Sunday, Oct. 22 | 4:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena

SPECIAL TIMES, SPECIAL TEAMS

Special teams were a decisive factor in Saturday’s tilt between the Chicago Wolves and Tucson Roadrunners. The Roadrunners nabbed the game’s first special-teams goal at 7:09 of the opening period when Dakota Mermis cashed in on a shorthanded opportunity to give Tucson a 1-0 lead. In the second session, Tucson scored a power-play tally in the first 55 seconds for a 3-1 lead. After a 4-on-4 goal from Shea Theodore, the Wolves countered with a 5-on-3 power-play goal of their own in the final three minutes of the second period. The Wolves were clicking along at two PPGs per game entering the action, but Saturday night the club could only muster one.

PATIENT PLAYMAKER

On Saturday, center Wade Megan made his 2017-18 Chicago Wolves debut. As the American Hockey League’s reigning goal-scoring champion with 33 tallies last season, Megan’s presence is a welcome addition to the already offensively gifted Wolves. While Megan didn’t find the back of the net in his debut, he did help set up the plays for two of Chicago’s three goals. Last season, Megan assisted on goals just as much as he scored with 33 helpers. He and his primary linemate Kenny Agostino – last season’s AHL Most Valuable Player – combined for 92 assists. That’s nearly a quarter of all Chicago’s helpers last season.

BLUELINE DEBUT

On Saturday night, defenseman Dmitry Osipov made his professional debut in the Wolves’ 4-3 loss to the Tucson Roadrunners. The 6-4, 234-pound rookie spent most of the night on a pairing with Petteri Lindbohm, who has played his entire American Hockey League career with the Wolves and has 152 contests to his name. Osipov signed a standard player contract with the Chicago Wolves on Sept. 24 after he had been released from the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural training camp. Prior to turning pro, the 21-year-old spent four years in the Western Hockey League where he skated in 270 games and collected 41 points (8G, 33A) with 297 penalty minutes. Osipov is the fourth player this season to make his professional debut with the Wolves – joining forwards Tyler Wong, Keegan Kolesar and Tomas Hyka.

By the Numbers:

  • 1-2-3: Of the eight Chicago Wolves that have scored goals this season, three skaters have at least three tallies and have managed to score in each period of regulation play. With his second-period goal Saturday night, defenseman Shea Theodore began the latest Wolves player to accomplish the feat. Forward Tomas Hyka also joined the 1-2-3 Club in the 4-3 loss to the Tucson Roadrunners when he netted Chicago’s first goal of the contest at 13:01 of the first frame. The first member of the club is Alex Tuch — currently skating with Vegas Golden Knights — when he collected a hat trick in the season opener on Oct. 6.
  • 2: Thus far, the Chicago Wolves have elected to chose their leadership — three alternate captains — on a game-by-game basis. With the supply of natural leadership and experienced players on the 26-man roster, the choice is no surprise. “They practice hard. They come to work. They’re encouraging,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “They’ve been around the block a little bit. Those are the guys you look to in the tough times, actually, to help mentor and pull the team through.” A combination of seven players have worn a letter through four games this season, including Paul Thompson and T.J. Tynan, who have both worn a letter three of Chicago’s four games this season. As noted by Coach Thompson, some players lead by example on the ice, while others are a “voice” in the locker room.
  • 4: On Saturday night, the Chicago Wolves gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season as the Tucson Roadrunners’ Dakota Mermis opened game scoring at 7:09 of the first period. The tally came only four games into the season for the Wolves. During the 2016-17 campaign, the Wolves managed to keep their opponent off the scoresheet in shorthanded situations until Game No. 6. That Oct. 28 contest was against their in-state rival, the Rockford IceHogs. The marker was a 2-1 go-ahead goal in the second period for Rockford, which would eventually win the contest 3-2. However, that loss would be the Wolves’ final loss of October as they went on to win their next two games, including a rematch the next evening in which Chicago scored a season-high four power-play goals for a 7-3 win at Allstate Arena.
  • 200: Defenseman Chris Casto’s next American Hockey League tilt will be his 250th career contest. Prior to signing with the Vegas Golden Knights and joining the Chicago Wolves, the 25-year-old Casto spent five seasons with the Boston Bruins organization. Following his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Casto signed an entry-level NHL contract with the Bruins on May, 23, 2013.

Game Rewind

Saturday, Oct. 21 Tucson 4, (at) Chicago 3

  • The Wolves fell to the Roadrunners in the visitors’ Allstate Arena debut.
  • Defenseman Shea Theodore registered a goal and an assist while center Wade Megan collected two assists in his 2017-18 Wolves debut.
  • Forwards Tomas Hyka and Paul Thompson also scored for Chicago.
  • Goaltender Max Lagace turned aside 25 shots in the loss.

Saturday, Oct. 14 (at) Chicago 5, Ontario 2

  • Chicago collected its first win of the season on Ontario’s first visit to Allstate Arena.
  • Forward Teemu Pulkkinen recorded a goal and three assists to help power the Wolves weather the Reign.
  • Forwards Tomas HykaBrandon Pirri, Paul Thompson and Alex Tuch also scored for the Wolves.
  • Goaltender Max Lagace earned his first victory with a 34-save performance.