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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: SCORE FIRST

This season when the Chicago Wolves score the game’s first goal, they own a 10-2-2-1 record. However, the first period is still not the Wolves’ bread and butter as they are outscored 35-23 in that frame. In the second and third periods, Chicago outscores opponents 37-26 and 38-31, respectively.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Today the Chicago Wolves skate Wells Fargo Arena for the first time during the 2017-18 season. The Wolves have enjoyed immense success at Wells Fargo, including a franchise record 12-game winning streak on opponent ice. The streak that began on Feb. 7, 2014, came to an end on Nov. 18, 2016. However, it was five games better than the previous record against the Manitoba Moose from March 5, 1997, to Nov. 13, 1998. After the loss, the Wolves won three consecutive games at Wells Fargo before the Wild topped them 3-2 in Iowa’s season finale on April 14, 2017.

DOMESTICATED WILD

The Chicago Wolves own a decisive 31-6-3-2 record in the all-time regular-season series with the Iowa Wild. At Wells Fargo Arena, Chicago has posted a 16-1-2-1 record. Twelve of those wins were consecutive to set a franchise record. The lone regulation loss came in last season’s series-opening game on Nov. 18 when the Wild edged the Wolves 3-2.

HALFWAY THERE

Forward T.J. Tynan earned 11 points (5G, 6A) in 14 games during the month of December. That stint also included the 25-year-old’s first professional three-goal performance on Dec. 16 against the Iowa Wild. With a season total of 21 points through 33 games, Tynan is well on his way to another 40-point campaign. At his current scoring rate, Tynan is on pace to score 48 points.

HYKA EFFECT

Forward Tomas Hyka has skated in eight consecutive games since returning from injury on Dec. 15. In that span, the 24-year-old has earned six goals and five assists for 11 points. That span includes two-goal performances on Dec. 15 against the Grand Rapids Griffins and Dec. 30 against the Rockford IceHogs. In his first North American professional season, the Czech Republic native owns three game- winning goals and three power-play tallies. He’s also two points shy of hitting the 20-point mark.

By the Numbers:

  • 2: Two days after the Chicago Wild and Iowa Wild last met, Iowa added a face familiar to the Wolves organization to its roster. On Dec. 18, goaltender C.J. Motte joined the Wild. The 26-year-old spent more than a month with the Chicago Wolves (Oct. 19-Nov. 21) and appeared in three games. He earned a 1-1-1 record, .922 save percentage and 2.30 goals-against average. Chicago released the Michigan native from his professional tryout contract when they received goaltender Michael Leighton on loan from the Arizona Coyotes. In three games with Iowa, Motte owns a 1-0-2 record, .928 save percentage and 2.23 GAA. His victory was also his rst AHL shutout.
  • 3: In Saturday’s Illinois Lottery Cup victory, forward T.J. Tynan earned his third short-handed goal of the season. In the second period, Mackenzie MacEachern chipped a shot on Rockford IceHogs goaltender Matt Tomkins. Tomkins then attempted to keep the play alive but couldn’t execute and, circling back on the play, Tynan intercepted Tomkins’ glove pass and found the back of the net at 3:24. The 25-year-old owns three of Chicago’s four shorties this season. His linemate Paul Thompson owns the fourth goal. Tynan’s three short-handed tallies ranks third among all AHL skaters along with Michael Bournival (SYR) and former Wolves player Patrice Cormier (MB).
  • 4: Saturday’s contest set a new season-high as the Chicago Wolves bested the Rockford IceHogs by a four-goal differential. The Wolves previously had beaten opponents by a margin of three goals on four occasions, including most recently against tonight’s opponent, the Iowa Wild, on Dec. 16. Their other three-goal victories are Dec. 15 against the Grand Rapids Griffins, Dec. 9 against the Cleveland Monsters and Oct. 14 against the Ontario Reign.
  • 5: Last season when the Chicago Wolves and Iowa Wild met on the final day of 2016, Chicago forward Kenny Agostino registered five points. The four goals he scored in that game tied a Wolves franchise record and marked the first four-goal effort of his career. He joined Dan Currie, Nigel Dawes and Steve Larouche as the only Wolves players to score four goals in one game. The performance was the cherry on top for a stellar month for Agostino, who went on to earn the Player of the Week and Player of the Month honors with 25 points (7G, 18A) in 14 games during December. Those five points also helped him keep a nine-point lead in the league scoring race as Agostino earned the title at season’s end.
  • 20: With an assist in Saturday’s 6-2 Illinois Lottery Cup victory against the Rockford IceHogs, forward Beau Bennett collected his 20th point of the season. This season is just the second of Bennett’s career in which he has scored at least 20 points. The 26-year-old last registered more than 20 points during his rookie AHL campaign (2012-13) with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He collected seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points. During the 2016-17 campaign for the New Jersey Devils, Bennett earned 19 points (8G, 11A) — his closest 20-point effort since his rookie year. Incidentally, it took the California native 23 games both in his rookie year and this season to earn his 20th point.
  • 100: With six goals on Saturday against the Rockford IceHogs, the Chicago Wolves reached the 100-goal threshold. They became the 15th team to do so this season. Twelve other teams have at least 100 goals but less than 115. Manitoba (130), Lehigh Valley (127) and Charlotte (129) are the only teams with more than 120 goals on the season.

Game Review

Saturday, Dec. 30 (at) Chicago 6, Rockford 2

  • Chicago stretched its point streak to 10 games with an Illinois Lottery Cup victory over Rockford.
  • Forward Tomas Hyka netted two goals, including the game-winner, while center Wade Megan registered three points (G, 2A).
  • Former IceHogs player Brandon Pirri opened scoring at 7:20 of the first frame.
  • Forward T.J. Tynan collected his third short-handed goal of the year while defenseman Chris Casto earned his first goal of the season.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made his first start in six games and stopped 29 shots in the win.

Friday, Dec, 29 (at) Milwaukee 3, Chicago 2 (SO)

  • The Wolves fell in a shootout to Milwaukee but earned their 16th point in nine games.
  • Center Brandon Pirri tallied in regulation and the shootout while Tobias Lindberg scored in the first period for the Wolves.
  • Two Admirals skaters scored in the shootout but only Pirri could solve Anders Lindback.
  • Wolves netminder Max Lagace made 20 saves in the loss.