Friday, Feb. 3 | 7 p.m. | Allstate Arena
Clash of the Titians
The Chicago Wolves come into Friday’s contest 77 percentage points behind the Central Division-leading Grand Rapids Griffins. Unfortunately, this season’s 10-game series with Griffins hasn’t been kind to the Wolves. Chicago is carrying a 2-4-1-0 record through seven games and have been outscored 26-19 in those tilts. However, the Wolves are looking to make up ground against the Griffins as they aim for their sixth division title. Both teams are trending up; since they met on Dec. 15 — when the Wolves gave up a season-high seven goals in the 7-1 loss — Chicago is 12-5-1-2 with a .675 win percentage while the Griffins are 13-5-0-0 with a .722 win rate. The Wolves are looking to recoup some percentage points with a head-to-head win and close the 27-24 gap in ROW.
Meet the Wiz
The Central Connection
Usually nemeses, Chicago Wolves left wing Kenny Agostino and Grand Rapids Griffins center Matt Lorito joined forces on Monday in the 2017 American Hockey League All-Star Challenge. The duo played most of the 3-on-3 tournament on the same line and combined for six points — three goals and three assists — as well as some highlight-reel goals. Each skater also notched a shootout goal to help the Central Division team reach the championship contest and, ultimately, win the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge. The victory marked the second consecutive season the Central Division has claimed the league’s all-star title. Rookie defenseman Vince Dunn also represented the Wolves in this year’s game. The 20-year-old picked up an assist in four games.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2: Back-to-back All-Star champs! On Monday, American Hockey League’s Central Division squad defended its title at the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This year, rookie defenseman Vince Dunn and Kenny Agostino, the league’s leading scorer, represented the Chicago Wolves. The duo didn’t pick up any individual accolades like last year’s captain, Pat Cannone, who was named the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic MVP, but they did contribute to the overall success of their team as they have done for the Wolves all season long. Agostino contributed three points — a goal and two assists — and a shootout marker while Dunn nabbed an assist and manned the blue line in the 3-on-3 tournament, a format not known to be friendly for defense.
- 3: Defenseman Morgan Ellis and Jordan Schmaltz, as well as left wing Kenny Agostino, come into tonight’s contest riding modest three-game point streaks. In that span, Ellis has a goal and two assists and Schmaltz is averaging a point per game with an assist in each. Agostino, the American Hockey League’s leading point-getter, has recorded five assists in the past three games. Those helpers have brought his season point total to 17 goals and 41 assists for 58 points. After collecting 25 points in 14 games during the month of December, Agostino has pulled back his point per production but still holds a lengthy lead on the league’s next-best scorer. Thirteen points separate Agostino from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ Jordan Weal. For the season, Agostino averages 1.26 points per game; good enough for third among active AHL skaters.
- 14: The Chicago Wolves is riddled with National Hockey League experience. Fourteen players on the Wolves roster have seen NHL action. The most recent addition to the list was center Wade Megan, who made his NHL debut — and scored his first NHL goal — on Dec. 22 with the St. Louis Blues against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goaltender Pheonix Copley, who made his NHL debut last season, earned his first NHL start on Jan. 21 with the St. Louis Blues in a 5-3 loss against the Winnipeg Jets and former Wolves goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelec. The other Wolves with NHL experience prior to this season are forwards Kenny Agostino (10), Andrew Agozzino (10), Jordan Caron (157), Landon Ferraro (75), Alex Friesen (1), Magnus Paajarvi (280) and Brett Sterling (30); defensemen Chris Butler (387), Morgan Ellis (3), Petteri Lindbohm (39), and James Wisniewski (552); and goaltender Jordan Binnington (1).
- 32: Left wing Emerson Clark will reprise No. 32 after being recalled from loan to the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL by the Chicago Wolves on Thursday. This will be Clark’s second stint with the Wolves during the 2016-17 season. Clark was last recalled from loan between Nov. 18-23 and appeared in four games for Chicago. He collected an assist and a -1 plus/minus rating in that span. While with Tulsa, he skated in 38 games and was second in team scoring with 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points. Clark also led the squad with three short-handed goals as well as 4.16 penalty minutes per game. For the season, he has amassed a team-leading 158 penalty minutes.
- 37: With 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points, second-year center Ivan Barbashev ranks third in team scoring for the Chicago Wolves. Through 45 games with Chicago this season, the 22-year-old has nine multi-point performances. On New Year’s Eve, Barbashev collected a personal season-high four points with a goal and three assists in the Wolves’ 5-2 victory over the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. On Jan. 30, Barbashev was recalled from loan to the Wolves by the St. Louis Blues. Previously, the center was recalled on Jan. 26 and made his NHL debut the same evening in a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center..
Recent Game Rewind
- The Wolves dropped their third contest of the season to the Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena.
- Defenseman Morgan Ellis and forward Andrew Agozzino put Chicago up 2-0 in the first, but Cleveland tied it in the second.
- Monsters right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the ninth round of the shootout and Wolves left wing Brett Sterling could not solve Joonas Korpisalo to keep the shootout going.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 30 saves through 65 minutes and stopped four of nine shooters in the shootout.
- 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,
- First-year netminder Villle Husso made 23 saves for his sixth victory of the year.
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.