Friday, Jan. 6 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena
The Chicago Wolves come into tonight’s Illinois Lottery Cup contest against the Rockford IceHogs riding a season-high six-game winning streak. Beginning with an 8-4 Amtrak Rivalry victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Dec. 22, the Wolves have notched five more victories in games against Central Division opponents: Charlotte (1), Iowa (1), Milwaukee (2) and Rockford (1). The first victory of the streak was just the second time this season the Wolves defeated the Admirals after three straight losses to begin the season series. However, the Wolves now have four consecutive wins over their Central Division foe, and in all four of those victories goaltender Pheonix Copley has backstopped the team. Both Wolves goaltenders – Copley and rookie Ville Husso – are riding win streaks. Copley has three consecutive victories while Husso boasts four.
Guess Who’s Back; Back Again
Friday against the Rockford IceHogs, wing Magnus Paajarvi is expected to return to the Chicago Wolves lineup for the first time since Nov. 22. Prior to his absence, the 25-year-old skated in 12 games for Chicago and collected four goals and four assists for 12 points. The three-time World Junior medalist also logged a -6 plus/minus rating as well as just two penalty minutes. He has been splitting centerman duties with Wade Megan on one of the Wolves’ top lines.
Hey Now, You’re an All-Star
Left wing Kenny Agostino and defenseman Brad Hunt have been selected to represent the Chicago Wolves during the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic Jan. 29 and 30 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. A first-time selection, Agostino leads the AHL in scoring with 46 and 31 assists through 35 games. The Morristown, New Jersey, native tallied seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points during 14 games in December – the most points in one month for a league skater in nearly seven seasons. In that span, he was held scoreless just once and collected six multi-point performances. The former Yale University Bulldog also matched a Wolves franchise record when he tallied four goals against the Iowa Wild on New Year’s Eve. He joined Dan Currie, Nigel Dawes and Steve Larouche as the only players in the Wolves’ 23-year history to score four goals in one game. With an assist in the same game for a five- point performance, he became the first AHL skater of the season accomplish the feat. This is Hunt’s fourth all-star selection, having been chosen in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Through 23 games with the Wolves this season, Hunt registered nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points. The defenseman was leading the AHL in scoring prior to being recalled by the St. Louis Blues (NHL) on Dec. 8.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 4: On Oct. 29, the Chicago Wolves netted a season-high four power-play goals in an 7-3 Illinois Lottery Cup victory over their in-state foe, the Rockford IceHogs. The contest marked the Wolves’ first home-ice win of the season, as well as their largest margin of victory against an opponent. The four power play-goal performance marked just the second time this season an AHL team has tallied four man-advantage markers in a single game. The Toronto Marlies were the first squad to net four tallies this season during their season-opening game on Oct. 15, a 5-2 victory over the Utica Comets.
- 46: In Tuesday’s 4-2 victory against the Charlotte Checkers, left wing Kenny Agostino collected two more assists, brining his league-leading total to 31 helpers. Last season, the Chicago Wolves’ leading assister was captain Pat Cannone with 32 in 73 games. Agostino has yet to miss a game this season and owns a league-leading 46 points to boot. The 24-year-old is averaging 1.31 points per game and is also on a Wolves season-high eight-game point streak. In that span, the former Yale University Bulldog has produced five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. Agostino was recently named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month (December) and CCM/AHL Player of the Week (period ending Jan. 1).
- 52: Center Wade Megan is contributing to the Chicago Wolves’ success in the faceoff dot this season, winning 52 percent of his draws. The 26-year-old leads Chicago — and ranks second in the AHL — with 17 goals through 33 games. Coupled with 13 assists for 30 points, Megan is the Wolves’ second-leading scorer and is tied for the eighth spot in the league. Winning 51 percent of his faceoffs, Alex Friesen is right behind Megan as the Wolves’ second-best centerman. The 25-year-old has won 242 of 475 faceoffs through 35 games this season. Both centers are the only two boasting a win percentage over 50 with more than 100 faceoffs. The next closest skater is Landon Ferrero carrying a 47 percent success rate, winning 77 of 165 draws. Ferraro has not appeared in a game since Dec. 10.
- 88: When the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs last met on Dec. 21, the two clubs combined for 88 minutes in penalties. Only four players — two from each squad — nabbed double-digit totals, but the night’s contest featured plenty of between-whistles scrums and chin music. The evening featured four game misconducts, four fighting majors and 14 minor infractions. Four of those minor penalties were unsportsmanlike conduct infractions. The Wolves logged 46 penalty minutes compared to Rockford’s 42. Both teams have incurred suspensions in head-to- head play this season. On Nov. 26, IceHogs forward Jake Dowell was suspended for a high hit. On Dec. 21, Wolves goaltender Jordan Binnington was suspended for his actions in the Illinois Lottery Cup showdown in Rockford.
- 331: Coming into game No. 36, which places the team three games away from the halfway point of the 2016-17 season, Wolves skaters have logged 314 points. Through 76 games last season, Chicago Wolves players tallied a grand total of 526 points. The Wolves are on pace for 682 points this year. Last season’s top point-getter for Chicago was team captain and 2016 AHL All-Star Pat Cannone with 20 goals and 32 assists for 52 points in 73 games. This season, the Wolves’ — and the AHL’s — leading scorer through 35 games, Kenny Agostino, has 15 goals and 31 assists for 46 points. With 11 multi-point performances and being held off the scoresheet just nine times, the 24-year-old is on pace for 100 points this season.
- The Wolves topped the Checkers to extend their season-high win streak to six games.
- Wing Kenny Agostino (G, 2A) and captain Chris Butler (3A) each registered three- point performances.
- Rookie defenseman Vince Dunn netted two points (G, A) while forward Andrew Agozzino and Ivan Barbashev also tallied.
- Rookie goalkeeper Ville Husso turned aside 23 shots in the victory.
- Chicago earned another victory to push its season-high win streak to five games.
- Wing Kenny Agostino tallied four goals and an assist to become the AHL player this season with a five-point effort.
- Rookie goalkeeper Ville Husso stretched his win streak to three games.
- The Agostino – Andrew Agozzino–Ivan Barbashev line tallied 12 of the Wolves’ 15 points.
Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. on The U Too presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism. The U Too is found over the air at WCIU-DT 26.2. Cable subscribers get the channel on Xfinity 230 and 360, RCN 35 and WOW 170 while Dish Network customers find the games on Ch. 48.