Saturday, March 4 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
The Land, Ahoy
The reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters have landed at Allstate Arena for the second of three games in just over a two-week span. Thus far, the season series has been a close one. Though Chicago trails 3-2-1-1 in the series, three of the team’s four losses have come by one goal and the Wolves have a 18-17 edge in series scoring. With five games left in the 12-game season series, and three of those five at Allstate Arena, the odds suggest that the Wolves can win the season series. Historically, the Wolves have fared much better against the Monsters in their home compound. Through a decade of contests, the Wolves have recorded a 17-5-1-0 record against Cleveland at Allstate Arena. The 2015-16 season was the Wolves’ only one registering a losing record at home against the Monsters.
Last week, rookie defenseman Vince Dunn collected five points (4G, A) in three games as the Chicago Wolves defensemen continued to prove lethal. This season, Wolves blueliners have accounted for 32 percent of Chicago’s 515 points. The D corps’ 165 points are one point better through 57 games than the 2015-16 corps’ point total for the entire 76-game season. Dunn became the first Wolves defender — and rookie — to break the 30-point plateau this season. He is also one of five defensemen — joining Brad Hunt (29), Jordan Schmaltz (25), Morgan Ellis (23) and captain Chris Butler (22) — to cross the 20-point threshold for the Wolves. Dunn (No. 5), Ellis (No. 10), Hunt (No. 7) and Schmaltz (No. 9) are also in the team top-10 for scoring.
Trade Deadline Transactions
Since the passing of the NHL Trade Deadline at 2 p.m. CST on March 1, the Chicago Wolves roster looks a little different. On Feb. 28, the St. Louis Blues recalled goaltender Pheonix Copley so he could be part of an NHL trade that brought center Brad Malone to the Blues — and subsquently the Wolves. In full, that trade sent Copley and Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals while the Blues received a couple draft picks along with Malone and fellow center Zach Sanford. Following the trade deadline, St. Louis elected to recall defenseman Jordan Schmaltz from loan to the Wolves. Lastly, on March 2, Chicago signed defenseman Josh Atkinson and goaltender C.J. Motte to professional tryout contracts in lieu of the Schmaltz recall and as well as netminder Ville Husso’s potential unavailability due to injury.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1: Happy belated birthday, Ty Loney! The Chicago Wolves right wing celebrated the big 2-5 on March 1. The Pennsylvania native signed a professional tryout contract with the Wolves on Feb. 6. Since his arrival, he has appeared in seven games and tallied five points (3G, 2A). Prior to joining Chicago, Loney was skating for the Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL. Through 40 games, the 25-year-old led the squad in points (40) and goals (18). Earlier this year — Jan. 11-18 — Loney skated at the AHL level with the Albany Devils, and during the 2015-16 season, he skated in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins. He played 31 games and collected six assists for the Penguins. A former University of Denver standout, Loney is the son of longtime NHLer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Troy Loney.
5: Rookie Vince Dunn is riding a three-game point streak that includes four goals and an assist for five points in that span. Dunn has also been a human highlight reel through those three contests. On Feb. 22 against the Cleveland Monsters, the Wolves’ youngest skater netted what stood as the game-winning goal at 10:15 of the third frame on the power play. On Feb. 25 against the Iowa Wild, Dunn again netted a third-period tally that would stand at the game-winner. He also landed the punch heard around North America when he knocked down Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel with a single blow after Gabriel approached him outside the Chicago locker room to continue their on-ice fisticuffs. Dunn again was the bane of Iowa existence Feb. 26 when he netted two third-period goals to help rally the Wolves en route to a 4-3 overtime victory.
- 25: Tuesday, the Chicago Wolves parted ways with goaltender Pheonix Copley, who led this season’s three-goaltender carousel with 25 appearances. Copley was recalled from loan to be part of an NHL trade that sent he and St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals. The former Michigan Tech University standout led Chicago goalies in all major categories, including games played, minutes (1,453), wins (15), goals-against average (2.31) and save percentage (.920). Copley had some memorable moments this season, including jumping to teammate Kenny Agostino’s aid when the Milwaukee Admirals’ Michael Liambas was hassling him in a vulnerable position, and on Feb. 25, Copley made a kick save while at on his back to save the Wolves while on the penalty kill. The Wolves took that game 4-1 for the first of back-to-back victories against the Iowa Wild.
- 515: Through 57 games, the Chicago Wolves have collected 515 points. That’s an average of just over nine points per game. The Wolves are already averaging 3.39 goals per game, which dwarfs last season’s 2.55. Chicago is one tally shy of matching last season’s goal count of 194. Team points and goals per game aren’t the only benchmarks the Wolves have surpassed this season. Granted the season is still young, the Wolves have been more disciplined as the team’s penalty-minute leader is rookie defenseman Vince Dunn with just 58 PIMs; last season’s leader was Jacob Doty with 163 minutes. On the offensive side, Kenny Agostino has surpassed both former captain Pat Cannone’s 2015-16 team-leading point (52) and assist (32) totals with 63 points and 45 assists. Center Wade Megan has matched Danny Kristo’s team-leading 25 goals and nearly tripled Peter Harrold’s +6 plus/minus rating, boasting a +16.
RECENT GAME REWIND
- Chicago topped Iowa for its fifth consecutive victory in the season series.
- Rookie defenseman Vince Dunn (G, A) and center Wade Megan each contributed two goals to the victory, including Megan’s game-winning goal 24 seconds into overtime.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for his 10th victory of the season.
- 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.
Saturday night’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. on CW50’s “Saturday Night with the Wolves,” presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism.