Thursday, March 9 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
Thursday night, the Chicago Wolves look to push their current season-high eight-game winning streak at Allstate Arena to nine contests. The feat would tie a franchise record for longest home win streak that last was achieved in March 2003. During Chicago’s current win stint, the Wolves have outscored their opponents 37-20 and accumulated a .916 team save percentage. The Wolves boast the longest active home win streak in the league and, with their 5-4 victory over Manitoba on Sunday, they surpassed the Syracuse Crunch for the AHL’s longest home win streak of the season. Chicago’s special teams have been decent throughout this eight-game stretch. The power play is clicking along at 24.3 percent (9 of 37) and the penalty kill has allowed eight goals in 38 short-handed situations for a 78.9 percent success rate.
FANNING THE FLAMES
Teamwork makes the dream work, but individual efforts are important to the whole’s success and the Chicago Wolves’ top individuals are heating back up at the right time. Each game is just another day in Kenny Agostino World, including the Wolves’ last two contests — March 4 and 5 — when the 24-year-old registered back-to-back three-point performances. With those six points (3-3–6), Agostino has pushed his season point total to 69 (21G, 48A). The AHL’s leading scorer is 17 points ahead of the next-best scorer, the St. John’s IceCaps’ Chris Terry (22-30–52). Those points also helped Agostino push his current scoring streak to three games with eight points (3G, 5A). Also riding three-game point streaks are Agostino’s linemates: rookie wing Samuel Blais (1-5–6) and center Wade Megan (4-1–5). Blais’ recent hot streak includes a career-best four-point game — which included the game-winning goal and three assists — on March 4 against the Cleveland Monsters. Lastly — but definitely not least — rookie defenseman Vince Dunn has recorded four goals and three assists for seven points during his five-game point streak. That includes three points (2G, A) in his last two games against Cleveland — Feb. 22 and March 4 — as well as three goals in two games against the Iowa Wild on Feb. 25 and 26.
SLAYING THE MONSTERS
The Chicago Wolves and Cleveland Monsters compete Thursday night for the third time in a 16-day span, and Chicago hopes to capture another W tonight for its fourth victory of the season against the Monsters at Allstate Arena. Until the Wolves’ 7-3 win over Cleveland on March 4, the season series scoring has been close with each contest being decided by a margin of two goals or less. Two of the three one-goal tilts required extra time — both of which the Wolves lost. With the series currently split at four victories apiece, the Wolves are carrying a 4-2-1-1 record and a 25-20 edge in scoring. Prior to March 4, the Wolves’ series scoring lead was a slim 18-17. This season, Chicago boasts a 3-0-1-0 record against the Monsters at Allstate Arena. Overall, the Wolves have an 18-5-1-0 all-time record against Cleveland in their den.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2: Tage Thompson, a first-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, has twice captured gold medals for the United States on the international stage. Earlier this year, he was part of the U.S. National Junior Team that claimed Team USA’s fourth World Junior gold medal. In 2015, he skated with the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team that overcame Finland in overtime for a 2-1 gold-medal victory. The 19-year-old Connecticut native recently signed an amateur tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves; the move comes on the heels of Thompson agreeing to forgo his final two years of college eligibility and sign an entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues.
- 3: Sunday marked goaltender Jordan Binnington’s third consecutive game, which is his second-longest string this season. His longest consecutive stint was Nov. 23 to Dec. 2 when he appeared in five straight games and accumulated a 4-1-0-0 in that spent. In his current three-game stint Binnington is a perfect 3-0-0-0 with a .897 save percentage. On March 2, the Wolves inked netminder C.J. Motte to a professional tryout contract to backup Binnington while rookie goalkeeper Ville Husso is unable to dress.
- 10: Scooter Vaughan is a bit of a homebody this season, collecting all 10 of his points at Allstate Arena. Vaughan netted two of his six goals in the Wolves’ last two games — March 4 and 5 — to help propel the team to victory and push their current home win streak to eight games. The now full-fledged forward has carved out his niche on the Chicago Wolves’ fourth line primarily skating with on a wing opposite Bryce Gervais or Mackenzie MacEachern and Alex Friesen at center. In his fourth season, Vaughan is boasting a career-best +6 plus/minus rating and just 25 penalty minutes through 47 games.
- 31: This season, the Chicago Wolves have netted four or more goals in 31 of 59 games. Meaning, the club as scored at least four goals in 53 percent of their games during the 2016-17 campaign. That rate has helped contribute to the Wolves overall outscoring opponents 205-160, and outscoring opponents at home — Allstate Arena — a whopping 114-75. Chicago’s 205 goals ranks the squad second among all 30 AHL teams in goals scored, and its 3.47 goals-per-game average ranks third in the league.
- 41: In Sunday’s 5-4 victory against the Manitoba Moose to split the four-game season series, the Chicago Wolves allowed 41 shots. The mark was one shot shy of the club’s season-high 42 shots, which they allowed the Rockford IceHogs on Dec. 18 in a 4-3 shootout loss at Allstate Arena. Chicago has been outshot by opponents in 35 of its 59 games so far this season. However, 18 of the contests featured margins of five shots of less. Through 59 games, Wolves opponents are averaging 30.22 per game while the Wolves are mustering 28.63 shots on net per game. Chicago has a 18-13-2-3 record when being outshot this season.
- Chicago overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Manitoba and split the four-game season series.
Left wing Kenny Agostino registered his second consecutive three-point (G, 2A) performance.
- Center Andrew Agozzino netted two goals while defensemen Morgan Ellis and James Wisniewski each collected two assists.
- Forward Scooter Vaughan also tallied and goaltender Jordan Binnington made 37 saves in the win.
- 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.