Less than 24 hours after concluding a hard-fought game at the MetroCentre, the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs resume their rivalry in Rosemont and there’ll be a sellout crowd at Allstate Arena to greet them.
Saturday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
Last Game: 3-2 OTW vs. Chicago (Jan. 30)
Season Series: 6-2-1-0
Last Meeting: 3-2 Home OT Win (Jan. 30)
Team Record: 21-17-5-1
Last Game: 2-3 OTL at Rockford (Jan. 30)
Season Series: 3-4-1-1
Last Meeting: 2-3 Road OT Loss (Jan. 30)
Less than 24 hours after concluding a hard-fought game at the MetroCentre, the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs resume their rivalry in Rosemont and there’ll be a sellout crowd at Allstate Arena to greet them. The Wolves are looking for a different result than Friday night’s 3-2 overtime loss, which enabled Rockford to clinch no worse than a share of the Illinois Lottery Cup.
The Wolves have dropped six of the first nine contests in this year’s 12-game series. The Illinois Lottery Cup goes to the team with the most wins with no regard for overtimes and shootouts, though total points determine the winner if the teams split the 12 games. Long story short: With a 3-4-1-1 record compared to Rockford’s 6-2-1-0 mark, the Wolves must sweep the last three games in regulation to retain the Cup.
The Wolves picked up 5 points (2-2-1-0) on their five-game road trip that concluded Friday, but they’ve fallen into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with 48 points. Chicago is 10 points behind Midwest Division-leading Rockford, though the Wolves have one game in hand.
On the plus side, the Wolves have a chance to get well at Allstate Arena as they have more home games remaining than any other American Hockey League team. Chicago has played 27 of its 44 games on the road, which means it gets 21 of its final 32 games at home.
By The Numbers
20.8 – Though the Wolves didn’t convert either of their power-play opportunities Friday night at Rockford, they still rank fourth in the AHL on the power play (36 of 173, 20.8 percent). During JOHN ANDERSON’s first 12 years as Wolves coach, the team finished among the league’s top 5 power-play units seven times.
6 – Consecutive losses for the Wolves when allowing a power-play goal. Chicago has surrendered a man-advantage marker in six of its last 13 contests and is 0-5-1-0 in them.
2 – The Wolves must get 2 points from tonight’s game against Rockford to avoid their second consecutive month with a points percentage below .500. Chicago has only registered back-to-back losing months thrice in 20 seasons: October/November 2005-06 (the lone instance under head coach JOHN ANDERSON), March/April 2008-09, and March/April 2012-13.
Follow The Action
Today’s game begins at 7 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.
#25 Adam Burish
With Ty Rattie getting the call up to the big show, the Wolves needed someone to step up in a big way.
Last night, Burish did just that by tallying two goals for his first AHL multi-goal game of his career, while also helping force overtime against the IceHogs. He’s tallied just seven goals all season between Chicago and Worcester, but three of them have come in his last four games with the Wolves.
If he can continue that success, the Wolves will have an additional weapon on their top lines once — and if — Rattie returns.
#28 Mark McNeill
McNeill proved to be a havoc once again for the Wolves last night in Rockford, tallying a goal and an assist.
In six appearances against the Wolves this season, McNeill has recorded four goals and four assists. Other than goaltender Matthew Leighton, McNeill has been one of the biggest x-factors for the IceHogs when taking on their in-state rivals. The 2015 AHL All-star had a great start to the season and has since slowed down over the past two months.
The Wolves hope to keep from last night’s two-point game from turning into a point streak for McNeill.