Friday, Dec. 29 | 7:00 p.m. | UMW Panther Arena | The U Too | Facebook

The Great Eight

The Chicago Wolves enter Friday’s game looking to extend their point streak to nine games. In the previous eight contests, the Wolves have outscored opponents 31-18 and outshot them 246-237. They’re averaging 3.88 goals per game during this streak, which is 0.91 better than their season average of 2.97 per game. The Wolves are wrapping their best month of competition with a 8-2-2-0 record in December, which includes 17 points in their last 10 games.

ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT

The Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals last faced one another on Wednesday. In that game, Chicago edged Milwaukee 3-2 in overtime as rookie defenseman Jake Walman blasted the game-winning shot just 1:05 into the 3-on-3 OT season. The victory was Chicago’s second in extra time and the game was the second bonus-time game between the teams this season. Forwards Tomas Hyka and Brandon Pirri also scored for the Wolves. After Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the third period, Milwaukee tied the game just 15 seconds later. However, Walman was the X-Factor in overtime to secure the win.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

Overtime has not been kind to the Chicago Wolves this season. In eight games that have gone to extra time for the Wolves, they own a 2-6 record — 2-5 in overtime and 0-1 in shootouts. The Wolves have only once gone to a shootout and lost in Illinois Lottery Cup action to the Rockford IceHogs. In the 3-on-3 overtime session, the Wolves have gotten goals from Teemu Pulkkinen (Oct. 22) and Jake Walman (Dec. 27) to secure wins. Three of the club’s six bonus-time losses have come at the hands of their in-state rival, Rockford.

HALFWAY THERE

Thirty-one games into the season and the Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals have already surpassed the midway point of their season series. Wednesday marked the sixth of 12 games between to the clubs during the 2017-18 campaign. So far, four of the six contests have been decided by one goal and two needed overtime. The teams have identical records as each has suffered an overtime loss and two in regulation and own three wins.

By the Numbers:

  • 4: On Wednesday, goaltender Max Lagace became the first Chicago Wolves netminder to start four consecutive games this season. Prior to Lagace’s four-game streak (Dec. 17-27), Kasimir Kaskisuo (Nov. 3-11) Lagace (Oct. 14-22) and Michael Leighton (Nov. 26-Dec. 2) each started three consecutive games. In Chicago’s current eight-game point streak, Lagace owns six of the eight starts. Kaskisuo and Leighton each have one. In Lagace’s last four games, he owns a 3-0-1 record, .914 save percentage and 2.74 goals-against average. 
  • 9: In the Chicago Wolves’ last nine games, center T.J. Tynan has averaged a point per game. Tynan owns four goals — including a hat trick on Dec. 16 — and five assists. He has been one of Chicago’s most productive players in the month of December. Close behind him is Brandon Pirri with seven points in the last seven games. Pirri’s total includes four goals — spread across four games — and three assists. Captain Paul Thompson also owns seven points in the last nine games. His four goals and three assists include a two-point effort on Dec. 9 against the Cleveland Monsters.
  • 10: Center Brandon Pirri picked up his team-leading 10th goal of the season in Wednesday’s overtime victory against the Milwaukee Admirals. He shares the team goal-scoring lead with captain Paul Thompson. Thompson reached the milestone first, but only has 19 points (10G, 9A) while Pirri has produced 23 points (10G, 13A) and is the team’s second-best scorer. He is two points shy of the team’s top scorer Teemu Pulkkinen (9-16–25).
  • 35: Captain Paul Thompson logged two more penalty minutes on Wednesday to bring his team-leading season total to 35. The Chicago Wolves are still among the American Hockey League’s least penalized teams as they average just 11.35 minutes per game. Only Rockford (10.83), San Jose (10.81) and Bakersfield (10.64) have lower averages than Chicago, but none of those teams have played as many games as the Wolves.
  • 60: The next time veteran left wing Brett Sterling faces the Milwaukee Admirals, the affair will be his 60th against them. Through the first 59 contests — spanning eight seasons — Sterling has collected 29 goals and 24 assists for 53 points. He also has logged 80 penalty minutes and a +3 plus/minus rating. In three appearances versus Milwaukee this season, Sterling has a goal, two penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating. His best season against Milwaukee came in his rookie campaign when he averaged a point per game with seven goals and three assists.
  • 120: Wednesday’s victory was the Chicago Wolves’ 120th all-time regular-season win against the Milwaukee Admirals. A rivalry that dates back to the International Hockey League, the teams have squared off a total of 249 times, so Friday’s contest will mark the 250th bout between the pair. The Wolves own a .544 win percentage in the all- time series with a 120-98-1-11-19 record.

Game Rewind

Wednesday, Dec. 27 Chicago 3, (at) Milwaukee 2 (OT) 

  • The Wolves pushed their point streak to eight games with 15 points against the Admirals.
  • Defenseman Jake Walman sealed the victory 1:05 in overtime with a one-time blast.
  • Forwards Tomas Hyka and Brandon Pirri earned two points (G, A) apiece.
  • Goaltender Max Lagace made 26 saves in the win.
  • Chicago fell to Rockford to end its winning streak, but earned its 13th point in seven games.
  • Centers Tobias Lindberg and Brandon Pirri both tallied for the Wolves.
  • Rockford’s Darren Raddysh scored with 25 seconds left in overtime for the victory.
  • Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 28 of 31 shots in his first loss in six starts.