Wolves hit road still seeking answers for stalled offense

Wolves hit road still seeking answers for stalled offense
DALE WOLTMANN / CHICAGO WOLVES | The Wolves are hoping to see more goal celebrations like this one Sunday after Ty Rattie's goal with less than 18 seconds left in regulation forced overtime in the Wolves' eventual 5-4 shootout victory over Oklahoma City.

Despite seeing his Chicago Wolves team rally for a 5-4 shootout victory Sunday, coach John Anderson was still in a somber mood when he greeted the media, saying he wished he could be smiling. At least he was in a better mood than he was after Saturday's 5-2 loss to the same Oklahoma City Barons team.

On that night, an exasperated Anderson said he'd grown frustrated by the Wolves continued offensive struggles. And he indicated changes to the roster may be needed for a team that ranked 19th in the AHL in scoring (2.68 goals per game) after the game, and one of the league's worst power plays.

"The plays are there, we don’t make them, we don’t see the ice," Anderson said Saturday. "I don’t know maybe we gotta get some players in here that can see the ice. I’m not sure right now. I’m very frustrated. We’re not making plays."

The likelihood of the Wolves, who begin a three-game road trip tonight in Grand Rapids, making any moves in the near future isn't great. But general manager Wendell Young said the Wolves aren't meeting expectations, and something needs to happen.

"We don’t want to stay stagnant and stay like this," Young said during Sunday's second intermission. "We put a team together at the beginning of the season that no way did we think we were a .500 hockey team, and that’s how we’re playing. The standings don't lie."

The Wolves (11-10-0-2) sit fourth in the Midwest Division -- 12 points behind the first-place Griffins -- and ninth in the Western Conference. Their offense bumped up to 15th after Sunday's five-goal effort, but the power play lagged to 29th with only 13 goals in 115 opportunities (11.3 percent).

Their leading scorer, Corey Locke, ranks 35th overall in the AHL with 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists). Ty Rattie's two goals Sunday gave him a team-high eight on the season, tied for 38th in the league. Nobody has more than two power-play goals.

Still, Young said he wasn't actively looking to make a trade. So far, the only trade talks have come when teams have approached him, something that will increase in frequency if the Wolves don't start living up to their potential.

"A lot of teams see what we have for talent, and if you’re not winning the vultures come out," Young said. "And they’ve come calling already. It’s out there. It’s a tough situation. I’m not saying we’re making trades, but we have to entertain what’s being offered."

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