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.
The Monster Mash
On Saturday (March 4), the Chicago Wolves and Cleveland Monsters enter the second half of their 12- game season series. Saturday’s game will be the second time the Wolves and Monsters have faced off in 10 days. It will also mark the second of three games between the squads in just over two weeks. Thus far, the season series has been a close one. Though Chicago is trailing 3-2-1-1 in the series, three of six games have been decided by one goal and the Wolves have a 18-17 edge in series scoring. Two of the one-goal affairs has gone to extra time; the Monsters have taken both. On Dec. 17, they prevailed 2-1 in overtime at Allstate Arena, and they earned a 3-2 W in the shootout on Jan. 28 at Quicken Loans Arena. The Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins lead the Central Division with 73 points. However, the Griffins have four games in hand so every point counts for Chicago. Every point also counts for Cleveland, which is 17 win-percentage points out of a playoff spot with 22 games
The Final Hunt
The Wolves will have 18 games remaining when they meet the Manitoba Moose on Sunday, March 5, for the clubs’ final contest of the season. Through the first three games of the series, the Wolves have a 1-2-0-0 record and have been outscored 8-6. However, that doesn’t mean they still can’t split the series. This season, the Wolves have been a scoring powerhouse with four-or-more-goal performances 29 times and outscoring opponents 193-153, including 102-68 on home ice at Allstate Arena. Chicago has also won the last two season series with Manitoba. With a victory to split the four games, it would mark the first time since the 2008-09 campaign the teams would do so.
The 20-year-old’s three-game highlight reel featured five points (4G, A) and three of those tallies were game-tying or -winning markers. Those five points also pushed Dunn over the 30-point threshold, and the rookie blueliner became the first Wolves player in either category to reach 30 points this season. In Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild, Dunn landed the punch heard around North America. Following an on-ice fight with Kurtis Gabriel, as the pair were heading to the locker rooms, Gabriel approached Dunn, grabbed the front of his jersey and tried to continue to fight. Dunn was not having any of it and knocked him down with one punch. Dunn’s extracurriculars also gave him the team penalty-minute lead with 58.
Last week, the New York native racked up four points (2G, 2A) through three games. Megan earned first-star honors in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Iowa Wild for his two- goal performance that included the game-winning marker just 24 seconds into the extra frame. Those goals also catapulted Megan back into a tie for the top spot on the American Hockey League goal- scoring leaderboard. Megan and Lehigh Valley’s Greg Carey both have 25 goals through 54 games. However, Megan’s career-best 49 points to Carey’s 40 give him the tiebreaker.
Through three games last week, Schmaltz flew under the radar but continued to be a workhorse for the Chicago Wolves. His biggest performance came in Sunday’s 4-3 OT win against the Iowa Wild. The 23-year-old recorded three assists, including the only helper on Wade Megan’s overtime goal. The performance was the first three- point showing of his professional career. Those points also moved him into the second place among Wolves blueliners in season scoring with 25 points (3G, 22A).
- Chicago topped Iowa for its fifth consecutive victory in the clubs’ 10-game season series.
- Rookie defenseman Vince Dunn and center Wade Megan each contributed two goals to the victory, including Megan’s game-winning goal 24 seconds into overtime.
- The Wolves defeated the Wild for the fourth consecutive game.
- Defenseman Morgan Ellis netted two tallies in an 18-second stretch after rookie Vince Dunn nabbed the game-winning goal at 14:45 of the third period.
- Center Alex Friesen collected the game’s opening marker at 7:31 of the first period.
- Goaltender Pheonix Copley turned aside 29 shots in the victory.
- Chicago quickly overcame a one-goal deficit for its third victory of the season against Cleveland.
- Rookie defenseman Vince Dunn (G, A) and veteran wing Magnus Paajarvi ( G, A) each tallied two points
- Defensemen Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm also scored in the win
- Netminder Pheonix Copley made 23 saves.
|Saturday, March 4||vs. Cleveland#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
|Sunday, March 5||vs. Manitoba#||Allstate Arena||3 p.m. CT|
|Thursday, March 9||vs. Cleveland^||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
|Saturday, March 11||vs. Milwaukee#||UWM Panther Arena||6 p.m. CT|
|Wednesday March 15||vs. Texas^||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|
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