Welcome to Wolves Weekly, a weekly report of highlights, notes and transactions from the Chicago Wolves’ previous week of competition during the 2016-17 season.
|Friday, Oct. 14||at Grand Rapids^||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m. CT|
|Saturday, Oct. 15||vs. Grand Rapids#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
^ AHL Live only, * U Too, #CW50
The rookie winger potted two of the four goals in the Wolves’ 4-1 exhibition victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday night. In his only contest of the preseason, Blais had three shots on goal and finished the tilt with a plus-2 rating. He and linemate, fellow rookie Conner Bleackley, look to have some chemistry; Bleackley helped set up the plays that led to both of Blais’ goals.
The former Michigan State Spartan had a strong showing during training camp and preseason play, recording two points (G, A). He earned himself ample time of the penalty kill unit, even notching a top-shelf short-handed goal from the top of the crease against the Admirals on Saturday night.
Megan proved his worth registering three points (G, 2A) through two exhibition games last week. He also racked up six shots on goal. He contributed on special teams, especially the penalty kill, helping the Wolves shut down nine of 10 man advantages, including two 5-on-3 situations, against Milwaukee. Megan also factored on MacEachern’s short-handed marker.
Wolves veteran left wing Brett Sterling returned to AHL game action for the first time in four seasons. In two games, he recorded seven shots and an assist. Fresh off back-to-back Austrian Cup championships with EC Salzburg, Sterling is looking to help return the Wolves to the postseason for a chance at his second Calder Cup.
No Party Like a Tailgate Party | Fans are invited to join the Chicago Wolves in celebrating their 23rd home opener on Saturday, Oct. 15, with a free pregame tailgate party in Allstate Arena’s West Lot from 3-6 p.m.
A Great Lake, A Great Rival | Chicago opens the season with a home-and-home series against its foe on the other side of Lake Michigan, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Most recently, the Wolves topped the Griffins 5-1 on Thursday in exhibition action. During 2015-16, the teams met eight times throughout the regular season. Grand Rapids won the series 6-1-1-0.
The Kids Are All Right | Through three preseason games, rookies Samuel Blais, Mackenzie MacEachern and Wolves newcomer Wade Megan combined for seven points (4G, 3A). MacEachern and Megan also saw plenty of penalty-kill time, helping the Wolves stave off nine of 10 Milwaukee Admirals man advantages last Saturday.
Perfect 10 | The Wolves’ opening-night roster could feature as many as 10 players whom have spent time in the NHL. The list includes Kenny Agostino, Andrew Agozzino, Chris Butler, Jordan Caron, Pheonix Copley, Morgan Ellis, Landon Ferraro, Alex Friesen, Brad Hunt and Petteri Lindbohm.
Brett’s Back | Left wing Brett Sterling returns to the Wolves lineup for the first time in four seasons. Sterling has been pretty successful wearing the Wolves uniform. The four-time AHL All-Star was the recipient of the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award (rookie of the year) and the Willie Marshall Award (league’s top goal scorer) during his rookie campaign in 2006-07. He was also a key member of the Wolves 2008 Calder Cup championship. Sterling currently sits second and fifth, respectively, on the club’s all-time goals (167) and points lists (308).
Thursday, Oct. 6 (exhib.)
Rockford 4, Chicago 1
- The Wolves fell to in-state rival, the Rockford IceHogs, in the first of three preseason games.
- Northbrook, Illinois native Sam Povorozniouk was the Wolves lone goal scorer in the affair.
- Finnish rookie netminder Ville Husso turned aside 32 shots in his first North American showing.
Friday, Oct. 7 (exhib.)
Chicago 5, Grand Rapids 1
- Four unanswered goals lifted the Wolves over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
- Forwards Danny Kristo and Wade Megan, along with defenseman Gus Young, each tallied a goal and an assist in the victory.
Saturday, Oct. 8 (exhib.)
Chicago 4, Milwaukee 1
- The Wolves’ freshman class helped power the squad to a win over the Milwaukee Admirals.
- Samuel Blais accounted for two of four goals, while Mackenzie MacEachern netted a short-handed marker for the fourth Wolves tally.
- Fellow rookie Conner Bleackley did not show up on the scoresheet, but finished the game with a plus-2 rating as he was on the ice for both Blais goals.