Welcome to Wolves Roundup, a weekly report of highlights, notes and transactions from the Chicago Wolves’ previous week of competition during the 2016-17 season.
CENTRAL DIVISION SHOWDOWN
The Chicago Wolves’ next game is Friday (Jan. 20) against the Central Division-leading Grand Rapids Griffins. There’s a lot at stake as the division’s top two teams meet for the first time since Dec. 15 when the Griffins ousted the Wolves 7-1 in a School-Day matinee. The six-goal setback marked Chicago’s largest defeat of the season. The Wolves allowed a season-high three power-play goals, and the tilt was the first time head coach Craig Berube pulled a goaltender. The Griffins are leading the Central Division with a .708 win percentage and a 24-9-1-2 record while the Wolves are trailing them with a .622 win rate and a 23-13-3-2 record. With five more games played than Grand Rapids and the Griffins a game up in ROW (regulation and overtime wins), Chicago can help decide its own feat by taking as many head-to-head points as possible in the clubs’ final four games of the 10-game season series.
AMTRAK RIVALRY CHUGS ON
The Chicago Wolves return home to Allstate Arena this Saturday (Jan. 21) and Sunday (Jan. 22) for a pair of Amtrak Rivalry games against the Milwaukee Admirals. The Wolves are riding a five-game win streak against their I-94 foe. Their success was not without adversity. Prior to the five wins, Chicago had three straight losses – regulation, overtime and shootout. However, on Dec. 10, the Wolves finally sank the ship and beat the Admirals 5-2 at UWM Panther Arena to kick off the win streak. During the victory stint, Chicago has outscored Milwaukee 24-12 and cashed in six times on the power play for a 27.3 percent success rate. Between the pipes, Pheonix Copley has won all five games and posted a .919 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old (his birthday is Wednesday) is riding a six-game win streak. In that span, Copley has collected a .928 save percentage and a 2.30 goals- against average. He also boasts four 30-plus save performances. One of those efforts came on Jan. 11 when the former Michigan Tech standout secured his fifth consecutive Amtrak Rivalry victory over the Milwaukee Admirals.
With Brad Hunt playing in the NHL, Dunn has taken up the mantle as the Wolves’ top- scoring active defenseman — the 20-year-old also leads the eight-man rookie class — with 20 points through 36 games. His seven goals and 13 assists place him sixth in team scoring; Hunt is the only defenseman above him on the list. He has six points (2G, 4A) in his last seven outings.
Ellis has collected two goals and three assists for five points in the Chicago Wolves’ last six outings. His 0.83 point-per- game output is far better than his 0.27 points per game through his first 33 contests with the Wolves this season. On Friday at Manitoba, Ellis netted the second game-tying goal with a blast from the center of the blue line at 16:42 of the middle frame. Then he sprung center Bryce Gervais for the game-winning breakaway goal at 16:41 of the final frame that broke the 2-2 tie.
- Manitoba netted four unanswered goals to hand Chicago its second loss in 12 games.
- Former Wolves Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 35 shots in the victory.
- Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm was the lone goal-scorer for Chicago, and rookie netminder Ville Husso made 16 saves.
- Chicago overcame Manitoba for its 10th win in 11 games.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley recorded another 35-save performance in the victory.
- Center Bryce Gervais netted a game-winning breakaway goal at 16:41 of the third frame to break a 2-2 tie.
- Wing Kenny Agostino sniped an empty-net insurance marker for his 51st point of the season.
- 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.
|Friday, Jan. 21||at. Grand Rapids*||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m. CT|
|Saturday Jan. 21||vs. Milwaukee#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
|Sunday, Jan. 22||vs. Milwaukee*||Allstate Arena||3 p.m. CT|
|Thursday, Jan. 26||at. Cleveland^||Quicken Loans Arena||6 p.m. CT|
|Saturday, Jan. 28||at. Cleveland#||Quicken Loans Arena||6 p.m. CT|
^ AHL Live only, * U Too, # CW50