The Chicago Wolves have been lacking in the goal department and it is hurting their playoff chances. The goal scoring scarcity has been apparent on home ice as well. The Wolves have been shut out in three of their last seven games overall and continue to miss out on solid scoring opportunities in front of the net. Sunday’s loss to division rival Rockford was no exception.
“That’s another two points that we pissed away,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson.
Chicago experienced another up-and-down game, holding the IceHogs to eight shots in the first, but gave up three goals on fourteen shots in the second.
“We went another five periods without scoring a goal,” said Anderson. “Makes it a little tough to win when you’re not putting any (pucks) in the net. You need to score one to win.”
Chicago has given up 11 power play goals in their last 10 games and is 1-for-39 on the power play since February 6.
“(Rockford’s) power play is really good with (Spencer) Abbott on the half-wall,” said Anderson. “Are guys are in and out of the lineup. You’re changing them all over the place. You try to practice with the guys you have, and then the next day it changes. It’s one of those things.
Chicago was averaging 2.21 goals per game at home prior to Sunday’s tilt versus the Rockford IceHogs. The team is averaging 3.10 goals per game away from the Allstate Arena.
The lack of production at home is also letting a consistent defensive effort go to waste. The Wolves are giving up 2.54 and 2.58 goals per game at home and on the road, respectively.
The latest stretch of mediocre play has Chicago in 10th place in the AHL’s Western Conference with 65 points, three out of the 8th and final playoff spot. Their next five games are against teams out west that are ahead of them in the standings, including division opponent Milwaukee.
The brief lapses that the Chicago Wolves have during games could ultimately cost them a playoff spot, something the franchise is not used to seeing. The Wolves have to string together wins or else the muddled fight for the 8th seed will be a little clearer, and without Chicago.
Colton Paraynko is the newest member of the ever-changing Wolves lineup. The defenseman was signed as a college free agent out of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. His entry-level deal with the St. Louis Blues, the Wolves’ parent club, led to an AHL tryout with Chicago. His first game was this past Sunday against the IceHogs.
“As a whole, it was great to get the first game under my belt,” Parayko said. “As the game went on, I felt more comfortable. Just gotta make sure that I work hard and make sure that I come focused and prepared and do the right things that are gonna make me successful.”
Parayko also said that he was encouraged by the words of Anderson during his first few days with the Wolves.