TALE OF THE TAPE: DEC. 30
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Wednesday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. MetroCentre
Chicago looks to close out the 2015 calendar year the same way it rang in the year — with a victory. The Wolves take on Rockford tonight in an Illinois Lottery Cup game at the MetroCentre. The teams play twice in four days, with the home-and-home series continuing Saturday at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves broke through for their first win against Rockford this season on Dec. 19 at home. The IceHogs rallied from two goals down in the third period to force overtime. Chicago, however, outshot the visitors, 6-2, in the extra period that culminated with ZACH O’BRIEN’s game-winner at 3:55.
The Burgundy and Gold have lost their last four games at the MetroCentre, the last win occurring Jan. 19.
A win tonight would give the Wolves a non-losing record for the seventh straight month, stretching back to last January. Chicago is 5-6-0-1 for December.
By The Numbers
4: Four times this season the Wolves have placed at least 35 shots on goal and lost. Chicago took 36 shots in a 4-1 setback to Milwaukee on Monday.
264: Combined penalty minutes in the Illinois Lottery Cup series this season: Chicago (32-119 PIMs), Rockford (41-145 PIMs).
13: Road games played by Chicago, which ranks second-lowest in the league behind San Jose (12). Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Ontario, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton have also played 13 road contests.
3:20: Chicago’s drive time (3 hours, 20 minutes) to Milwaukee under blizzard conditions Monday evening. The 80-mile trek normally takes 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Follow The Action
Today’s game begins at 7 p.m. and can be seen on WCIU The U Too. The game can also be streamed on www.ahllive.com.
Those away from a TV or computer can follow @Chicago_Wolves or @ChiWolvesLive on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Team Record: 14-12-1-2
Last Game: 4-1 L at Milwaukee (Dec. 28)
2015-16 Season Series: 1-1-0-1
Last Meeting: 4-3 Home OT Win (Dec. 19)
Team Record: 18-8-2-3
Last Game: 3-1 L at Iowa (Dec. 27)
2015-16 Season Series: 2-0-1-0
Last Meeting: 4-3 Road OT Loss (Dec. 19)
The Wolves beefed up their forward ranks with the additions of left wing RILEY BRACE and center ZACK TORQUATO. Both players signed Professional Tryout Contracts (PTO) on Tuesday.
Brace and Torquato join the Wolves from the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), where they were the team’s leading goal-scorers. Brace, a 23-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario, produced 13 goals and 17 assists in 29 games. He led the Nailers in points and shared fourth place among all scorers in the 28-team ECHL. Torquato, a 26-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, delivered 12 goals and five assists in 23 appearances for Wheeling this season. He ranked second on the team and shared 16th in the ECHL in goals.
Both players boast American Hockey League experience. Brace played for the Worcester Sharks and Iowa Wild and contributed 4 goals and 10 assists in 62 games spread over the previous three seasons. Torquato spent parts of five seasons in the AHL with Grand Rapids, Rockford, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and posted four goals and six assists in 54 games.
The Rockford IceHogs have been struggling mightily of late, falling out of first place in the Central Division after dropping four games in a row that started with an overtime loss in Chicago on Dec. 19.
But one person hasn’t been struggling and that’s rookie Vince Hinostroza. The center kicked off last week with his third multi-point game of the season, assisting on his squad’s first goal of the game Monday against Milwaukee before tallying a score of his own in the third.
The 21-year-old Bartlett, Ill., native fired off a team-high five shots on Sunday against Iowa, but he was unable to light the lamp. Hinostroza has record 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists), including three multi-point efforts in December overall this season.