Welcome to Wolves Roundup, a weekly report of highlights, notes and transactions from the Chicago Wolves’ previous week of competition during the 2017-18 season.
Wake Up, San Diego
Wednesday marks the first of two games between the Chicago Wolves and the San Diego Gulls as the Gulls migrate to Allstate Arena for the first time in almost 23 years. The Wolves last faced a team from San Diego in their inaugural season, 1994-95, when they played two games against a different franchise with the same namesake. The Wolves and those Gulls spilt the series 1-1-0 (W-L-SOL) in International Hockey League play. In Chicago’s 6-4 victory on Jan. 4, 1995, at the then-Rosemont Horizon, goaltender Wendell Young stopped 29 of 33 shots while Steve Maltais, the Wolves’ all-time leading scorer, was named the game’s second star and the late Tim Breslin scored the game-winning goal. Gene Ubriaco — now the Wolves director of hockey operations and senior advisor — was behind the bench as head coach for Chicago. The Wolves and Gulls look to create more history at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Chicago Wolves make their maiden voyage to Cleveland, Ohio, of the 2017-18 campaign this weekend for a pair of games against the Monsters. The contests will be the first of eight games between the two Central Division foes this season. Last season, the Cleveland Monsters were a thorn in Chicago’s side and took the season series with a 7-2-1-0 record. However, the Wolves finished first in the division while the Monsters were edged out of the final Central Division Calder Cup Playoff berth on the final day of the regular season when the Charlotte Checkers earned a point in an overtime loss to the Wolves. This year, Chicago and Cleveland are off to similar starts. Cleveland is dealing a five-game winless streak while the Wolves have earned just six points in their last dozen games.
On Sunday, the 27-year-old netted his first two goals of the season. While they were not enough to lift the Wolves over the Iowa Wild, it did give the snakebitten shooter some confidence. Last season when Megan led the league in goal scoring, he netted 26 of his 33 tallies after Thanksgiving.
The 26-year-old is still rolling as he earned two points through two games last weekend. While Pirri was held pointless for the fourth time this season on Saturday against the Grand Rapids Griffins, he collected a goal and an assist in Friday’s game against his former team, the Rockford IceHogs. That contest also marked his fourth multi-point effort of the season. The Toronto native has been one of Chicago’s most consistent players with 16 points through 15 contests.
The veteran left wing recorded two milestone points last weekend. On Friday, Sterling collected his 239th career American Hockey League goal to move into a tie with Geordie Robertson for the No. 48 spot on the AHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. On Saturday, Sterling continued his ascent up the Wolves franchise scoring list with his 342nd point — an assist — to tie his former teammate Jason Krog for the No. 4 spot. His next point will earn him sole possession and he’ll be chasing Darren Haydar for the No. 3 spot.
The recently turned 29-year old earned a goal and an assist through a pair of games over the weekend. Thompson was one of just eight Wolves to earn a point and one of five to earn multiple over the weekend. The New Hampshire native also recorded his first fighting major — just Chicago’s fifth of the season — on Saturday. Selected as captain by the Wolves coaching staff on Nov. 19, Thompson continues to exemplify the letter. “He’s very vocal on the ice and on the bench, which is great,” said head coach Rocky Thompson. “And he holds people accountable – including himself.” While the Wolves try to win more consistently, Thompson’s performance have helped the club keep games close – 13 of 21 contests have been decided by one goal.
- Grand Rapids scored three straight goals and never looked back en route to victory over Chicago.
- Forwards Beau Bennett and Paul Thompson scored for Chicago.
- With an assist, left wing Brett Sterling earned a point to tie former teammate Jason Krog for fourth all-time in franchise scoring with 342 points.
- Goaltender Michael Leighton was relieved just 5:48 into the contest allowing two goals on as many shots; through 54:12 of time in net, Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 17 of 20 shots for the loss
- The Wolves’ three-goal rally fell short as the IceHogs earned their second Illinois Lottery Cup win.
- Left wing Brett Sterling collected his 239th career American Hockey League goal to move into the No. 48 spot on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list.
- Forwards Brandon Pirri and Teemu Pulkkinen each recorded one goal and one assist.
- Goaltender Michael Leighton made 28 saves in the loss.
|Wednesday, Dec. 6||vs. San Diego||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.|
|Friday, Dec. 8||at Cleveland||Quicken Loans Arena||6 p.m.|
|Saturday, Dec. 9||at Cleveland||Quicken Loans Arena||12 p.m.|
|Tuesday, Dec. 12||at Rockford||BMO Harris Bank Center||7 p.m.|
|Friday, Dec. 15||vs. Iowa||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.|