Sunday, March 5 | 3:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
Tides have Turned
On Nov. 27, the last time the Manitoba Moose visited Allstate Arena, the Moose earned a 2-1 victory. That gave Manitoba a 9-7-1-1 record while the Chicago Wolves dropped below .500 at 8-9-1-1. Since that time, the Wolves have posted a 17-3-1-1 record at home (.818) and a 26-8-2-3 mark (.731) overall. The Moose, meanwhile, have gone 14-20-3-3 overall (.425) since earning that win in Rosemont.
Silky Smooth and Snap
Rookie right wing Samuel Blais recorded his first professional four-point performance Saturday night in the Wolves’ 7-3 triumph over the Cleveland Monsters. The feat marked the sixth time this season a Wolves player has recorded at least four points in a contest. Kenny Agostino (Dec. 7), Ivan Barbashev (Dec. 31), captain Chris Butler (Feb. 10) and Wade Megan (Dec. 28) all have recorded four-games. Agostino has also done one better than that by collecting five points — including four goals — in the Wolves’ New Year’s Eve victory over the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. This season, Blais has been one of the Wolves’ top first-year performers. He leads the eight-man rookie class with 19 goals and is tied for the points lead with defenseman Vince Dunn. The pair share fifth in team scoring. Saturday night also marked Blais’ first multi-assist game. Previously, all of his multi-point efforts had been two-goal performances.
With Saturday night’s 7-3 victory over the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters, the Chicago Wolves moved into third place among all American Hockey League teams in home-ice win percentage. Chicago boasts a .759 win rate and a 21-6-1-1 record through 29 home contests. The Wolves also have outscored opponents 109-71 on home ice. Only the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (.777; 21-6-0-0) and the San Jose Barracuda (.771; 17-4-1-2) have a better record in their home compounds than the Wolves.
The 30-Point Club
In Saturday night’s 7-3 win against the Cleveland Monsters, rookie right wing Samuel Blais (19-14—33) became the sixth Chicago Wolves player of the season to reach the 30-point plateau. He’s just the second rookie — defenseman Vince Dunn (11-22—33) is the first — to reach the benchmark. Blais is leading the rookie class with 19 goals and sits third in goal scoring among Wolves skaters. Left wing Kenny Agostino leads the Wolves — and the entire American Hockey League — with 66 points and 46 assists. Wade Megan — Chicago’s top goal-scorer with 26 tallies — is second in team scoring with 50 points. The inactive Ivan Barbashev — recalled from loan by the St. Louis Blues on March 1 — is third with 37 points (19G, 18A) while Andrew Agozzino rounds out the top four with 36 points (12G, 24A). Dunn and Blais share the No. 5 spot.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2: On Saturday, newcomer Brad Malone made a splash in his Chicago Wolves debut by netting back-to-back goals to help push the Wolves to a 7-3 victory against the Cleveland Monsters. The tallies were Malone’s eighth and ninth of the season. The 27-year-old center came to the Wolves on Feb. 28 as a result of an NHL trade between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. Along with Malone, the Blues acquired a couple draft picks and center Zach Sanford in exchange for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley. Malone is a seasoned veteran, having skated in 176 NHL games and 218 AHL games.
- 4: With an assist Saturday night against Cleveland, rookie Vince Dunn extended his scoring streak to four games with six points (4G, 2A). The 20-year-old Ontario native is also the first Wolves blueliner — and rookie — to reach the 30-point plateau. He achieved the milestone on Feb. 25 in Chicago’s 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild. The next night, Dunn collected just his second two-goal performance of the season. The Wolves’ youngest player, Dunn has been a staple on the blue line and proved his worth throughout the season. Through 54 games, he leads the Chicago D corps in scoring with 33 points (11G, 22A) and is tied for the team rookie scoring lead with right wing Samuel Blais (19G, 14A). Dunn is also on pace to record 44 points, which is eight points better than last year’s top-scoring rookie, defenseman Jordan Schmaltz.
- 50: Captain Chris Butler ’s assist on Scooter Vaughan’s tally in the four-goal second period of Saturday night’s game marked his 50th career American Hockey League helper. Butler has spent the majority of his AHL career with the Wolves, skating in 117 games, netting 10 goals and tallying 40 assists. Butler has surpassed all his previous season-best records with five goals, 18 assists and 23 points. The 30-year-old is one of five Chicago defenders to pass the 20-point mark. The others are Vince Dunn (11-22–33), Morgan Ellis (8-16–25), Brad Hunt (9-20–29) and Jordan Schmaltz (3-22–25). Originally selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the fourth round, 96th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Butler has skated in 387 NHL games and collected 84 points (13G, 71A) in that span. He’s also skated for three teams: Buffalo, the Calgary Flames and the St. Louis Blues.
- 200: Ty Rattie skated in his 200th American Hockey League game in Saturday night’s 7-3 triumph against the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters. The 24-year-old has played his AHL career exclusively with the Chicago Wolves. Through four seasons with Chicago, Rattie has collected 69 goals and 68 assists for 137 points — which is three points shy of passing Joey Crabb for the No. 18 spot of the Chicago franchise all-time scoring list. He’s also one of only two active players — the other is left wing Brett Sterling at No. 5 — in the top 35 of the list.
- 450: With the secondary assist on Kenny Agostino’s second goal at 7:43 of the third period in Saturday night’s 7-3 win, Brett Sterling recorded his 450th career American Hockey League point. Sterling has skated eight seasons in the AHL built around trips to the National Hockey League and stints in the Austrian Hockey League and Swedish Hockey League. Sterling has enjoyed a decorated AHL career that includes winning a Calder Cup in 2008, Rookie of the Year and Top Goal Scorer in 2007, as well as being named an all-star four times. His 176 goals place him second on the Wolves’ franchise goal-scoring list, and his 335 points rank him fifth on the franchise scoring list. He is just eight points shy of passing former teammate Jason Krog for the No. 4 spot. This season, the 32-year-old cracked the franchise top-10 all-time games list, passing general manager and former goaltender Wendell Young, Tim Breslin and, most recently, former teammate Darren Haydar for the No. 8 position.
RECENT GAME REWIND
Saturday, March 4 (at) Chicago 7, Cleveland 3
- The Wolves ousted the Monsters 7-3, coming back from a one-goal deficit after Cleveland gained the lead just 2:40 into the game.
- Newcomer Brad Malone and Kenny Agostino, the league’s leading scorer, each netted two goals.
- Rookie Samuel Blais recorded four points, including the game-winning goal in the second period as well as three assists.
- Fowards Wade Megan and Scooter Vaughan also tallied in the victory.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for his 11th win.
Sunday, Feb. 26 (at) Chicago 4, Iowa 3 (OT)
- 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.
Sunday’s game begins at 3:00 p.m. on CW50 presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism.
The broadcast will also stream LIVE on Facebook and AHLLive.com with Jason Shaver, Billy Gardner and Shannon Lersch.