Sunday, Jan. 8 | 4 p.m. | Rockford
‘Cause All We Do is Win
The Chicago Wolves matched a 10-year-old franchise winning streak — eight games — with a 5-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers. That string is entirely comprised of victories against Central Division foes: the Milwaukee Admirals (3), Rockford IceHogs (2), Charlotte Checkers (2) and Iowa Wild (1). The Wolves’ last eight-game run came during the 2009- 10 season from Feb. 9-21, 2010. While the current streak has been a team effort, some individuals have had outstanding performances. Leading the offensive charge is left wing Kenny Agostino with a 10-game point streak that has pushed his season totals to 15 goals and 34 assists for a league-leading 49 points. Center Ivan Barbashev has notched a goal in five consecutive games. In that same span, the Moscow native also had nine total points. In net, both Wolves goaltenders —Pheonix Copley and rookie Ville Husso — are riding season-high streaks. Husso has won his last five starts while Copley has emerged victorious in his last four.
Kenny the Ago-Naut
Because It’s the Cup
Sunday marks the ninth of 12 Illinois Lottery Cup meetings between the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs. Chicago is pulling away with the series lead as it has won five of the first eight games. It takes seven wins to clinch the cup. Currently, the Wolves are searching for their straight third win to tie a record for consecutive victories in the head-to-head series. Neither team has been able to string together more than three wins since the IceHogs joined the American Hockey League prior to 2007-08. Chicago has outscored Rockford 13-4 in its last two victories, and goaltender Pheonix Copley matched a season-high 38 saves in the 7-2 win on Jan. 6.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 5: Center Ivan Barbashev is riding a five-game goal streak into today’s Illinois Lottery Cup contest against the Rockford IceHogs. Collecting 12 points in the last eight games, the 22-year-old has notched markers against the Milwaukee Admirals (4), Charlotte Checkers (2), Iowa Wild (1) and Rockford IceHogs (1) in that span. The Moscow native has also logged 19 shots and a +8 plus/minus during that time. Barbashev hasn’t spent much in the box, collecting just four penalty minutes.
- 7: Through eight games against the Rockford IceHogs, center Wade Megan is the Chicago Wolves’ leading scorer with seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. Those seven goals coupled with his 11 others on the season, make him the Wolves’ leading goal-getter with 18 markers. That also ranks second in the AHL to Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton rookie center Jake Guentzel’s 19 goals. On Dec. 22, the St. Louis Blues (NHL) recalled Megan to ll in for Paul Stastny, who was placed on injured reserve, and that evening the 26-year-old made his National Hockey League debut. During his first NHL contest, Megan did himself one better and netted his first NHL goal. On the rush with Ryan Reaves, Megan chipped a Reaves rebound over Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead at 14:43 of the first period. Megan skated on the wing with Reaves and Scottie Upshall for the majority of the contest. Megan was returned on loan to the Wolves on Dec. 23.
- 9: This season, the Chicago Wolves have made scoring a team effort; only nine of their 131 goals are unassisted tallies. Center Wade Megan has three individual efforts while Andrew Agozzino, Samuel Blais, Landon Ferraro, Brad Hunt, Jordan Schmaltz and Brett Sterling each have a single unassisted goal. The Wolves are leading the league with 131 goals — 13 goals better than the next team — through 37 games. They’ve also registered 219 assists for 349 total points. They’re on pace to collect 717 points through 76 games for 191 more points than the 2015-16 season.
- 36: So far this season, four Chicago Wolves players have appeared in all 37 games: Kenny Agostino, Ivan Barbashev, Chris Butler and Alex Friesen. Agostino, the league’s leading scorer, is heading the offensive charge with 15 goals and 34 assists for 49 points. The 22-year-old Barbashev is riding a five-game goal streak and has notched eight goals in his last eight games. Friesen has been contributing on the faceoff dot, winning 51 percent of his faceoffs. The mark is second-best — behind Wade Megan with 52 percent — among Wolves centermen. Captain Butler is heating up with five points in his last three games, including a three-point performance — the first of his professional career — against the Charlotte Checkers on Jan. 3.
- 100: Left wing Kenny Agostino is on pace to set career-highs in points, goals and assists. If the 24-year-old keeps scoring at his current rate, he will reach the 100-point mark. The last Wolves player to compile a 100-plus point season was Jason Krog during the 2007-08 season in which the Wolves won their second Calder Cup. Krog netted 39 goals and 73 assists through 80 games that year. For Agostino, he has already tied his season-high in assists with 34 and is on pace for 33 goals, which is one better than his career-high. His potential 100 points would be 43 points better than his career-high 57 points during the 2015-16 season. This season, the former Yale University Bulldog already has 12 multi-point performances and has only been held scoreless eight times.
Recent Game Rewind
Saturday, Jan 7 (at) Chicago 5, Charlotte 2
- The Wolves toppled the Checkers for the second consecutive time to extend their season-high winning streak to eight contests.
- Center Wade Megan led the way with one goal and two assists while Kenny Agostino and Magnus Paajarvi each tallied two assists and defenseman Jordan Schmaltz recorded a goal and an assist.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso turned aside 22 shots in the the victory.
Friday, Jan 6 (at) Chicago 7, Rockford 2
- Chicago earned its seventh consecutive win in an Illinois Lottery Cup clash with Rockford
- Netminder Pheonix Copley matched a season-high, turning aside 38 shots.
- Sixteen Chicago skaters notched at least one point in the victory.
- Wings Andrew Agozzino and Magnus Paajarvi, along with defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, each tallied two points.
Sunday’s game game begins at 4:00 p.m. on The U Too, presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism.
The game will also be streamed LIVE on Facebook and AHLLive.com starting at 7:00 with Jason Shaver and Billy Gardner.