Maybe the circus trip is coming at just the right time for the Chicago Wolves. Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena, Chicago struggled to get anything going and fell 5-0 to the Charlotte Checkers. The loss was Chicago’s consecutive and fifth in their last six games. With the defeat, the Wolves (3-5-0-1) fell to 1-4 at home on the season. Now, they will pack up and head on their annual circus trip before returning to Allstate Arena on Nov. 16 to host the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“Regardless of where it is, we have to be better than that,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson.
A scoreless first period saw quality scoring chances from each side. Zach Boychuk nearly gave Charlotte (4-2-0-1) an early lead, but his wrist shot through traffic rang off the crossbar. Chicago’s Nathan Longpre tapped a centering pass just wide left of the net midway through the period.
At the 9:28 mark of the second period, Chris Terry scored his fifth goal of the season to give the Checkers the lead. While on the power play, Terry rifled a shot off the far post, but then had the puck work back to him and went five-hole on Wolves goalie Jake Allen. It was a forgettable game for Allen, who has now allowed five goals in three separate games this year. For Charlotte, it was the first of three power play goals on the game, in eight opportunities.
The power play was ineffective as well for the Wolves, going 0-5 today. On the season Chicago has converted on just 4 of its 43 chances with the man advantage.
“That’s just something we have to figure out,” said Anderson. “We’re just not scoring.”
Nicholas Blanchard’s goal off a big rebound given up by Allen later in the second period gave the Checkers a 2-0 lead. Charlotte held the momentum heading to the third thanks to an undisciplined retaliation penalty taken by the Wolves’ Brett Ponich.
The minor for roughing lasted into the third, and Victor Rask found the puck amid a scramble in front of the net, passed it to Justin Shugg who was staring at an empty net with Allen out of position. Shugg nailed it in to give the Checkers a comfortable 3-0 lead.
A power play goal by Aaron Palushaj and a tip-shot goal by Brody Sutter added insult to injury, and Charlotte finished off the Wolves with a very impressive performance.
The long, two-week road trip looks to provide answers for the Wolves.
“When you are playing like this, it’s not going to change overnight,” said Anderson. “It’s going to be a 3-2 grinder game and we just haven’t done that.”
The Wolves will look to bounce back against the Oklahoma City Barons Friday night.