Saturday, Oct. 21 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
This season, the Chicago Wolves are off to an even-keel start. Through three games, the Wolves have compiled a 1-1-1-0 record with the club’s first and only victory coming on Oct. 14 in the home opener at Allstate Arena against the Ontario Reign. Through three games, Chicago has outscored opponents by just one goal, 15-14. In good news, the team has scored 5 goals in each game during this campaign. However, this mediocre start is all too familiar for the Wolves as last season Chicago owned a 4-4-0- 0 record in the month of October and outscored opponents just 23-20. They also began the season with a three-game winless streak. However, this season is already on the upswing as they avoided the three-game slide with the victory on Oct. 14.
DUCKS FLY TOGETHER
On Thursday, a pair of Mallards joined the Chicago Wolves lineup as forward Keegan Kolesar was reassigned by the Vegas Golden Knights to the club and goaltender C.J. Motte signed a professional tryout contract with the team. Neither face is new for the Wolves; Kolesar made his professional debut earlier this month with Chicago against the Texas Stars and skated in one more game before being assigned to the Quad City Mallards on Oct. 9. Motte spent some time last season with Chicago as he signed a PTO with the club in March and then the 25-year-old attended Wolves training camp prior to the start of the of 2017-18 campaign. Motte has yet to see game action with the Wolves.The Chicago Wolves and Ontario Reign are meeting for the first time since the Reign joined the American Hockey League ahead of the 2015-16 campaign. The Reign are one of four new Pacific Division opponents for the Wolves this season; the Bakersfield Condors, San Diego Gulls and Tucson Roadrunners also will make their maiden voyages to Allstate Arena. In second half of the season, a week-long West Coast road trip will send the Wolves to California for the first time in nearly 20 years. That trip includes contests with Bakersfield, Ontario and San Diego.
Goaltenders Oscar Dansk and Max Lagace traded places on Thursday when the Vegas Golden Knights recalled Dansk from loan and returned Lagace on loan to the Wolves. Lagace was in net for Chicago’s first victory of the season on Oct. 14 against the Ontario Reign at Allstate Arena. The 24-year-old made 34 saves in the 5-2 win. Lagace was also in net for the Wolves’ season opener at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, on Oct. 6. Dansk backstopped the Wolves the next evening and played nearly 65 minutes as the Texas Stars bested the Wolves 6-5 in overtime.
By the Numbers:
- 2: The latest addition to the Wolves’ blue line is Keith Aulie, who will patrol the defensive end wearing No. 2. On Wednesday, the 28-year-old veteran signed a professional tryout contract with the Wolves. Aulie spent the majority of the 2016-17 season with the Stockton Heat (AHL) and appeared in 54 games. Aulie began last season with the Cleveland Monsters, but lasted just three games before being released from his PTO. In 2012, Aulie skated in 18 postseason games — including all four Calder Cup Final contests — to help the Norfolk Admirals earn the AHL’s top prize. As a 19-year-old, Aulie also earned a gold medal with Canada at the 2009 World Juniors in Ottawa. Aulie’s teammates included some recognizable names: Jamie Benn, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Ellis, Evander Kane, Tyler Meyers, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban and John Tavares.
- 3: In Chicago’s home opener against the Ontario Reign on Oct. 14, the Wolves netted three power-play goals to help propel the club to a 5-2 victory. Those three goals — plus four others — have given them a league-best 40 percent success rate on the power play. The three-goal performance during the home opener was the club’s season-high for PPGs in a single game and improved their season average to two PPGs per game.
- 22: The American Hockey League’s reigning goal-scoring champion, Wade Megan, rejoined the Chicago Wolves on Thursday. The 27-year-old began the 2017-18 campaign on the St. Louis Blues’ opening-night roster. However, the New York native only saw action in one game at the National Hockey League level this season before being placed on waivers and eventually loaned to the Wolves. Last season was a career year for Megan as he nearly tripled his career-best in points (66) and more than doubled his previous high for goals with 33. Along with his goal-scoring title, Megan was also named a First-Team All-Star. His success at the AHL level allowed to make his NHL debut with St. Louis on Dec. 22 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 27-year-old scored in the 5-2 Tampa Bay victory.Seventeen players made their Chicago Wolves debuts last weekend. Two goaltenders, four defensemen and 11 forwards all donned Wolves uniforms for the first time over the course of Chicago’s two-game road trip to Cedar Park, Texas.
- 200: Center Stefan Matteau’s next American Hockey League appearance will be Game No. 200 for the 23-year-old. The son of former Chicago Blackhawks forward Stephane Matteau, the younger Matteau is in his sixth season of professional hockey. Prior to signing with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 1, Matteau spent time in the Montreal and New Jersey organizations. Matteau was drafted 29th overall by the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 NHL Draft. In the proceeding season, Matteau made his professional debut on Jan. 19, 2013, against the New York Islanders. Six games later, Matteau netted his first professional goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 9. At the NHL level, Matteau has appeared in just 56 games.The Chicago Wolves have six 25-year-olds on their roster, which is the average age of the overall team.
- Chicago collected its first win of the season on Ontario’s first visit to Allstate Arena.
- Forward Teemu Pulkkinen recorded a goal and three assists to help power the Wolves weather the Reign.
- Forwards Tomas Hyka, Brandon Pirri, Paul Thompson and Alex Tuch also scored for the Wolves.
- Goaltender Max Lagace earned his first victory with a 34-save performance.
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- Wolves forward Teemu Pulkkinen leads the AHL as he averages 3.0 points per game. Pulkkinen entered Friday night’s action pacing the league with 9 points (in just three games), but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Daniel Sprong recorded 4 points (3G, A) and Lehigh Valley’s Danick Martel scored 3 points (2G, A). Now they share the AHL lead with 10 points, though they’ve played five and six games this season, respectively.
- Tucson is the only AHL team to have played just two games this season while Chicago joins the Cleveland Monsters as the only teams who’ve played three games. For the Wolves, tonight’s game starts a five-games-in-eight-days stretch. The Roadrunners, meanwhile, face five games in eight days.