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.
Comforts of Home
The Chicago Wolves kick off a six-game homestand this Wednesday (Feb. 22) against the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters. The six-game string is comprised entirely of divisional matchups against Cleveland (3), the Iowa Wild (2) and the Manitoba Moose and marks the longest home showing of the 2016-17 season for the Wolves. This season, Chicago boasts a 17-6-1-1 record when playing at Allstate Arena. In the club’s last homestand — Jan. 3-7 — Chicago collected three wins, which was part of the team’s season-high eight-game victory streak. During that span, the Wolves outscored opponents 16-6 and were perfect on the penalty kill while recording a 41.7 success rate on the power play.
Those games were also against divisional opponents: the Charlotte Checkers made their first road trip to Allstate Arena for a set of games on Jan. 3 and 7, and the Wolves rattled the Rockford IceHogs 7-2 on Jan. 6 in an Illinois Lottery Cup contest. In that tilt, Chicago netted two power-play goals and scored seven tallies on just 26 shots. Netminder Pheonix Copley matched a team and personal season-high with 38 saves in the game.
On Sunday, right wing Ty Rattie rejoined the Chicago Wolves after being claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Blues (NHL). This marks Rattie’s second stint of the 2016- 17 season with the Wolves; he last skated with the club Nov. 9-11 on a conditioning assignment. The 24-year-old has spent parts of the last four seasons with the Wolves, appearing in 196 games while registering 69 goals and 68 assists for 137 points. Rattie is one of only two active players — the other is left wing Brett Sterling in the No. 5 slot — on the Wolves Top-35 all-time scoring list. The Alberta native is four points shy of passing Joey Crabb for the No. 18 spot. At the NHL level, Rattie has appeared in 35 games over the course of four seasons and recorded 10 points (4G, 6A). This season, Rattie split NHL action between the Blues and Carolina Hurricanes. He appeared in four games for St. Louis, and then was claimed off waivers by the Hurricanes on Jan. 4. He skated in five games with Carolina and nabbed two assists. Rattie was selected by the Blues in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
After missing Friday’s game due to suspension, the 26-year-old earned first-star honors in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Texas Stars. The win marked the Chicago Wolves’ first at HEB Center in Cedar Park, Texas since the 2012-13 season. Agozzino tallied a goal near the midway point of the second frame that stood as the game- winner. He also assisted on Brett Sterling’s early third-period insurance marker. His presence on the faceoff dot also was welcomed back.
The 20-year-old took over as the Chicago Wolves’ top-scoring rookie. Through two games, Blais registered two goals and an assist. Those points helped him take sole position of the No. 6 spot on the team scoring list. He also leapfrogged defenseman Vince Dunn for the team rookie scoring lead and now boasts 28 points (18G, 10A). Blais is in a four-way tie for second place in American Hockey League goal-scoring among first-year skaters. The Quebec native has also stepped up and played first- line minutes, filling time in ice in the absence of two of the Wolves’ top three scorers.
The veteran wing extended his season-high scoring streak to fie games and has seven points (2G, 5A) in that span. Saturday also marked the 32-year-old’s 350th career game in a Wolves sweater. He is No. 8 on the franchise games-played list. Sterling needs 12 more games to pass Tim Bergland and move into the No. 7 spot. Sterling is looking to finish the season in the No. 5 spot on the Wolves’ game-played list. The California native is also projected to skate in his 500th AHL contest this season.
- The Wolves topped the Stars for the first time in three seasons at HEB Center.
- Forward Andrew Agozzino (G, A) and defenseman Chris Butler (2A) led the offensive with two points.
- Forwards Samuel Blais, Conner Bleackley and Brett Sterling also tallied in the victory.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 27 saves and turned aside a penalty shot.
- The Wolves fell to the Stars for the seventh consecutive game at HEB Center.
- Chicago thrice rallied from one-goal deficits with tallies from Samuel Blais, Morgan Ellis and Ty Loney.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves — four in overtime – in the loss.
|Wednesday, Feb. 22||vs. Cleveland^||Allstate Arena||11 a.m. CT|
|Saturday, Feb. 25||vs. Iowa#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
|Sunday, Feb. 26||vs. Iowa#||Allstate Arena||3 p.m. CT|
|Saturday, March 4||vs. Cleveland#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
|Sunday, March 5||vs. Manitoba#||Allstate Arena||3 p.m. CT|
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