Wolves beat Griffins 4-0, claim best record in AHL
Daniel Mannella registered his first AHL shutout and Stefan Noesen racked up 2 more goals Wednesday as the Chicago Wolves rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Allstate Arena.
Forwards Jack Drury and Andrew Poturalski also scored for the Wolves (23-5-1-1), who leaped over North Division leader Utica to claim the best record in the AHL. The Wolves have won 15 of their last 16 contests.
The 26-year-old Mannella (2-0-0), a rookie signed to a professional tryout contract on Saturday, has been a brick wall in three appearances for the Wolves. He has allowed just 3 goals in 66 shots to produce a 1.21 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.
The Wolves seized the lead 4:03 into the game on Noesen's eighth goal in his last six games. Defenseman Eric Williams rushed the puck through the neutral zone and fed Poturalski at the left point. Poturalski dropped it to Williams as he built a head of speed behind him and Williams fired from the left dot at goaltender Calvin Pickard, who sent the rebound directly to Noesen for an easy cleanup.
Chicago boosted its lead to 2-0 on Drury's power-play goal at 9:19. C.J. Smith controlled the puck in the left circle and spun it back to defenseman Joey Keane, who rifled a shot from the point. Drury, stationed in the slot, redirected it past Pickard.
The Wolves added an insurance goal on Poturalski's one-timer at 1:43 of the third. Grand Rapids turned over the puck in its defensive zone while on a change and Sam Miletic pounced on it in the right circle. He spied Poturalski alone near the bottom of the left circle and delivered a perfect pass for Poturalski's 16th goal of the season, which pulled him into a share of the AHL lead with Rochester's Michael Mersch.
When the Griffins (13-11-4-1) went on the power play with 4:02 to play, they pulled their goaltender to gain a 6-on-4 advantage. That backfired on Grand Rapids as Noesen banked home a goal from deep in the defensive zone for a 4-0 lead with 2:04 to go.
Pickard (12-8-3) stopped 30 shots for the Griffins.
The Wolves next hit the road for a five-game road trip that starts with a 6 p.m. clash Friday against the Iowa Wild.