Tuesday, April 25 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
LIVE ANOTHER DAY
Tuesday night, the Chicago Wolves are looking to stave off elimination in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. Chicago is down two games to one in the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals. After being shut out in Game 1 at Bojangles’ Coliseum, the Wolves rebounded with a 3-2 regulation victory against the Charlotte Checkers. In Game 3, the first of the series at Allstate Arena, Chicago was down early, but two quick goals in the opening minutes of the second period gave the Wolves some life. In the third they again tied the game and overtime was needed. In the extra frame, regular-season overtime hero Andrew Agozzino nearly ended the contest with a breakaway chance around the eight-minute mark. However, soon after, Charlotte took advantage of a failed zone clear by the Wolves, and Connor Brickley ended the game at 9:28 of the extra session when he swatted home a rebound.
Coming into tonight’s contest, the Charlotte Checkers and Chicago Wolves are both scoreless on the power play. Until Sunday afternoon’s tilt, neither had gathered more than four minutes in penalties during competition. However, that changed as the clubs combined for 42 penalty minutes that resulted in three man advantages for Chicago and two for Charlotte. Unable to capitalize on those chances, the Wolves are now 0-for-5 while the Checkers are 0-for-6 for the series. Conversely, both penalty kills have been stellar and boast a perfect 100 percent success rate. Three short-handed goals have been scored during the 2017 postseason but none belong to Charlotte or Chicago. The Milwaukee Admirals, San Diego Gulls and San Jose Barracuda each own a shortie.
CHECKING OUT THE COMPETITION
The other series happening during the Central Division Semifinals is between the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Milwaukee Admirals. With an overtime victory in the last game of the regular season on April 15, the Chicago Wolves edged their Lake Michigan rivals, the Griffins, for the Central Division title and the top spot for postseason seeding. After dominating most of the regular season — including the Wolves in head-to-head competition — Grand Rapids struggled toward the end of the season. However, the Griffins seem to have righted their ship — or began sinking the Admirals’ barge — with a 2-0 lead over Milwaukee. Game 1 was an overtime nailbiter in which Tomas Nosek played the hero, and Game 2 was a more thorough victory as Tyler Bertuzzi netted two tallies en route to a 5-2 Griffins win. The series moves to Milwaukee on Wednesday and Grand Rapids will have a chance to sweep the Admirals to advance to the Central Division Finals against the victor of the Charlotte Checkers-Chicago series.
By the Numbers
- 1.92: Charlotte Checkers netminder Tom McCollum has recorded a 1.92 goals against average through three Calder Cup Playoffs contests against the Chicago Wolves. The seasoned veteran has only given up six goals through three games — 188 minutes — against the Wolves, and one of those contests was a shutout. Chicago has managed to fire 96 shots on net for an average of 32 shots a game. While the Wolves are having a tough time against McCollum during the postseason, they did beat him three of five times during the regular season. Chicago handed McCollum his first two losses with the Checkers.
- 3: The Chicago Wolves’ leading scorers are two rookies: Samuel Blais and Adam Musil. Each of the 20-year-olds boasts a point per game through three Central Division Semifinals contests. Musil — tonight marks just his sixth professional game — leads the Wolves in postseason scoring with two goals and an assist. Two of those points, including the game-winning goal, came in Chicago’s lone victory thus far in the series on April 21 in Charlotte. In Sunday’s 4-3 setback against the Checkers, Musil notched the first of the Wolves’ two game-tying goals in the opening minutes of the second period. On the other hand, Blais has been nothing short of impressive in his first professional season and that show has carried into the postseason. In Chicago’s lone win, Blais registered three points – including a goal – to factor on all the Wolves’ goals in the contest.
- 9: Left wing Brett Sterling checks in at No. 9 on the Chicago Wolves all-time postseason scoring list. The newly 33-year-old Los Angeles native — as of Monday — has been to the American Hockey League postseason four times. Three of those were with the Wolves, and in 2008 — just his second in the league — Sterling helped led the Wolves to their second Calder Cup in six years. Through 52 playoff games, the California native has 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points. While skating for Chicago, he boasts 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points through 40 postseason gamess.
- 12: While Chicago Wolves rookies are holding down the top spots on the team scoring list, the rest of the scoring has been done by players with previous American Hockey League experience. Those players accounted for 12 of the 18 points the Wolves have collected through three games. Kenny Agostino (1-1–2), Chris Butler (0-2–2), Jordan Schmaltz (0-2–2), James Wisniewski (0-2–2), Alex Friesen (1-0–1), Ty Loney (1-0–1), Morgan Ellis (0-1–1) and Petteri Lindbohm (0-1–1) all have at least a point in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs.
- 14: After Sunday’s 4-3 overtime setback against the Charlotte Checkers, rookie defenseman Vince Dunn leads the league with 14 penalty minutes, all of which he picked up in Sunday’s game. The 20-year-old picked up a 10-minute misconduct and two minor penalties — interference and high-sticking. During the regular season, Dunn finished second in penalty minutes with 71. The only player ahead him was Brad Malone and the majority of his penalty minutes — 66 of them — were earned while playing for the Hershey Bears. Through 19 games with the Wolves, Malone logged just six penalty minutes, meaning Dunn earned the most on the season for a player wearing a Wolves jersey. Dunn’s record included three fights — one less than he earned during his three-year junior career — and a season/career-high 17 penalty minutes in a single game.
- 42: After being the two most gentlemanly teams through two games, in Sunday’s contest the Charlotte Checkers and Chicago Wolves earned a combined 42 penalty minutes. Previously, the teams averaged just four minutes per game, but on Sunday Chicago logged 27 minutes and Charlotte posted 15. Vince Dunn led the players with 14 minutes in penalties — including a 10-minute misconduct — while Andrew Poturalski and Bryce Gervais checked in at five minutes each for fighting.
- 187:43: Since the Chicago Wolves and Charlotte Checkers have played one more game than the other 14 teams in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, Ville Husso leads postseason goaltending corps with 187:43 played. He is just 42 seconds ahead of his series counterpart, Tom McCollum. The 2016-17 campaign marked Husso’s first playing on American soil. During the regular season, he split time between the Missouri Mavericks in the ECHL and the Chicago Wolves. The 22-year-old posted a 13-6-3 record with a 2.37 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 22 regular-season games for the Wolves. In his first North American postseason, Husso has played three games and collected a 2.88 goals-against average with a .909 save percentage.
Previous Calder Cup Play
- Charlotte held on for the overtime victory and took a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals.
- The Checkers jumped out a 2-0 in the first period, but the Wolves rallied in the opening minutes of the second frame as forwards Kenny Agostino and Adam Musil both scored to even the game, 2-2.
- In the third, Charlotte scored first but Chicago quickly responded when right wing Ty Loney tallied to even the game again.
- In overtime, Charlotte’s Connor Brickley netted the game winner at 9:28. • Rookie goalie Ville Husso made 30 saves in just his third North American playoff start.