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Last Laugh

Last season, the Cleveland Monsters were a thorn in the Chicago Wolves’ side as one of the two teams — the other being the Grand Rapids Griffins — to win their season series against the Wolves. Cleveland bested the Wolves with a 8-4-0-0 record in a 12-game series that included four extra-time games and nine contests decided by two goals or fewer.

However, the Wolves got the last laugh as the Monsters’ Calder Cup Playoff hopes — and the chance to defend their championship — hinged on a contest between Chicago and the Charlotte Checkers on the final day of the regular season. Unfortunately for the Monsters,  Charlotte managed to take the game to overtime and earn the point necessary to take the final Central Division playoff spot.

WOLVES TURNED MONSTERS

Before they morphed into Cleveland Monsters, forwards Terry Broadhurst and Jordan Schroeder and defenseman Andre Benoit all were Chicago Wolves.

Benoit, the most recent to play for the Wolves, was part of the pack for the 2015-16 season and skated in 72 games. That season, Benoit finished sixth in team scoring with 33 points (8G, 25A) and was the second-highest scoring defenseman — just three points behind rookie Jordan Schmaltz. His efforts earned him his first American Hockey League All-Star Classic accolade. In that game, he produced a goal and two assists to help the Central Division win the title.

During the 2014-15 season, Broadhurst appeared in 58 games with the Wolves. In that span, he collected 26 points (8G, 18A) and logged just 14 penalty minutes. This fall, Broadhurst attended Wolves training camp and skated in the preseason game against the Rockford IceHogs on Sept. 29. Schroeder spent the most time in a Wolves uniform as he played two seasons (2011-13) with Chicago. He skated in 118 games and registered 77 points (33G, 44A).

LONE WOLF

Just one former Cleveland Monsters player has infiltrated the Chicago Wolves roster: Forward T.J Tynan. The 25-year-old spent the latter two years with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization with the Monsters (2015-17) after being selected by Columbus in the third round, 66th overall, of the 2011 NHL Draft. Through two seasons with the Lake Erie-turned-Cleveland Monsters, Tynan skated in 148 games and posted 87 points (19G, 69A). The Orland Park, Illinois, native also was a member of the 2016 Calder Cup champion squad.

By the Numbers:

  • 0: Zero special-teams goals were scored in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the San Diego Gulls — all four goals were even strength tallies. That was highly unusual as the Gulls entered the game boasting the American Hockey League’s best power play — 24 percent — and toting the worst penalty kill — 73.2 percent. The Chicago Wolves had four power-play opportunities, but the 22nd ranked unit was not able to convert. On the flip side, the Wolves’ penalty kill — tied for the No. 10 spot in the league — negated San Diego’s lone man-advantage opportunity.
  • 1: In Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the San Diego Gulls, defenseman Kevin Lough earned his first American Hockey League point with an assist on the opening goal of the game at 4:34 of the second period. Lough collected a second assist on Ivan Barbashev’s third-period goal. The contest was just the 25-year-old’s second career AHL game. He made his league debut last season with the Binghamton Senators against the Rochester Americans on April 5. Lough signed a professional tryout contract on Tuesday with the Chicago Wolves. He joins the team from the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder, where he was the top-scoring blueliner with 14 points (2G, 12A) in 21 games.
  • 2: Last season the Cleveland Monsters were one of two teams to score short-handed goals against the Chicago Wolves. On Nov. 12, Nick Moutrey scored a shortie in a 4-2 victory for the Monsters over the Wolves while now-Chicago player T.J. Tynan’s short-handed marker was the lone Cleveland goal in a 4-1 loss to Chicago on March 21. The Wolves scored a total of eight shorthanded tallies last season, but just one came against the Monsters. Center Wade Megan scored in the same game as Moutrey.
  • 3: Wednesday marked goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo’s third win while backstopping the burgundy and gold this season. The 24-year-old owns half the Wolves wins this season with the other three split between Max Lagace (2) and C.J. Motte (1). Through 11 contests for Chicago, Kaskisuo has registered a 2.72 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. .
  • 5: The Chicago Wolves continue to perform best in the second period and boast a plus-five goal differential as they outscore opponents 23-18 in that frame. Against the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday, the Wolves scored twice in that period and once in the third to secure the team’s sixth victory of the year. Chicago is also outshooting its opponents 258-226 in the second session, which measures out as an 8.9 shooting percentage.
  • 4: Forward Brandon Pirri is just four points shy of the 20-point benchmark. After collecting five points in two games, the 26-year-old has been held scoreless in the last two games — Dec. 2 and 6 — and is looking to get back on track and aid the Wolves as they shoot to stay consistently in the win column. Wednesday marked just the sixth victory of the season for the team.

Game Review

Wednesday, Dec. 6 (at) Chicago 3, San Diego 1

  • The Wolves netted three consecutive goals for their first victory against San Diego since 1995.
  • Forwards Ivan Barbashev, Beau Bennett and Tyler Wong all scored in the win.
  • Rookie defenseman Kevin Lough earned his first two AHL points in his Wolves debut.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 15 saves for his fourth victory of the season.

Saturday, Dec. 2 Grand Rapids 5, (at) Chicago 2

  • Grand Rapids scored three straight goals and never looked back en route to victory over Chicago.
  • Forwards Beau Bennett and Paul Thompson scored for Chicago.
  • With an assist, left wing Brett Sterling earned a point to tie former teammate Jason Krog for fourth all-time in franchise scoring with 342 points.
  • Goaltender Michael Leighton was relieved just 5:48 into the contest allowing two goals on as many shots; through 54:12 of time in net, Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 17 of 20 shots for the loss.