Sunday, April 9 | 4:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
First at Last
The Chicago Wolves took over first place in the Central Division with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Iowa Wild and the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 4-0 setback against the reigning Calder Cup champion Cleveland Monsters. Chicago owns a one-point edge with four games left in the regular season. Since the Griffins also have four games remaining in the season, the Wolves need to finish the year with one more point than the Griffs to take the division title. Grand Rapids holds the first tie breaker — most regulation/overtime wins — by a 42-39 margin. The Milwaukee Admirals, who also have qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs, appear to be the likely third-place finisher as they’ve lost two home games in regulation the last two days. The Charlotte Checker (81 points in 72 games) and Cleveland (82 points in 73 games) are almost in a dead heat for the last Central Division playoff spot. The Checkers hold the tiebreaker.
THE LAST LUAU
Sunday marks the final contest in the Illinois Lottery Cup season series between the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs. Through the first 11 games, Chicago holds a 7-3-0-1 record and has outscored Rockford 42-32. Both are a big improvement from last season’s series when Rockford took the series 7-3-2-0 and outscored the Wolves 37-27. If the Wolves can win tonight, it would mark their fifth victory on home ice in the season series and that would be most home-ice victories for the squad against the IceHogs since the 2013-14 campaign (5-1-0-0). The Wolves also had improvement this season playing at BMO Harris Bank Center with a 3-3-0-0 record. This marks the first season since 2012-13 Chicago finished .500 or better on enemy ice against Rockford. It’s also just the third season since the IceHogs joined the league in 2007-08 that Chicago has a .500-plus record at BMO.
HEROES AFTER ZERO
Right wing Andrew Agozzino and defenseman Petteri Lindbohm continued their overtime heroics Saturday night en route to a 4-3 extra-time victory for the Chicago Wolves. Lindbohm netted his second OT tally of the year at 1:01 of the extra frame for the victory while Agozzino picked up his third point of the game when he set up the play. On Feb. 4, Agozzino netted the OT winner less than two minutes into the extra session against the Rockford IceHogs for a 3-2 victory. Three days later, Lindbohm netted his first overtime tally of the season just 1:19 into the OT period at BMO Harris Bank Center to give Chicago its second overtime victory in as many games against Rockford. That contest was also the last time the IceHogs and Wolves met.
By the Numbers
- 7: It took the Chicago Wolves seven victories to clinch the 2016-17 Illinois Lottery Cup. With an overtime goal from defenseman Petteri Lindbohm on Feb. 7 at BMO Harris Bank Center, the Wolves earned the Lottery Cup for the second time since its inception prior to the 2011-12 season. The Wolves also matched the all-time series best for consecutive wins with a three-game win streak from Oct. 29 to Dec. 2. Chicago has a chance to match it again if it can claim the win today. That would also tie the mark for the most wins in a season series by either club. Rockford went 8-3-1-0 in 2014-15.
- 15.2: Recently, the Wolves’ power play has struggled with just a 15.6 percent success rate in their last 10 games. On the season, the Wolves are 20.4 percent on the man advantage and ranked eighth in the league as they’ve been for the majority of the season. Conversely, their penalty kill has dipped out of the league top-10, registering a 82.2 success rate. It has slipped of late, allowing 10 goals in 27 chances through the last 10 games.
- 29: Left wing Kenny Agostino and center Wade Megan have combined for 29 points — 11 goals and 18 assists — against the Rockford IceHogs this season. Skating in all 11 games against Rockford, Megan has collected seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. That also includes his first professional hat trick — and four-point outing — with three goals and an assist in Chicago’s 6-2 victory against its in-state rival on Dec. 28. Agostino has appeared in 10 games — missing one contest during a recall from loan by the St. Louis Blues — and compiled four goals and 10 helpers. Three of his 10 appearances included at least two points.
- 800: Registering two assists in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Iowa Wild, left wing Kenny Agostino picked up his 80th and 81st points this season. He became the first Chicago Wolves player since Jason Krog, who racked up 112 points during the 2007-08 campaign, to reach the 80-point plateau. Between 2007-08 and now, the 24-year-old Agostino is one of just four players to collect at least 70 points in a season for Chicago. Krog did it twice with 75 points (2009-10, 2010-11) while Brett Sterling notched 71 in 2007-08 and Darren Haydar finished second in team scoring — one point behind Krog — with 74 during the 2010-11 campaign. Agostino leads the league by a wide margin in both points and assists (59). Those 59 helpers are the most for a Chicago player since Krog collected 61 during the 2009-10 campaign. Agostino’s point total also serves as the AHL’s third-highest total since the league cut back from 80 to 76 games prior to the 2011-12 season. Hershey’s Chris Bourque notched 93 points in 2011-12 season while Texas’ Travis Morin produced 88 points in 2013-14.
- 300: In Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win against the Iowa Wild, defenseman Morgan Ellis skated in his 300th career American Hockey League game. Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth round, 117th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Ellis has played the majority of his career in their system. The 24-year-old spent three seasons (2012-15) with the Hamilton Bulldogs and then skated a campaign with the St. John’s IceCaps (2015-16) before signing with the St. Louis Blues in the offseason and playing with the Chicago Wolves during 2016-17. Ellis struggled early on in the season but has since found his game and collected 28 points (8G, 20A). The Prince Edward Island native is one of 13 skaters — and five defensemen — to surpass the 20-point plateau this year.
- The Wolves defeated the Wild for their seventh victory in the season series.
- Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm tallied just 1:01 into overtime for the victory.
- Right wing Andrew Agozzino netted the game-tying goal and collected two assists while rookies Bryce Gervais and Jake Walman also scored.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso made 19 saves for his 12th victory.
- Chicago defeated Charlotte for its third consecutive victory at Allstate Arena in the season series.
- Rookies Vince Dunn and Bryce Gervais scored while first-year Jake Walman netted his first professional goal in just his second career game.
- Centers Alex Friesen and Brad Malone also tallied.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso made 36 saves for the victory.