After suffering their third shutout of the season and second at the hand of Midwest Division rival Rockford on Jan. 3, the Chicago Wolves look to rebound against another division foe in Grand Rapids.
Saturday, Jan. 10, 6 p.m.
Van Andel Arena
Team Record: 19-11-3-1
Last Game: W vs. Charlotte (Jan. 9)
Season Series: 1-2-1-0
Last Meeting: 2-1 Road OT Win (Dec. 30)
Team Record: 18-13-4-0
Last Game: 0-3 L vs. Rockford (Jan. 3)
Season Series: 3-0-1-0
Last Meeting: 1-2 Home OT Loss (Dec. 30)
After suffering their third shutout of the season and second at the hand of Midwest Division rival Rockford on Jan. 3, the Chicago Wolves look to rebound against another division foe in Grand Rapids. The streaking Griffins come into tonight’s contest winners of seven of their last 11, thanks in part to red-hot right wing Teemu Pulkkinen. The second-year forward had goals in eight straight games and led the league with 20 on the season before being recalled by Detroit on Thursday.
While the Wolves hold a 3-0-1-0 series lead on the Griffins through the teams’ first four meetings, they have been tightly-contested affairs. Both the first and fourth meetings were decided in overtime while the other two were won by just two goals each, including one empty-net marker on Nov. 5. Last season the squads split 10 games 5-5-0-0.
As the midway point of the season fast approaches, the race for the Midwest Division has heated up. Just one point separate the middle three teams – Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Milwaukee – with 14 points between leader Rockford and fifth-place Lake Erie. The 14-point gap is the second smallest margin between the top and bottom teams in any of the leagues six divisions.
Seven of the Wolves’ next 10 tilts come against Midwest Division teams.
By The Numbers
1K – Tonight’s contest marks the 1,000th regular-season game that JOHN ANDERSON has coached for the Wolves. The 57-year-old has delivered a 569-317-24-89 record in his first 999 regular-season games, which is good for a .626 winning percentage.
4 – Consecutive games in which the Wolves have allowed 30-plus shots to their opponents, surrendering 137 in that span. It is the longest consecutive stretch for the team since a seven-game stint from April 6-19, 2013.
0 – The Wolves’ points percentage when they lead after either period. Chicago is 9-0-0-0 when leading after one and 16-0-0-0 when leading after two, joining Utica as the only teams with perfect records in both categories.
Follow The Action
Tonight’s game begins at 6 p.m. and can be seen on The U-Too (channel 26.2). U-Too also can be found on XFinity’s Chs. 230 (HD) and 360 (SD), RCN’s Ch. 35 and WOW’s Ch. 170. The game can also be streamed on www.ahllive.com.
#10 Philip McRae
Several Chicago Wolves forwards have had success when playing on the road this season, but McRae has taken the biggest initiative with eight goals and eight assists in 19 road games.
While 16 of his 20 points have come away from Allstate Arena, even more impressive heading into the matchup at Grand Rapids is his four goals and two assists in the first three appearances this season against the Griffins. Despite being held off the scoresheet in game four on Dec. 30, McRae is still averaging 1.5 points per game against Grand Rapids.
The centerman tallied three goals and an assist in the first two games at Van Andel Arena earlier this season, and another two point game from McRae could definitely help lead to a Wolves victory.
#13 Marek Tvrdon
With the absence of Grand Rapids’ points leader and AHL leading goal scorer Teemu Pulkkinen, the Griffins need someone to make up for the loss of production. Youngster Marek Tvrdon just might be that answer.
Since being called up from ECHL affiliate Toledo Walleye — where he was averaging a point per game with six goals and 18 assists in 24 games — Tvrdon has recorded a goal and six assists in eight games. While he may be just off that point-per-game pace in his AHL stint, he’s making the transition just fine after only seeing one career AHL game prior to this season.
Depending on the length of Pulkkinen’s absence up in Detroit, Tvrdon may be the next in line to see a spike in playing time and create a quick impact in his team’s playoff hunt.