Scoring more than one power-play goal in a game has been a rare accomplishment for the Chicago Wolves this season. Prior to Friday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies, the Wolves had scored multiple goals with the man advantage only three times in 37 games, pulling it off twice against the Rockford IceHogs.
So when the Wolves finished Friday's game with two goals on the power play, one could assume Wolves coach John Anderson would be pleased. Instead, Anderson's postgame comments indicated how frustrated he was by everything else that happened in the game. And there was plenty to be frustrated -- and angry -- about in a game in which both teams had eight power-play opportunities.
Anderson was particularly bothered that his team squandered a lengthy two-man advantage in the third period of a 2-2 game.
"We had a chance to win the game on a 5-on-3 and missed the fucking net three times, so I don’t know," Anderson said. "They get one shot on theirs and it’s in the net."
Anderson was referring to the game-winning goal, scored by Sam Carrick with 1:11 left in overtime. It was the Marlies' third power-play goal of the night, but that wasn't the main reason Anderson was incensed. His ire was stoked by the tripping minor assessed to Mark Mancari in the overtime that led to Carrick's goal.
"I really didn’t like that call on Mancari," Anderson said. "That’s a very, very weak call. I don’t know how that’s a penalty. But, you know, I can’t say what I really think."
Toronto entered as the 15th-most penalized team, so it isn't a squad filled with goons. Yet, it is a big and physical team. The Marlies antics clearly got under the skins of the Wolves, who took an uncharacteristic nine penalties. Only four teams average fewer penalty minutes per game than the Wolves' 13.87 mark.
Anderson blamed his players for not being more disciplined, especially after he warned them prior to the game that the Marlies will push the line to draw penalties. To hear Anderson after the game, the Marlies crossed that line many times.
One incident that comes to mind involved Andrew Crescenzi and Mancari. After a whistle drew some pushing and shoving in the neutral zone near the Marlies' blue line, Crescenzi appeared to poke the blade of his stick toward Mancari's face, and might have caught him in the visor. No penalties were assessed on that stoppage.
"They played hard. They’re dirty after the whistle. They’re punching guys in the head," Anderson said. "If the referee lets them get away with it they can do it all night. Tried to tell our guys to stay away from it."
ODDS AND ENDS
Coupled with Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Grand Rapids, the Wolves lost back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 13-14, but were able to at least salvage one point this time. ... With its two power-play goals Friday, the Wolves have now scored multiple goals with the man-advantage in two straight home games. They finished 2-for-3 in a 4-3 shootout win Jan. 5 over Rockford. On Nov. 29 the Wolves scored a season-high three power-play goals against the IceHogs, tonight's opponent at Allstate Arena. ... Elmhurst-native Garret Sparks made an impressive hometown debut for the Marlies. Sparks, playing in front of a large group of friends and family, made 25 saves to even his rookie season record at 3-3. After the game the 20-year-old tweeted: "What. A. Night. Awesome playing in Chicago in front of family & friends even better getting another OT win with the guys!!" ... Defenseman Joel Edmundson (concussion) remains out of the Wolves lineup since taking a hard hit in the first period in the Jan. 5 game against the IceHogs. He's missed three games so far. ... Tonight's game marks the final January home date for the Wolves, who travel to upstate New York for a Tuesday game against the Utica Comets, the affiliate of the Wolves' former parent Canucks. The current Comets roster features 12 ex-Chicago players, though Colin Stuart played here prior to the Canucks' partnership.