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.
CENTRAL DIVISION SEMIFINAL WITH CHARLOTTE
After a painful start to the 2016-17 regular season, it ended on the highest note possible Saturday night as the Chicago Wolves rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period and Andrew Agozzino again was the Hero After Zero to give Chicago a 4-3 overtime victory over the Charlotte Checkers. The win allowed the team to clinch their fourth division title in eight years, as well as their eighth overall.
With the point they earned by going to overtime, the Checkers landed their first playoff berth in four seasons. Additionally, they signed themselves up for a postseason dance with the Wolves in the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals.
As the higher seed, Chicago had the choice to host the first two or the last three games. The Wolves elected to open the series on the road, so Charlotte will have the luxury of playing the first two contests at Bojangles’ Coliseum before the rest of the series returns to Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
During the regular season, Charlotte and Chicago met eight times. The Wolves posted a 6-1-0-1 record and outscored the Checkers 30-20. However, two games in the series were decided in extra time, which the teams split. Charlotte prevailed 3-2 in a shootout on March 25 while the Wolves took the most recent contest 4-3 in the 3-on-3 OT session.
Special teams, particularly the penalty kills, were the story of the regular-season series. Chicago finished the eight-game set with a 83.3 percent success rate on the penalty kill while Charlotte closed out the series with a 72.7 percent success rate. The Wolves’ power play chugged along at nearly 30 percent and scored nine goals. Charlotte’s man-advantage unit only mustered five goals against Chicago.
The 26-year-old continues to impress for the Wolves when the team needs him most. On Saturday, Agozzino netted his second overtime tally of the season to lift the Wolves to a 4-3 victory against the Charlotte Checkers and clinch the Central Division title. Through three games over the weekend, Agozzino picked up a goal and assist for two points and posted six shots on goal.
On Saturday in the regular-season finale against the Charlotte Checkers, Megan netted his 33rd goal of the year to claim the Willie Marshall Award as the league’s leading goal-getter for 2016-17. The 26-year-old finished one goal better than the Hartford Wolf Pack’s Nicklas Jensen to take the title. The New York native finished the weekend with two goals and an assist for three points, as well as a +1 plus/minus rating and seven shots on goal.
While the Michigan native didn’t contribute much to the scoresheet — just an assist in Thursday’s game against Iowa — Wisniewski created a major momentum shift in Saturday’s game that helped the Chicago Wolves rally against the Charlotte Checkers for a 4-3 overtime victory and clinch the team’s fourth division title in eight years. In the third period, after a questionable Charlotte hit, the 33-year-old and Clark Bishop got tangled up and Bishop wound up at on the ice. It was just Wisniewski who was sent to the box for four minutes — a roughing double minor. The Wolves killed all four minutes and then Jordan Caron netted a tally to pull Chicago back within one with time on the clock.
- The Wolves knocked off the Checkers for their fourth division title in eight years.
- Center Wade Megan netted his 33rd goal of the season that earned him the Willie Marshall Award as the league’s top goal-scorer for 2016-17.
- Veteran Jordan Caron and rookie Samuel Blais both scored to erase Chicago’s 3-1 deficit in the latter half of the third period.
- In the 3-on-3 overtime, Andrew Agozzino tallied the power-play goal for the win.
- Goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 31 shots to end the regular season with 16 victories.
- Chicago suffered an overtime setback against Iowa and halted the Wolves’ season- series win streak at eight games.
- Left wing Samuel Blais and defenseman Morgan Ellis each posted a goal and an assist in the loss.
- Iowa’s Alex Tuch tallied just 13 seconds into the extra frame for the victory.
- Rookie netminder Ville Husso turned aside 31 shots in his second OT loss of the year.
|Thursday, April 20
|6 p.m. CT
|Friday, April 21
|6:15 p.m. CT
|Sunday, April 23
|7 p.m. CT
|Tuesday, April 25**
|7 p.m. CT
|Wednesday, April 26**
|7 p.m. CT
Some Central Divisional Semifinal games will be broadcast on The U Too. Visit ChicagoWolves.com for a complete broadcast schedule; all games stream live on AHLLive.com.