Friday, Jan. 13 | 7 p.m. | MTS Centre
North of the Boarder
Friday night marks the first of two games in the Chicago Wolves’ lone trip north of the Canadian border this season. Chicago and the Manitoba Moose will face off for the second of four contests during the 2016-17 season. The first meeting took place on Nov. 27 at the Wolves’ home stomping grounds, Allstate Arena, and the Moose managed to sneak out a 2-1 win. The victory marked Manitoba’s first at Allstate Arena since Nov. 28, 2009, when they topped the Wolves 4-2. Through six previous wins over the Moose on home ice, the Wolves outscored their antler-bearing foe 22-7. That run featured an 8-2 walloping by the Wolves on Dec. 2, 2015. The contest was the Wolves’ second-highest scoring affair of the year. Earlier last season, Chicago routed the Charlotte Checkers, 9-5, on Oct. 25, 2015.
Currently, the Chicago Wolves lead the entire American Hockey League with 136 goals scored. That’s an average of 3.49 goals per game. The Wolves are nearly unstoppable when netting four or more goals, boasting a 19-0-2-0 record. In those 21 games, the Wolves outscored their opponents 102-56 and averaged 4.86 goals per game. That stint does include two extra-time losses. The first came in a 5-4 overtime setback against the Milwaukee Admirals at UWM Panther Arena on Nov. 9. Milwaukee’s Alexandre Carrier struck at 1:49 of the extra frame to give the Admirals the victory. Again in overtime, on Dec. 7, the Wolves lost a 6-5 battle against the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena. The high-scoring affair featured a four-assist performance by the AHL’s leading scorer, Kenny Agostino. The feat was the first for a Chicago player since Jason Krog recorded four helpers against the Rockford IceHogs on April 12, 2008..
BY THE NUMBERS
- 0: While Canadians comprise the majority of the Chicago Wolves roster, none of them hail from the province of Manitoba. Of the Wolves’ 11 Canadians, five are from Ontario (Andrew Agozzino, Jordan Binnington, Vince Dunn, Alex Friesen and Reid McNeill), two are from Quebec (Samuel Blais and Jordan Caron) and one each from Alberta (Conner Bleackley), British Columbia (Landon Ferraro), Prince Edward Island (Morgan Ellis) and Saskatoon (Bryce Gervais). The latter is geographically closest to Winnipeg, Manitoba, just a mere 573 miles — 922 kilometers — from the Moose’s home city. Americans are the second-largest group on the Chicago roster with 10 players: Kenny Agostino (New Jersey), Chris Butler (Missouri), Mackenzie MacEachern (Michigan), Wade Megan (New York), Jared Nightingale (Michigan), Jordan Schmaltz (Wisconsin), Justin Selman (New Jersey), Brett Sterling (California) and Scooter Vaughan (California). Finland (Ville Husso, Petteri Lindbohm), Sweden (Magnus Paajarvi) and Russia (Ivan Barbashev) also are represented
- 1: The Chicago Wolves and Manitoba Moose have faced off one time so far in the 2016-17 season. The Moose managed to eek out a 2-1 win at Allstate Arena on Nov. 27. Manitoba opened scoring early in the contest at 3:07 of the first period, and the Wolves’ Scooter Vaughan knotted the game, 1-1, at 16:44 of the middle frame. Jack Roslovic scored to put the Moose back on top, and the teams staged a defensive grudge match in the final frame. The Wolves could not get on the board again and the 2-1 score stood as the final. Tonight, Chicago is looking to reignite the offensive fire it had last season against Manitoba. In eight tilts during the 2015-16 season, the Wolves netted 29 goals against the Moose. That’s 3.63 goals per game to Manitoba’s 2.13 (17 goals) through the series. Chicago took the season series with a 6-1-1-0 record.
- 11: Left wing Kenny Agostino is looking to get back on the scoresheet. His scoring streak stopped at 11 games in the Chicago Wolves’ 2-1 Amtrak Rivalry victory against the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday. The defensive battle featured a goal in each frame; the Admirals snapped goaltender Pheonix Copley’s shutout bid with just 35 seconds on the clock in the third period. Defensemen accounted for three of the Wolves’ five points — including both goals — on the night. During his scoring streak, Agostino collected six goals and 16 assists for 22 points. The 24-year-old has the second-longest scoring streak of the season in the American Hockey League. His point total matches that of the Hershey Bears’ Paul Carey who totaled 22 points in 19 games, the longest streak of the 2016-17 season.
- 100: The Chicago Wolves defense has accounted for 100 points — almost 30 percent — of the team’s 361 points this season. Even with his 16-game absence, Brad Hunt still leads the Chicago D corps in scoring with nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points. However, Vince Dunn, the team’s youngest skater, has been shining in Hunt’s absence. The 20-year-old is the active leading scorer among Wolves defensemen with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. He leads the eight-man rookie class in scoring as well. Captain Chris Butler hasn’t had as much of an offensive output, but did collect the first three-point game of his professional career (all assists) on Jan. 3 versus the Charlotte Checkers.
- 136: Scoring 136 goals through 39 games puts the Chicago Wolves atop the American Hockey League in goal-scoring. The club has an 11-goal lead on the next-closest team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Though the Wolves have netted the most markers, they’re second in the league in goals per game with 3.49 compared to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ 3.59 average (122 goals in 34 games). Conversely, Chicago is just outside the league’s top 10 in goals against per game with 2.79. Two Central Division foes, the Grand Rapids Griffins and Milwaukee Admirals, rank ahead of the Wolves. The Griffins rank second with 2.47 goals against per game, giving up just 84 goals through 34 games. The Admirals have given up just 97 tallies through 35 games for a 2.77 average.
Recent Game Rewind
Wednesday, Jan 11 (at) Chicago 3, Milwaukee
- The Wolves beat the Admirals for their fifth consecutive Amtrak Rivalry win.
- With a 35-save performance, the contest also marked goaltender Pheonix Copley’s fifth win over the Admirals.
- Defensemen Vince Dunn and Morgan Ellis scored the goals for the Wolves.
- At 19:25 of the third period, Milwaukee’s Justin Florek ended Copley’s shutout bid.
- Rockford handed Chicago its first loss in nine games.
- The IceHogs’ Brandon Mashinter and Tyler Motte each tallied two goals.
- Wolves rookie Samuel Blais netted two goals in the loss while Kenny Agostino pushed his scoring streak to 11 games with an assist.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso turned aside 30 shots.
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.