Saturday, Oct. 15 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena
Leader of the Pack
Prior to the Wolves’ opening game Friday night in Grand Rapids, veteran defenseman Chris Butler was named team captain. The 2016-17 season marks Butler’s third with the organization. Jordan Caron, Morgan Ellis, Landon Ferraro and Brad Hunt will split duties as alternate captains. Caron and Hunt served as alternates Friday night in Grand Rapids, and Ellis and Ferraro will don “A’s” tonight. Caron returns to the Wolves for his second consecutive season, while Hunt is back with Chicago for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Ellis and Ferraro, both with NHL and AHL experience, are newcomers to the Wolves.
Great Lake, Great Rival
Tonight marks the back end of a home-and-home opening series with Chicago Wolves for from the other side of Lake Michigan, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Last night the Wolves dropped their season opener in Grand Rapids, 3-1. Veteran winger Brett Sterling tallied the Wolves’ lone goal of the game, while center Landon Ferraro picked up a point, an assist, against the team he started his professional career with. During 2015-16, the teams met eight times throughout the regular season. Grand Rapids won the series 6-1-1-0.
Home Sweet Home
The Wolves enjoy playing on home ice. Through 22 seasons, the club is 14-5-2-1 in their first appearance at home. Last season’s home opener on Oct. 10 against the Milwaukee Admirals was a comfortable 5-1 victory. Goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 37 of 38 shots while special teams went 4 for 7 on the power play and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. The Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins last faced off in a home opener at Allstate Arena on Oct. 11, 2003. Chicago dropped the game 3-2 in overtime.
Kickstart My Heart
“Kickstart My Heart,” the 1989 single from the classic rock quartet Mötley Crüe, has been rocking Allstate Arena during the Chicago Wolves’ game-opening show for 22 seasons. The song’s driving riffs will continue to cue the opening show for the 2016-17 season, but it will accompany an even more impressive show tonight as the Wolves will debut several new elements to entertain the fans.
Friday, Oct. 14 (at) Grand Rapids 3, Chicago 1
Forward Brett Sterling potted the lone Wolves marker for his 168th goal in a Chicago uniform; it marked his first goal as a Wolves player since April 16, 2013. Goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 31 of 33 shots in his 2016-17 AHL debut. Center Landon Ferraro registered an assist against his former team. Mitch Callahan accounted for two of the Griffins’ three goals in the contest, including the final tally of the game, a power-play empty-netter.
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Three Wolves — forwards Samuel Blais, Conner Bleackley and Mackenzie MacEachern — made their professional debut on Friday night. Blais finished the game with two shots on goal, while MacEachern had one shot. Two of the three rookies spent time in the penalty box for minor offenses.
6: The number of Calder Cup Champions on tonight’s roster. Wolves Landon Ferraro (2013) and Brett Sterling (2008) each have a Calder Cup on their resumés. Sterling was a primary contributor to the Wolves’ 2008 championship and Ferraro helped the Grand Rapids Griffins to their lone Calder Cup in 2013. He accrued 16 points (5G, 11A) through 24 postseason contests en route to the league championship. Ferraro registered 2 assists in the Cup-clinching game against Utica. Current Griffins Louis-Marc Aubry, Mitch Callahan, Brian Lashoff and Nathan Paetsch all have a Calder Cup as members of the 2013 title-winning team.
10: The number of players that dressed in a Wolves jersey for the first time during Friday’s night’s 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Rookies Samuel Blais, Conner Bleackley, Ville Husso, Mackenzie MacEachern and Kevin Tansey, as well as veterans Kenny Agostino, Andrew Agozzino, Morgan Ellis, Landon Ferraro and Wade Megan all played their first games as Wolves. Ferraro was the lone newcomer to tally a point (an assist) in the season opener, and Ellis finished the game second among Wolves players with 4 shots on goal.
168: The number of career goals Brett Sterling has while wearing a Wolves uniform. Friday night in Grand Rapids, Sterling netted the lone Wolves’ marker, adding to his point total (309). This season, he’s looking to move up the franchise all-time scoring list. Currently ranked No. 5, he’s 35 points away from catching former teammate, Jason Krog, who’s No. 4 on the list. Sterling ranks No. 2 on the club’s all-time goal list with 168. Wolves legend Steve Maltais holds down the No. 1 spot with 454 goals.
234: The number of pounds that make forward Jacob Doty the Wolves’ resident heavyweight. The left wing stands at 6-foot-3 and is one of three players on the squad that height. Only defenseman Kevin Tansey is taller at 6-4. Doty returns to the Wolves for his third season; he appeared in 53 games during 2015-16 and tallied 4 goals and 4 assists.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Tonight’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and marks the launch of CW50’s “Saturday Night with the Wolves” programming. All 25 of the Wolves’ Saturday games will appear live on CW50, which also will host five Sunday games.
Follow @Chicago_Wolves on Twitter for live game updates.