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.
This week marks the final week of regular-season play for the Chicago Wolves, and they’ll grind it out during a 3-in-3 beginning on Thursday (April 13) at Wells Fargo Arena with the first to two games against the Iowa Wild.
Chicago has played historically well at Wells Fargo Arena. Since the Wild began skating there during the 2013-14 season, Chicago has accrued a 15-1-1-1 record.
The Wolves are so good in the Wild’s barn, they collected their franchise-record streak for wins on an opponent’s home ice there. Chicago toppled Iowa 12 consecutive times from Feb. 7, 2014, to Nov. 18, 2016, at Wells Fargo Arena.
During the Wolves’ slow start to the 2016-17 season, they lost the series-opening contest to the Wild but since have rebounded to collect seven straight wins in the season series.
After two games on the road, the Wolves return to Allstate Arena to host the Charlotte Checkers in the regular- season finale on Saturday (April 15). The Checkers have managed to eek out two wins against the Wolves this season, but Chicago leads the season series 5-1-0-1 and hasn’t dropped a game to Charlotte at Allstate all season.
However, Charlotte is still battling with Cleveland for the final playoff position in the Central Division. The Checkers are riding a four-game win streak and are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games as they push for the postseason.
Peek at Playoffs
While the Chicago Wolves have already punched their ticket to the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs that begin next week, they’re still awaiting some details.
Like an opponent. The Wolves will face either the Charlotte Checkers, Cleveland Monsters or Milwaukee Admirals. Which team they face depends on a number of factors like if they finish first or second in the division and which dog – Charlotte or Cleveland – wins the fight for the fourth and final spot in the Central Division.
Chicago has already clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the postseason since they can finish no worse than second place. Saturday marked the first time the Wolves have led the division since early during the 2015-16 season.
However, there is still a chance that Chicago could end up second, so to end the season as the No. 1 seed, they need to complete the season one point ahead of Grand Rapids as the Griffins hold the first tiebreaker – regulation and overtime wins – with a 42-40 edge.
If the Wolves do finish first, they’ll either face fourth- seeded Charlotte or Cleveland. The two clubs are virtually tied for the fourth position but Charlotte holds the ROW tiebreaker, 36-31. If Chicago faces the fourth seed, they would open the series on the road for two games and then return home to Allstate Arena to host the rest of series.
Milwaukee virtually is locked into third place, so if the Wolves fall to second, they’ll face their Amtrak Rival in a best-of-five series. In this scenario, the Wolves would host Games 1 and 2, as well as Game 5 if necessary.
On April 6, the 24-year-old earned 2016-17 AHL First All-Star Team honors as he has spent the majority of the season leading the league in scoring by a substantial margin. Collecting two goals and two assists through two games over the weekend, Agostino has an 18-point lead on Chris Terry, the league’s next-best scorer. Skating in 65 games with the Chicago Wolves, the New Jersey native has accrued 24 goals and 59 assists for 83 points. All three totals are career bests for Agostino. He is on a four-game point streak with three goals and four assists in that span.
With a goal and four assists for five points through two games last weekend, Agozzino pushed his scoring streak to seven games with 10 points (2G, 8A). The Kleinburg, Ontario, native has shown up more than just on the scoresheet for the Chicago Wolves as they set their sights on a postseason run. Agozzino has quietly climbed into third in team scoring (17-35–52), as well as logging time on ice in important situations, including special teams and overtime. He set up defenseman Petteri Lindbohm for Saturday’s game-winning goal in overtime.
In his first start in three games, Binnington backstopped the Chicago Wolves to a 3-1 victory against the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday. The win marked Binnington’s first in five starts. Four of those five starts ended in overtime or a shootout. On Sunday, Binnington turned aside 28 shots and finished the contest with a .966 save percentage.
- Chicago topped Rockford in the final Illinois Lottery Cup contest of the 2016-17 campaign.
- Linemates Kenny Agostino (2G) and Andrew Agozzino (2A) each tallied two points in the victory.
- Rookie right wing Samuel Blais’ late first-period goal stood as the game-winner.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington made 28 saves for his first victory in five starts.
- 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.
|Thursday, April 13||at Iowa^||Wells Fargo||7 p.m. CT|
|Friday, April 14||at Iowa^||Wells Fargo||7 p.m. CT|
|Saturday, April 15||vs. Charlotte#||Allstate Arena||7 p.m. CT|