TALE OF THE TAPE: MARCH 23
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Wednesday, March 23, 7:00 p.m. Allstate Arena
As the 2015-16 Wolves campaign winds down to its final weeks, tonight’s game against Charlotte takes on added importance – the last chance for Chicago to earn points against the team its chasing in the Central Division standings.
The Checkers hold a 7-point cushion over Chicago for fifth place in the Central. To qualify for the AHL postseason, the Wolves must 1.) overtake Charlotte in the standings, and 2.) post a higher winning percentage than the Pacific Division’s fourth-place team (currently San Jose at .552). A tall order no doubt, but still mathematically possible with 11 games left on the schedule.
Chicago has won all three encounters against Charlotte at Allstate Arena this season. The Wolves started out with a pair of home wins in October by a combined 12-5 score. Since then, the series has been tightly-contested, with 5 games decided by 2 goals-or-less (including 4 one-goal decisions).
By The Numbers
4: The Wolves are playing their fourth Wednesday night game of the season, and have one more on tap next week. The only other time Chicago played a hump day home game, the team came away with its largest margin of victory – an 8-2 win over Manitoba on Dec. 2.
-40: Combined shot differential for the Wolves over the last three games, as opposing teams have built a 107-67 advantage. Despite the lopsided total, the Wolves have out-scored their opponents, 9-6.
.769: The Wolves’ all-time winning percentage against Charlotte at the Allstate Arena, based on a 9-2-2-0 record.
Follow The Action
Today’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on WCIU The U and 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: 28-29-5-3
Last Game: 2-1 L vs Milwaukee (March 20)
2015-16 Season Series: 4-2-0-1
Last Meeting: 3-1 Road Loss (March 10)
Team Record: 32-26-3-4
Last Game: 2-1 SO L at Rockford (March 20)
2015-16 Season Series: 3-2-0-2
Last Meeting: 3-1 Home Win (March 10)
When JORDAN SCHMALTZ recorded 2 assists in just his third game as a pro, it signaled a sign of things to come. Five months later, the 22-year-old leads Wolves defensemen in scoring with 32 points, standing fourth overall, and leading team rookies.
Along the way, SCHMALTZ has compiled 5 multiple-point games, scored a shootout winner on an impressive backhander, earned No. 1 Star honors on two occasions, and played in 62 of 65 games, the 3 absences due to a stint in St. Louis.
In addition, the Verona, Wisconsin native ranks sixth in scoring among AHL rookie blueliners.
A glance at where SCHMALTZ ranks in Wolves rookie defenseman scoring (over the past 10 seasons):
Name GP G-A-P Season
1. Nathan Oystrick 80 15-32-47 2006-07
2. Brad Hunt 65 4-29-33 2012-13
3. JORDAN SCHMALTZ 62 5-27-32 2015-16
4. Paul Postma 63 15-14-29 2009-10
5. Braydon Coburn 73 6-20-26 2005-06
The Charlotte Checkers seemed to find their offense as of late, scoring at least three goals in each of their four consecutive wins two weeks ago. But their struggles have reemerged, as they have recorded just two or fewer goals in each of its last four games.
The bad news gets worse for Charlotte, as it was Derek Ryan who tallied all three of the Checkers’ goals over the last two games. Ryan, who leads the Checkers with 21 goals and 46 points, was called up to the Hurricanes on Monday.
While the Checkers haven’t scored a goal that wasn’t Ryan’s in 135-minutes and 10-seconds, Ethan Werek has found his way onto the scoresheet. The 24-year-old, who signed an AHL contract with Charlotte on Feb. 23, 2016, has played 235 career AHL games with Portland and Providence over the last four seasons, scoring 76 points (33g, 43a) to go along with 159 penalty minutes.