 games, including 6 goals, 12 assists and a +36 plus/minus rating in 62 games over the past two seasons for Wolves.
we are the wolves
We don’t expect the Wolves keeper to achieve a shutout tonight, but history suggests we shouldn’t be surprised if it happens.
Exactly four years ago today (March 2, 2018), Oscar Dansk stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead Wolves to a 3-0 win at San Antonio.
Exactly four years ago (March 2, 2014), Jake Allen stopped all 29 shots he faced to lead Wolves to a 4-0 home win over Iowa.
Almost exactly four years earlier (March 3, 2010), Drew McIntyre made 19 saves in a 3-0 win at Toronto.
LAST TWO MATCHES
SUNDAY FEB. 27: (AT) MANITOBA 4, CHICAGO 3 (SO)
- After Josh Leivo’s overtime goal was canceled, Manitoba outscored Wolves 2-1 in a four-round shootout to claim the extra point at the Canada Life Centre.
- Forwards CJ Smith and Maxim Letunov and defenseman Josh Jacobs scored in the first period to give Chicago a 3-1 lead.
- Goaltender Jack LaFontaine recorded a career-high 31 saves in regulation and overtime.
SATURDAY FEB. 26: CHICAGO 5, (AT) MANITOBA 1
- Forwards Jack Drury and Josh Leivo scored two goals each as Wolves took a 3-0 lead early in the second period and clinched victory over second-placed Moose.
- Defender Cavan Fitzgerald opened the scoring while four Wolves had two assists: forwards David Gust and Andrew Poturalski and defenders Josh Jacobs and Max Lajoie.
- Goalkeeper Alex Lyon stopped 25 shots for his second straight win.
By the numbers
2.58: The Wolves lead the American Hockey League with 2.58 goals against per game. If they can maintain that status, it would be the first time in franchise history that they’ve paced their league with the fewest goals allowed. Chicago’s closest was a third-place finish in 2018-19 with 2.62 per game. The team record for fewest goals against per game was set in 2013-14, when AHL Goaltender of the Year Jake Allen and primary backup Matt Climie led the team at 2.51 per game.
8: Along the same lines, the Wolves have risen to the top of the AHL’s goals-against chart while climbing to the top of the most used by goaltenders chart. Due to injuries and illnesses at the NHL and AHL levels, Wolves have had to use a franchise-record eight goaltenders so far this season: Alex Lyon (23 games), Eetu Makiniemi (14 games), Jack LaFontaine (7 games), Daniel Mannella (3 games), Michael Lackey (2 games), Pyotr Kochetkov, Dylan Wells and Beck Warm (1 game each). The Wolves lead the AHL in most goaltenders used this season – one ahead of the Charlotte Checkers. No AHL team has needed more than eight goaltenders since 2013-14, when the Charlotte Checkers and Oklahoma City Barons each needed nine to survive the regular season.
9:66 a.m.: The Wolves are aiming to become the first AHL team since the 2007-08 Providence Bruins to lead the league in Shots For (35.08) and Shots Against (25.42) in the same season. Their shots-per-game differential (9.66) ranks as the biggest positive margin in the AHL since the 2001-02 Saint John Flames managed an 11.51 shot advantage. Wolves have only one Shots For title in their first 27 seasons – it happened in 1998-99 – and have yet to lead a league in Shots Against. If Wolves maintain those averages the rest of the season, they will break franchise single-season records for Shots For (34.69) and Shots Against (27.93).
ten: Rookie center Jack Drury has produced 10 points (3G, 7A) during his eight-game active streak with at least one point that shares the lead in Wolves’ longest point streak of the season. Captain Andrew Poturalski has just seen his eight-game streak come to an end after registering 2 goals and 13 assists from February 5-26. Veteran forward Stefan Noesen, who joins Abbotsford’s Sheldon Dries at the top of the AHL’s scoring charts with 28 goals, rode a seven-game point streak from Feb. 5-20 with 7 goals and 3 assists .
66: Wolves captain Andrew Poturalski has a shot at becoming the first AHL player to win back-to-back titles since Philadelphia’s Peter White in 1996-97 and 1997-98. The 28-year-old Williamsville, New York native has 66 points (22G, 44A) in 45 games, putting him on track to score 107 points and become the first AHL player to eclipse the scoring barrier. 100 points since 2010. The only player in the same area code is former Wolves star TJ Tynan, the Orland Park native who produced 63 points (11G, 52A). By the way, Poturalski is a pretty good indicator of how things will go for Wolves in any given game. He has 53 points (18G, 35A) in 27 wins, but 13 points (4G, 9A) in 18 losses.
418: Since Wolves played their first game on October 1, 1994, a total of 721 players have played for Chicago. Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov became No. 721 when he made his North American debut with a win over Iowa on February 19, while rookie goaltender Jack LaFontaine became the 418th player to compete for Wolves and in the biggest league in the world when he made his Wolves debut on January 26. In other words, 58.0% of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
NEXT FIVE MATCHES
All games are streamed on AHLTV.