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Gameday

Tale of the Tape: Jan. 28, 2017 vs. Cleveland


Saturday, Jan. 28 | 6 p.m. | Quicken Loans Arena

Quest For the Q

Historically, the Chicago Wolves have not fared well at Quicken Loans Arena. The club carries an all-time record of 9-11-3-0 when playing at The Q. Thrice — 2008-09, 2011-12, 2012-13 — the Wolves have swept the Monsters in games at Quicken Loans Arena en route to winning the season series. This year, the Wolves and Monsters meet for a head-to-head record 12 games and so far the Wolves are 1-2-0-0 at The Q. Saturday night, they’re looking to tie a two-time season-high (2) in wins on the road versus the Monsters.

Three’s Company

The Chicago Wolves are back to having a three-man goaltending rotation. Jordan BinningtonPheonix Copley and Ville Husso are all splitting time in net for the squad. Chicago began the season with three goalies, and then on Oct. 26 — after he backstopped the Wolves to their first victory of the season — rookie Husso was reassigned to the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL. Husso was with the Mavericks almost two months before being reassigned to the Wolves on Dec. 25 after Binnington incurred a one-game suspension on Dec. 21 against the Rockford IceHogs at BMO Harris Bank Center. Upon his return, Husso shared net duties with Copley, and the pair backstopped the club during its eight-game winning streak from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7. Binnington did not play again until Jan. 22 — a month and a day since his suspension — and helped the Wolves to a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. The 23-year-old made 26 saves and finished the game with a .963 save percentage. Meanwhile, Copley was recalled from loan by the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 20 and made his first career NHL start on Jan. 21. He backstopped the team during a 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre and allowed five goals on 29 shots. Copley has not started a game for the Wolves since his return. However, the 25-year-old has an AHL six-game win streak intact. During that span, he owns a 2.30 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage.

Barbashev is Back 

On Friday, center Ivan Barbashev returned to the Chicago Wolves on loan from the St. Louis Blues. The 21-year-old was recalled by the Blues on Jan. 26 and made his National Hockey League debut the same night in a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. In his first regular-season NHL game, Barbashev logged 10:03 of ice time through 14 shifts, registered one shot on goal and was 25 percent in the faceoff circle. With the Wolves, Barbashev is third in team scoring with 37 points and second in goal scoring with 19. His 18 assists rank him third — along with left wing Andrew Agozzino — on the team helpers list. The Moscow native is the team’s resident sharpshooter with a 25.3 shooting percentage.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 13: Rookie Samuel Blais is leading the goal-scoring charge for the Chicago Wolves’ first-year class with 13 tallies in 44 games. In that span, Blais also has three two goal games and they’ve all come on the road against Central Division foes: Dec. 26 at Milwaukee, Jan. 8 at Rockford and Jan. 26 at Cleveland. His 20 points (13G, 7A) are good enough for second in scoring among Chicago’s first-year skaters. Only defenseman Vince Dunn has more points with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points. At 20, Dunn is the youngest Chicago player on the roster and has established himself as one of the Wolves top two rookies. While being responsible on the blue line, Dunn has also contributed to the Wolves’ offensive punch with six multi-point performances and a five-game point streak from Jan. 3 to 11.
  • 21: On Thursday, center Wade Megan recorded his team-leading 21st goal, which wound up as the game-winner in the Chicago Wolves’ 4-2 victory over the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena. In the Wolves’ game prior to Thursday — the team’s 44th contest of the year — Megan also scored and became the fastest Wolves player to 20 goals since Nigel Dawes nabbed his 20th tally in the team’s 43rd game of the 2010-11 season. Megan continues to have a career year as he already has surpassed professional-bests with 21 goals, 17 assists and 37 points. The 26-year-old is also eight points shy of the career 100-point mark and is on pace to nearly triple his previous single-season point-high (23).
  • 26: The Chicago Wolves are on the prowl for win No. 26 on the season and all-time against the Cleveland Monsters. The Wolves have an edge in the all-time series with a 25-16-4-0 record. If Chicago can pick up the W Saturday night, it would be the first time the team has reached 26 wins in 46 contests since the 2013-14 season when the Wolves tabbed win No. 26 on Feb. 4, 2014. During the 2014-15 season, the Wolves collected win No. 26 in Game 50 and during 2015-16 their 26th victory came in Game 61.
  • 45: Kenny Agostino and Alex Friesen are the only players on the Chicago Wolves roster to have appeared in all 45 games this season. Through 45 contests, Agostino sits atop the American Hockey League scoring leaderboard with 57 points and the next-closest player is 14 points behind him. Friesen has been centering the Wolves’ third and fourth lines. Of Wolves centers with at least 100 faceoffs under their belts, Friesen is the second-best in the faceoff circle with a 50 percent win rate. Only Wade Megan is better, carrying a 51 percent success rate. Just a game shy of Agostino and Friesen are Ivan Barbashev, Samuel Blais and Chris Butler. Barbashev was the most recent to miss a game when he was recalled from loan by the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 26 and made his NHL debut the same evening. Prior to that, captain Butler missed his first game of the season on Jan. 11 due to illness. Having established himself as one of Chicago’s top rookies this season, Blais’ only game missed came on Nov. 12, the last time the Wolves were on a two-game road trip to Cleveland.
  • 57: Left wing Kenny Agostino quietly has been maintaining his grip on the American Hockey League scoring race. On Thursday, the 24-year-old pushed his point total to 57 (17G, 40A) with two assists in the Chicago Wolves’ 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena. Agostino has a 14-point lead on the next-closest scorer — Lehigh Valley center Jordan Weal (15G, 28A). After scoring 25 points (7G, 18A) in 14 games during the month of December and putting together an 11-game point streak (Dec. 18-Jan. 8) with 22 points (6G, 16A), Agostino has relaxed his point-per-game pace. However, the former Yale standout has earned a goal and four assists in the Wolves’ last two contests. In the seven games since Jan. 8, Agostino has managed a point-per-game average and has notched at least a point in four of those tilts.

Recent Game Rewind

Thursday, Jan 26 Chicago 4, (at) Cleveland 2

  • Chicago captured its second victory of the season against the Monsters.
  • Rookie Samuel Blais netted two goals while Wade Megan scored the game-winning
    tally for his team-leading 21st marker.
  • With two assists, Kenny Agostino pushed his league-leading point total to 57 (17G,
    40A).
  • First-year netminder Villle Husso made 23 saves for his sixth victory of the year.

Sunday, Jan 22 (at) Chicago 5, Milwaukee 1

  • The Wolves clinched their sixth Amtrak Rivalry title in eight seasons.
  • 2017 AHL All-Star Kenny Agostino collected three points (G, 2A) while Ivan Barbashev and Wade Megan each tallied two (G, A).
  • In his first game since Dec. 21, netminder Jordan Binnington made 26 saves for the victory.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

Saturday night’s game begins at 6:00 p.m. with CW50’s “Saturday Night with the Wolves,” presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism. The game will also be streamed LIVE on Facebook and AHLLive.com starting at 6:00 with Jason Shaver and Billy Gardner.

Join the conversation, follow @Chicago_Wolves for live game updates.

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