Saturday, Nov. 11 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena
The Chicago Wolves will face their former self tonight as seven players from the 2016-17 Central Division champion Wolves squad are listed on the San Antonio Rampage roster. Former captain Chris Butler, top goal-scoring rookie Samuel Blais, forwards Andrew Agozzino, Adam Musil and Tage Thompson, defenseman Jordan Schmaltz and goaltender Ville Husso all return to Allstate Arena for the first time since May 13 when the Wolves’ postseason run ended in the Central Division Finals against the eventual Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
Center Wade Megan, the American Hockey League’s reigning top goal-scorer, is without a goal through his first seven games of the 2017-18 campaign. Recording a career year last season — shattering all his previous benchmarks for points, goals and assists — Megan is looking to regain his Willie Marshall Award-winning form. Of Megan’s 33 tallies and 66 points from last season, four goals and seven points came against the San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage are a familiar organization for the 27-year-old as he spent his first three seasons as a professional with San Antonio. Through 115 games with the Rampage, Megan collected 20 goals and 11 assists for 31 points.
The Chicago Wolves opened the 2017-18 season by scoring 15 goals in the club’s first three games. However, since the team’s first victory of the season — Oct. 14 — the team has scored three or less goals in each of its games and has only needed two goals in each of its last three wins. On Wednesday, the club’s goal-per-game production hit a season low as the Wolves were shut out by the Milwaukee Admirals 3-0 in a school-day contest at UWM Panther Arena. The Wolves are on the hunt to break their 60:03 scoreless streak. With three seconds on the clock, T.J. Tynan collected an empty-net marker on Nov. 3 when the Wolves shut out the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-0.
Never judge a book by its cover and don’t judge the Chicago Wolves by their record through the first 10 games of the season. The Wolves are below .500 just 10 games into the 2017-18 season, but a quick trip through the archives suggests do not count Chicago out just 10 games in. The Wolves began 2004- 05 (4-5-1-0), 2009-10 (3-6-0-1), 2011-12 (3-5-0-2) and 2013-14 (4-5-0-1) with less-than-stellar records and went on to win their division title. In 2004-05, the team went on to compete in the Calder Cup Final. Last season, the Wolves began with a 5-4-0-1 record — not terrible but not great — and won the Central Division title.
By the Numbers:
- 5: Of the top seven scorers for the Chicago Wolves during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, five are now on the San Antonio Rampage’s roster: Samuel Blais (4G, 4A), Andrew Agozzino (3G, 3A), Chris Butler (1G, 5A), Adam Musil (3G, 2A) and Jordan Schmaltz (1G, 4A). Through the first 11 games for San Antonio this season, those players have combined for 39 of the club’s 114 points — more than a third of the Rampage’s scoring.
- 11: Left wing Andrew Agozzino is the San Antonio Rampage’s second-best scorer with a point- per-game average through 11 contests (5G, 6A). If he were to keep up this pace, the 26-year- old would be well on his way to setting new career benchmarks for himself. In four out of his five previous seasons, Agozzino has hit the 30-point mark, including last season when he skated for the Chicago Wolves and quietly amassed 54 points (18G, 36A) to finish third in team scoring behind the American Hockey League’s top scorer, Kenny Agostino, and the league’s top goal-getter, Wade Megan. Agozzino also collected six points (3G, 3A) through 10 Calder Cup Playoff games with Chicagoonally, seven of the dozen games were decided by just one goal — including one of the shutouts— and three of those contests needed extra time for a winner to emerge.
- 15: Fifteen of the 27 players that suited up for the Chicago Wolves in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs are listed on rosters for tonight’s teams. Eight of them continue to play for the Wolves — Ivan Barbashev, Bryce Gervais, Petteri Lindbohm, Mackenzie MacEachern, Wade Megan, Brett Sterling, Scooter Vaughan and Jake Walman — while seven are skating for the Rampage — Andrew Agozzino, Samuel Blais, Chris Butler, Ville Husso, Adam Musil, Jordan Schmaltz and Tage Thompson.three of those contests needed extra time for a winner to emerge.
- 16: The Chicago Wolves have failed to cash in on their last 16 power-play opportunities dating back to the second period of a 5-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Oct. 27. Once an American Hockey League top-five power-play unit, Chicago has flatlined and continues to slide in the standings. The Wolves come into tonight’s contest against the San Antonio Rampage with the No. 11 power play in the league and a 17.6 percent success rate.merge.
- 100: When the Chicago Wolves and San Antonio Rampage meet in the finale of the2017- 18 four-game season series on March 6, the clubs compete in their 100th head- to-head contest. Through the first 96 games, the Wolves lead the series with a 58-30-4-1-2 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) record. During the first two seasons of competition — 2002-03 and 2003-04 — the teams met 10 times. Since the 2011-12 season, the Wolves and Rampage have only met a total of four times each year. Last season marked the first year the Wolves earned a clean sweep of the series as they won all four games in regulation. One of those victories — Oct. 23 at AT&T Center — was now-Rampage goaltender Ville Husso’s first American Hockey League victory. He made 29 saves for the win.
- The Admirals sailed to victory over the Wolves with three first-period goals.
- Chicago’s best scoring chance came with 1:31 left in the game when defenseman Jason Garrison blasted a point shot that Paul Thompson tipped in but the goal was waved off for a high stick.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 34 saves in the loss.
- The Wolves shut out the Griffins for the first time since Jan. 29, 2010, for the club’s first road victory of the season.
- Michigan native Mackenzie MacEachern’s first-period goal served as the game-winner while perennial 40-point scorer T.J. Tynan collected his first goal on the season with an empty-net marker late in the third period.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo posted 33 saves for his first victory with the Wolves.