Wednesday, Dec. 7 | 6 p.m. | At Van Andel Arena
How Are the Kids
The Chicago Wolves have six rookies on their active roster, and the kids are doing all right. Defenseman Vince Dunn picked up a goal and five assists through his first nine games of the season. Now the 20-year-old has settled into his role: he plays major minutes on special teams and serves as a top-four defenseman on the second pair. His +7 plus/ minus rating is second-best on the team. Forward Samuel Blais looks to extend a two- game goal streak that began Dec. 2 against the Rockford IceHogs. Through 21 games, the 20-year-old has four goals and two assists for six points. With 10 games under his belt last season, Bryce Gervais has earned himself a regular spot on the fourth line for the last 11 games; he has appeared in 16 total games this year. The 24-year-old Saskatchewan native has four goals on the season — all collected at Allstate Arena. Fellow second-year rookie Justin Selman has appeared in 10 games for the Wolves and has a goal. Center Conner Bleackley has skated in 19 games and registered 4 assists. Following a five-game stint to start the season, Mackenzie MacEachern missed 15 games after suffering an injury on Oct. 23. On Dec. 2, MacEachern returned to the ice, playing on the fourth line with Selman and Gervais. The next night, the Michigan State product netted his first professional goal. The marker stood up as the game-winner as Chicago topped Iowa, 4-2.
Last time the Chicago Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins met, Ivan Barbashev put on a show. The 20-year-old Moscow native notched two goals to help the Wolves topple the Griffins 4-2 at Van Andel Arena on Nov. 5. His second goal — a seemingly simple wrist shot — had enough gusto that the puck got lodged in the goal netting. After the officials spent three minutes attempting unsuccessfully to dislodge the puck, the Grand Rapids ice crew cut the puck free and patched the net. The 20-year-old earned first-star status for his performance. The second tally was also the 3-2 go-ahead marker. Former Griffins forward Landon Ferraro delivered the empty-net insurance goal with 57 seconds left on the clock.
On the Move
On Dec. 4, the Chicago Wolves returned left wing Emerson Clark on loan to the Tulsa Oilers (ECHL). The 23-year-old skated in four games for the Wolves and tallied an assist. Despite being known for his physical play and willingness to stand up for his teammates, Clark managed to stay out of the penalty box. Also on Dec. 4, the St. Louis Blues (NHL) reassigned defenseman Tommy Vannelli to the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL). Vannelli has not skated yet this season for the Wolves, and the 21-year-old Minnesotan played in just seven tilts at the beginning to the 2015-16 campaign for Chicago.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 4: The Chicago Wolves have scored four goals per game through their last three games and are a perfect 3-0-0-0 in the time span. Since Nov. 30, Chicago has outscored its opponents 12-7. Through 22 games, Chicago has outscored opponents 66-55 and has an 11-9-1-1 record. The Wolves scored at least four goals in nine of those outings and are 8-0-1-0 when scoring four or more goals. Their single overtime loss came against the Milwaukee Admirals on Nov. 9 at UWM Panther Arena. The nine-goal affair concluded with Alexandre Carrier wiring a shot past Jordan Binnington at 1:49 of the extra frame after the Wolves could not capitalize on a 4-on-3 power play. Including that 5-4 overtime thriller, the Wolves have allowed four or more goals only four times this season.
- 8: The Chicago Wolves’ leading goal-scorers have each nabbed eight goals. The team’s leading point-getter, defenseman Brad Hunt, has eight goals and 18 assists for 26 points. His point totals also place him atop the AHL points leaderboard. The 28-year-old shares the league lead with Toronto Marlies left wing Brendan Leipsic, who has seven goals and 19 assists through 21 games. The team’s second-leading scorer, Kenny Agostino, has 12 assists to go with his eight goals for 20 points. Eleven of Agostino’s 20 points have come on the power play. Lastly, center Wade Megan has eight goals and assists for 16 points. Two of Megan’s eight tallies are short-handed markers.
- 11: Through 22 games, the Chicago Wolves have recorded 11 victories for an 11-9-1-1 record. In the first 22 games of the 2015-16 season, the Wolves were 11-8-1-2. The 22nd game of the season was a 4-3 regulation loss to the then-Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena. Chicago began a rally late in the second period and throughout the third, but fell short. Eriah Hayes (12:14, 2nd), Danny Kristo (16:57, 3rd) and Jeremy Welsh (19:43, 3rd) all tallied in the setback. Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 26 saves in the loss. This season, the Wolves fared better in their 22nd tilt of the year as they tamed the Iowa Wild 4-2 at Allstate Arena. In that contest, rookie Samuel Blais opened scoring and defenseman Brad Hunt collected a pair of goals. Also, in just his second game back from injury, rookie Mackenzie MacEachern recorded his first professional point, a goal, that served as the game-winner.
- 13: The Chicago Wolves are averaging 13 penalty minutes per game through 22 games. Collectively, the team has 295 penalty minutes, which breaks down to 90 minor infractions, nine major offenses, four 10-minute misconducts, two game misconducts and zero match penalties. The Wolves’ most common offense is tripping; they’ve been called 18 times for that infraction. Wolves opponents have logged 275 penalty minutes versus Chicago this season. In 76 games during the 2015-16 season, Chicago averaged 16 penalty minutes per game that included 370 minor offenses, 62 majors, 13 10-minute misconducts, 4 game misconducts and one match penalty.
- 285: The Chicago Wolves’ 4-2 victory over the Iowa Wild on Saturday, Dec. 3 marked both forward Andrew Agozzino’s and defenseman Brad Hunt’s 285th American Hockey League game. On Saturday, Nov. 26, each skater registered his 200th career AHL point. Coincidentally, both skaters accomplished the feat in their 282nd AHL game. Through 285 games, Agozzino has collected 84 goals and 118 assists for 202 points, and Hunt has totaled 54 goals and 150 assists for 204 points. Earlier this season in the Wolves’ 7-3 win over their in-state rival, the Rockford IceHogs, Hunt nabbed his 50th career AHL goal. On Dec. 2, again in a win over
Recent Games Recaps
- Chicago topped the Wild for the second time in as many games at Allstate Arena.
- Defenseman Brad Hunt tallied two goals while rookie Mackenzie MacEachern registered his first professional goal that stood as the game-winner.
- Rookie Samuel Blais nabbed his third marker of the season.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley turned aside 19 shots in the victory.
- The Wolves topped their in-state rival for the third time this season in Illinois Lottery Cup action.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington turned aside 32 shots for his 50th career AHL victory.
- Forward Landon Ferraro extended his goal streak to four games while forwards Kenny Agostino, Andrew Agozzino and Samuel Blais also tallied.
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