Tuesday, Feb. 7 | 7 p.m. | Rockford
Edge of Glory
Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory only guaranteed the Chicago Wolves a share of the 2016-17 Illinois Lottery Cup. Tuesday night, the Wolves are looking to clinch 100 percent of the trophy. All they need is one point in either of the final two games of the year between the Wolves and Rockford IceHogs, but it would be much more clear-cut to pick up their seventh win of the season in this 12-game series. The task will be no small feat as the Wolves have lost three of five games at the IceHogs’ home base this season and have been outscored 18-17. Of the five contests played at BMO Harris Bank Center this season, four have finished with at least a three-goal differential and saw the victor net at least four markers. In fact, on three occasions at Rockford this season, the winner has posted six goals.
New Kids on the Block
On Sunday, left wings Kenny Agostino and Magnus Paajarvi were recalled from loan to the Chicago Wolves by the St. Louis Blues (NHL). The transactions come on the heels of a season-ending injury to Robby Fabbri, who skated in three games — and collected a goal and three assists — for the Wolves during the 2014-15 season. Agostino made the move while riding a five-game point streak with two goals and six assists for eight points. The American Hockey League’s leader in points (60) and assists (42), the 24-year-old registered his 60th point of the season as part of Saturday night’s win over Rockford. Paajarvi has appeared in 25 games with Chicago — having missed 18 games due to injury — and collected six goals and 10 assists for 16 points. Agostino and Paajarvi were skating together recently on a line centered by Wade Megan, who made his NHL debut with the St. Louis earlier this season.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2: The Chicago Wolves have needed extra time to resolve a game eight times this season. However, the club has only been victorious on two occasions. The most recent time was Saturday in a 3-2 win against their in-state rival, the Rockford IceHogs. The Wolves led the contest late in the first period, but Rockford rallied early in the second to take the lead. Chicago rookie Samuel Blais knotted the score at two later in the same frame. After a scoreless third session, an aggressive penalty kill in overtime sealed the win for the Wolves. The squad’s first extra-time W of the season came on Dec. 30 in Chicago’s fourth of five consecutive wins over the Milwaukee Admirals. Kenny Agostino — recently recalled from loan by the St. Louis Blues — was the sole scorer in the shootout to give the Wolves a 4-3 win at Allstate Arena.
- 6: On Saturday, Andrew Agozzino netted the Chicago Wolves’ sixth short-handed goal of the season and he did it in thrilling fashion. During an Illinois Lottery Cup contest with the game tied 2-2 and center Wade Megan in the penalty box in the extra frame, the Wolves won a defensive-zone faceoff. Center Alex Friesen cleared the puck around the boards and into the Rockford IceHogs defensive end. Rockford goalie Lars Johansson retrieved the puck from behind the net, but Agozzino was aggressive on the attack and stripped Johansson of the puck. He then raced to the front side of the net and hurriedly snuck the game-winning goal into the top left corner past Johansson sliding back into the cage.
- 21: Chicago Wolves center Conner Bleackley turns 21 on Tuesday! This season, the rookie from High River, Alberta, has skated in 39 games for the Wolves and collected 8 points (G, 7A). Bleackley netted his lone goal of the year — the first of his professional career — on Jan. 6 in a 7-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs. The marked came at 12:38 of the second period, and the newly minted 21-year-old had no idea he’d been credited with the goal. The initial shot from defenseman Morgan Ellis at the point grazed Bleackley standing near the crease on its way into the net.
- 22: Happy belated birthday to Chicago Wolves rookie netminder Ville Husso, who turned 22 on Monday! The Helsinki native is in his first professional season in North America. Husso is carrying a 7-5-0 record, 2.90 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. His goals-against average ranks fifth in the American Hockey League among first-year goalies with at least 10 games played. He is riding a two-game win streak with victories against Cleveland (Jan. 26) and Rockford (Feb. 4). Prior to those contests, he matched his season-high with 33 saves in a 1-0 loss for the Wolves against the Milwaukee Admirals.
- 382: Traditionally, the Chicago Wolves have not fared well in competition against the Rockford IceHogs at BMO Harris Bank Center. Through 10 seasons, the Wolves have just a .382 win rate and show an 18-31- 3-3 record on the IceHogs’ home ice. The 2010-11 season is the only one in which Chicago escaped BMO Harris Bank Center with a winning record: 3-1-1-0. If the Wolves can win Tuesday night, the club would finished the season series with a 3-3-0-0 record at Rockford for the second time since the 2012-13 campaign.
Recent Game Rewind
- The Wolves topped the IceHogs in overtime to clinch at least a share of the Illinois Lottery Cup.
- Left wing Andrew Agozzino netted the short-handed game-winning marker just 1:58 into the extra frame.
- Recently recalled Emerson Clark and rookie Samuel Blais also scored for Chicago.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso turned aside 24 shots in the victory.
- The Wolves fell to the Griffins for the sixth time this season.
- Griffins forward Matt Lorito netted two goals and former Wolves netminder Eddie Pasquale made 30 saves.
- Forwards Kenny Agostino and Samuel Blais tallied for Chicago.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 28 saves in the loss.
Tuesday’s game will stream on AHLLive.com starting at 7:00 with Jason Shaver and Billy Gardner.