ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves handily downed the Iowa Wild in a battle for first place supremacy in the Central Division, winning by a score of 4-1, and fueled by the musical stylings of DJ Coghlan. Oscar Dansk made 28 saves in the win.
Dylan Coghlan curated Chicago’s warm up playlist last night, and coincidentally scored his 11th goal of the season to open the game’s scoring. What’s the defenseman’s secret?
“I heard that it hasn’t been changed for awhile. No one’s been able to change it, so I asked Courtney [Mahoney, Senior Vice President of the Chicago Wolves] if I could put a couple of songs on there. I didn’t know she was going to let me do the whole thing. It’s just a couple of new, upbeat songs.”
For what it’s worth, no, he isn’t the locker room DJ – though that may change after the win.
“Reid Duke usually is or Stefan [Matteau], so I just kind of came up with it… I mean, it seems like the boys liked it, so I’m going to have to keep it going.”
11th Time’s the Charm
Speaking of 11 goals, in addition to Coghlan, both T.J. Tynan and Nic Hague registered their 11th goals of the season in the win over Iowa as well. That makes two of Chicago’s goals on the night from dmen, and a third – Brooks Macek’s – was off a tip from a Zach Whitecloud shot. Rocky Thompson’s team finally seems to be getting the consistent depth scoring it’s been lacking.
“I think we’re playing a really good team game,” said Rocky. “We’ve been dealt some blows here in the last little bit and guys have been challenged to have to pick it up. I think that they’re answering the challenge. But, it’s not put on the individual necessarily, it’s a responsibility of the team to strengthen each other by playing a certain way. When you play together, you’ll strengthen as a whole. Sometimes, things can make it more difficult on you, but other things can kind of galvanize you as a group. I think it’s just a continued process of getting stronger as a group to give yourself opportunity for success.”
Revamped Power Play
With the loss of Erik Brannstrom in the Mark Stone trade, and Daniel Carr to injury, the Wolves’ power play has been struggling to find consistent success. Saturday, it looked like they had finally sorted out the woes with Hague’s power-play tally, and a few other chances on the other full man advantage.
“We revamped it before the weekend,” explained Rocky. “We changed things on it, and we moved [Zac] Leslie back onto that top unit and gave him an opportunity to do what he did for us last year. He ran that for us last season. I thought Leslie was outstanding at the end of the year and going into playoffs, and he was challenged to be better. He knew he could be and he wanted to be, and he wanted the challenge, and I think that’s been helpful. For one, we moved some pieces around, and I think we’re looking for different things right now. That’s what we were trying to focus on was looking for different options and I really thought it started last night [Friday vs. Milwaukee]. I thought our power play looked pretty good last night even though we weren’t able to score, we were able to generate some chances. Again, we didn’t get many opportunities tonight, but I thought the power plays we did have, we were able to generate scoring chances on it with a number of different looks which is what we were going for. I have to give them a lot of credit.”
Bailing Out the Ship
While the Wolves sit comfortably in a playoff spot, the Admirals find themselves locked in a six-way battle for the fourth seed in the Central Division. The team in the final playoff spot (Texas) has just a five-point lead over the eighth-place team (San Antonio), and Milwaukee sits at fifth. Milwaukee has lost its two previous games, including a 4-1 loss to Chicago Friday and then a 4-0 loss to Grand Rapids Saturday.
One thing the Wolves can improve upon against the Admirals is the team’s penalty kill. Though Chicago’s PK is clicking at 81.6% overall, against Milwaukee, it is just 67.7%. At this point, Milwaukee is going to be desperate to get even a point especially after two tough losses, so I would not be surprised if they come out of the gate hard. Luckily for Rocky Thompson’s crew, this is the third game in three for both teams, so neither should have the upper hand when it comes to exhaustion.
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