Friday, Feb. 17 | 7:30 p.m. | HEB Center
The Chicago Wolves come into Friday night’s game looking to end a winless streak against the Texas Stars on the Stars’ home ice at six games. For the last three seasons, the Wolves have not been able to defeat the Stars at HEB Center. Through those six losses, the Wolves have been outscored 22-11 and three of those affairs have been decided by one goal. The last time Chicago overcame Texas was during the 2012-13 season, when the Wolves took both games at the then-Cedar Park Center. The first was a 2-0 victory on March 1, 2013, that included a 33-save performance by Matt Climie as well as goals from Adam Polasek and Darren Archibald. Four days later, the Wolves edged the Stars 4-3 in regulation time with Michael Davies netting the game-winning goal.
In for the Long Haul
On Wednesday, defenseman Jared Nightingale signed a standard player contract with the Chicago Wolves for the rest of the 2016-17 season. No stranger to the Wolves, Nightingale signed on for his third stint with the club — inking a professional tryout contract — on Dec. 16. Previously, Nightingale skated with Chicago for 31 games during the 2015-16 season and five games in 2007-08. This season, the 34-year-old has posted an assist and a +2 plus/ minus rating in eight games. Prior to joining the Wolves this year, Nightingale was skating for the Toledo Walleye (ECHL) where he collected one goal and three assists through 22 games. Chicago’s elder statesman, Nightingale’s professional career spans 12 years and and he has skated for 10 AHL franchises and three ECHL organizations. Nightingale has appeared in 468 AHL regular-season games and registered 16 goals, 43 assists and 982 penalty minutes.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 4: Since Jan. 29, the Wolves have signed four new players: forwards Josh Brittain, Ty Loney and Steven McParland, as well as veteran NHL defenseman James Wisniewski. Those signings come in light of four recent call-ups by the St. Louis Blues. Since Jan. 26, St. Louis has recalled centers Ivan Barbashev (Jan. 26) and Wade Megan (Feb. 14) along with wings Kenny Agostino (Feb. 5) and Magnus Paajarvi (Feb. 5). Of the Wolves’ latest signings, Loney has skated in four games while McParland and Wisniewski each have two under their belts. Brittain — signed to a PTO Thursday — could make his Wolves debut Friday night against the Texas Stars.
- 7: Center Bryce Gervais netted the Chicago Wolves’ latest short-handed goal in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage. The Wolves’ seven shorties place them fifth in the American Hockey League — along with four other teams — in short-handed scoring. However, the Texas Stars are tied for the league lead in shorties with 10. Conversely, Chicago is ranked fourth in short-handed goals against with just three while Texas is near the middle of the pack with nine other teams that have allowed five shorties this season. The Wolves’ leading short-handed scorer, Wade Megan, was recalled on Valentine’s Day by the St. Louis Blues. The Wolves also will be without Andrew Agozzino, the team’s second-leading shortie scorer, as he will miss Friday night’s game because of a one-game suspension he incurred for an illegal check to the head on Feb. 12 against the San Antonio Rampage at Allstate Arena.
- 28: Forward Josh Brittain, the Chicago Wolves’ latest addition, will don the No. 28 jersey. The last player to suit up with No. 28 was forward Jacob Doty, who wore the number for four games this season and 53 games during the 2015-16 campaign. Prior to Doty, 17 other players wore No. 28 — a group that includes Jay Bouwmeester (2004-05), Braydon Coburn (2005-06) and Bryan Little (2006- 07). Brittain signed a professional tryout contract on Thursday. He began the 2016-17 season skating in the ECHL and through 45 games has six goals and 21 assists for 27 points. He began this season with the Norfolk Admirals and was traded to the Allen Americans on Jan. 6. In his sixth year of professional hockey, Brittain has skated at the AHL level. Most recently, he played ve games with the Rockford IceHogs during 2015-16
- 77: Friday night, the Chicago Wolves face the worst penalty kill in the American Hockey League at 77.3 percent. The Texas Stars are dead last in the league for penalty killing as they have given up 48 goals in their 211 short-handed situations. Only seven teams have been short-handed more times this season than the Stars. The Manitoba Moose and Utica Comets also have been down a man 211 times this year. The Comets have given up just 40 goals, giving them an 81 percent success rate on the PK, while Manitoba has given up one less goal than the Stars. The Moose are a smidge better skating down a man with a 77.7 percent success rate. The Wolves come into Friday night’s game sitting eighth in the league with a 20.2 percent power play. They’ll look to take advantage of Texas’ penalty kill as they hunt for their first win at HEB Center since the 2012-13 season.
- 615: With a .615 win percentage, the Chicago Wolves are second in the Central Division. Right now, no one can catch the division- leading Grand Rapids Griffins, who boast a .684 win rate. With the Wolves’ front-loaded schedule, the Griffins have three games in hand and the third- place Milwaukee Admirals have two more contests remaining than Chicago. Just .005 percentage points separate the second-place Wolves and third-place Admirals.
Recent Game Rewind
- Chicago beat San Antonio for its first season-series sweep versus the Rampage.
- Defenseman James Wisniewski netted the game- winner late in the third period.
Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (G, A) and center Wade Megan (2A) each put up two points in the victory. Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 32 saves in his first start since Jan. 22.
- The Wolves fell to the Admirals and ended their latest winning streak at three games.
- Milwaukee forwards Adam Payerl and Vladislav Kamenev scored just 12 seconds apart in the final five minutes of the game to earn the Amtrak Rivalry win.
- Rookie Samuel Blais, newcomer Ty Loney and NHL veteran James Wisniewski all tallied for the Wolves
- Netminder Pheonix Copley made 23 saves in the loss.
Friday’s game begins at 7:30 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.