Wednesday, Dec. 21 | 7 p.m. | at Rockford
(Almost) Halfway There
Wednesday night is the sixth of 12 games between the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs in Illinois Lottery Cup action. In a competition determined by wins in head-to-head games, the Wolves are holding on to a slim 3-2 lead in wins. When the two teams last faced each other on Dec. 18, the IceHogs left Allstate Arena with a 4-3 overtime win. The victory marked the IceHogs’ first of the season series in enemy territory. Previously, Chicago had taken both games on home ice while outscoring Rockford 10-5. On Sunday, however, Tanner Kero tied the game with six seconds on the clock and Spencer Abbott was the lone shootout scorer to allow the IceHogs to secure the win.
Back in the Saddle
After being held off the scoresheet on Dec. 17 in the Chicago Wolves’ 2-1 overtime setback against the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters, forward Kenny Agostino collected 2 assists in the Wolves’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Dec. 18. Agostino’s 2 points on allowed him to leapfrog defenseman Brad Hunt (9-20–29) — currently skating with the St. Louis Blues (NHL) — for the team lead in scoring. Prior to Dec. 17, the 24-year-old’s scored 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points in the span of seven games matching Landon Ferraro for the team’s longest point streak of the season. Through 28 games, Agostino has registered 9 goals and 21 assists for 30 points. His 2 points against the IceHogs also put him in a three-way tie for the top spot on the league scoring leaderboard with Grand Rapids’ Matt Lorito (10-20–30) and Bakersfield’s Taylor Beck (9-21–30). Only four players — three current skaters — have more than 20 points on the season. Wade Megan (12-10–22) and Ivan Barbashev (8-12–20) are third and fourth, respectively, in team scoring
Top 10 Cracked
On Dec. 15, left wing Brett Sterling passed Chicago Wolves general manager and retired championship goaltender Wendell Young for sole possession of the No. 10 spot on the franchise games played list. Through Dec. 18, Sterling has appeared in 324 games across six seasons with the Wolves. The 32-year-old has earned various accolades during his times with Chicago, including AHL rookie of the year (2006-07), AHL leading goal-scorer (2006- 07), AHL all-star (four times) and a Calder Cup championship in 2008. Through those 324 contests, Sterling has accrued 171 goals and 146 assists for 317 points. Those totals place him fifth on the franchise scoring list; 25 points separate Sterling and Jason Krog for the No. 5 spot on the list. A former teammate, Krog registered 98 goals and 244 assists for 342 points in 302 games with the Wolves. He was also a member of the 2008 Calder Cup squad
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1: The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs have decided three of their five games this season by a single goal. In their first Illinois Lottery Cup matchup of the season on Oct. 28, the IceHogs were victorious, skimming by the Wolves with a 3-2 win at BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. Almost a month later, Chicago took a 3-2 decision — at Allstate Arena — outshooting the IceHogs, 37-27, and killing all five Rockford man advantages. Rockford took its second one-goal game of the season series on Dec. 18 with a 4-3 shootout victory. The Wolves scored first — and accrued a two-goal lead in the first period — before the IceHogs rallied and tied the game with six seconds left on the clock to force overtime. Rockford’s Spencer Abbott tallied the lone marker in the shootout to give the IceHogs the win.
3: Since the Rockford IceHogs joined in the American Hockey League prior to the beginning of the 2007-08 season, neither the Chicago Wolves and IceHogs have won more than three consecutive games in head-to-head competition. On Dec. 18, that trend continued as Rockford foiled the Wolves’ bid for a fourth straight win against their in-state rival. Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but Rockford rallied — tying the game in the final six seconds of regulation — and netted the only marker in the shootout for the 4-3 victory. Previously, the Wolves had taken two games at Allstate Arena and one at BMO Harris Bank Center for a three-game winning streak against Rockford.
- 5: In their last three games, the Chicago Wolves have scored just five goals. The scoring drought comes after a six-game stretch where Chicago scored four or more goals each game, totaling 26 markers in that span. After a 2-1 loss to the Manitoba
Moose on Nov. 27 at Allstate Arena, the Wolves netted four goals in a 4-3 victory on home ice over the Texas Stars three days later. That W was followed by four more wins and a wild 6-5 overtime setback against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena. That contest included four power-play goals (CHI 2, GR 2) and multi-point performances by left wing Kenny Agostino (0-4–4), defenseman Brad Hunt (1-2–3) and center Wade Megan (2-0–2).
- 250: The next game in which Chicago Wolves center Alex Friesen skates will count as his 250th career AHL game. The 2016-17 season marks Friesen’s fifth season at the professional level. The 25-year-old started his AHL career with the Wolves and appeared in 42 games for the club during the 2012-13 season. Friesen recorded his first professional point, an assist, on Oct. 27, 2012, versus the San Antonio Rampage, and then scored his first professional goal on Feb. 1, 2013, against the Milwaukee Admirals. The St. Catharines, Ontario, native then spent three seasons (2012-15) in the Vancouver Canucks organization — making his NHL debut on Feb. 15, 2016, against the Minnesota Wild — skating with the Utica Comets before returning to the Wolves for the 2016-17 season.
Recent Games Recaps
- Chicago lost to Rockford in a shootout to extend the team’s winless streak to three games.
- Forward Jordan Caron and rookie defenseman Vince Dunn both scored in the first frame to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead.
- In the third period, Rockford scored two goals, including one in the final six seconds to force overtime.
The IceHogs’ Spencer Abbott was the lone scorer in the shootout to seal the Rockford victory.
- The Wolves dropped their second consecutive game in a setback against Cleveland.
- Monsters defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron scored just 55 seconds into overtime.
- Part-time forward Scooter Vaughan netted his second goal of the season to open scoring at 9:44 of the second period.