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On Wednesday, the Chicago Wolves’ franchise-record-tying point streak came to an end at the wings of the San Diego Gulls. Over the course of Chicago’s 14-game run, the team accrued a 12-0-1-1 record — including seven consecutive wins on home ice — and outscored opponents 52-30. The three goaltenders — Max Lagace, Michael Leighton and Kasimir Kaskisuo — combined for a 0.927 save percentage and 2.04 goals-against average through 815 minutes between the pipes. The streak also brought two shutouts and elevated Chicago from seventh to second in the Central Division rankings.
With three games still left in this four-game road trip, the Chicago Wolves look for the squad to keep firing on all cylinders. Three players — Beau Bennett, Brandon Pirri and Paul Thompson — have found a scoring balance that has allowed them to earn exactly half of their points on the road. Pirri, the team’s leading scorer with 30 points, owns seven goals and eight assists for 15 road points. Bennett and Thompson both clock in with 22 points and 11 of those accrued on the road. The 26-yearold Bennett owns a goal and 10 helpers away from Allstate Arena while captain Thompson boasts four goals and seven assists.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis Blues loaned forward Ivan Barbashev and defenseman Vince Dunn to the Chicago Wolves. Barbshev joins the Wolves for the first time in a month (recalled by STL Dec. 10) while Dunn is on the roster for the first time this season.
After his initial loan on Oct. 22, Barbashev skated in 18 games and collected eight points (4G, 4A) for the Wolves. The 22-year-old Barbashev owns 33 goals and 40 assists for 72 points through 129 AHL regular-season games. Additionally, Barbashev made his Calder Cup Playoffs debut last season when he flew to Grand Rapids following the end of the Blues’ Stanley Cup Playoff run. He skated in two games for the Wolves and was held scoreless.
The Ontario native made his NHL debut on Oct. 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and netted his first NHL goal eight days later against the Florida Panthers. During the 2016-17 campaign — his first professional season — Dunn lead the Wolves’ rookie class and defensive corps with 13 goals and 32 assists for 45 points. He and Devon Toews led all AHL rookie blueliners in points — Dunn owned the tiebreaker for the top spot with 13 goals to Toews’ five. The 21-year-old was Chicago’s top-scoring blueliner by a 15-point margin. The youngest player on the roster for the majority of the season, Dunn skated in 10 postseason games and collected six points (G, 5A
By the Numbers:
- .580: Since the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the Chicago Wolves own a 13-9-3-0 record and .580 win percentage against Pacific Division teams. This season, the Wolves will play a record 20 games against the Pacific. Through the first nine contests, Chicago owns a 3-4-2-0 record with victories against the Ontario Reign (Oct. 14), San Diego Gulls (Dec. 6) and Tucson Roadrunners (Oct. 22). The Wolves have two games remaining in their first West Coast trip in 18 seasons.
- 4: The Chicago Wolves will face four former players in tonight’s matchup with the Bakersfield Condors: Brad Malone, Zach O’Brien, Eddie Pasquale and Ty Rattie. Leading the Condors in scoring and representing the team at the AHL All-Star Classic later this month, Rattie lives on in the annals of Wolves history. He is No. 18 in franchise scoring with 141 points (71G, 70A) through 215 games with Chicago. Rattie spent four seasons (2013-17) with the Wolves before heading to the Edmonton Oilers organization. Goaltender Pasquale (2010-11) and forwards Malone (2016-17) and O’Brien (2015-16) each spent a season with the Wolves.
- 6: On Thursday, the American Hockey League named forward Tomas Hyka to the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic roster, which brought the number of current and former all-stars on the Chicago Wolves roster to six players. Veterans Brett Sterling (2007, 2008, 2010) and Brandon Pirri (2012, 2014, 2018) each boast three selections. Pirri was named to this year’s roster but will not play due to family considerations. Teemu Pulkkinen (Grand Rapids) and Paul Thompson (Albany) represented their respective teams in 2015 while T.J. Tynan (Lake Erie) earned all-star honors in 2016.
- 17: On Wednesday, captain Paul Thompson totaled 17 minutes in penalties against the San Diego Gulls. Those 17 minutes are the captain’s highest total of the season and Thompson’s most minutes in a game since 2015-16 when he twice logged double digits for the Albany Devils against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers — Nov. 25, 2015 (14 PIM) and April 16, 2016 (15 PIM). This season, Thompson leads the Wolves with 56 minutes in penalties.
- 18: Two players — other than the four that have skated in every game this season — have appeared in all 18 Chicago Wolves victories this season: the 23-year-old Mackenzie MacEachern and 22-year-old Tobias Lindberg. The Wolves also are undefeated in regulation when either player scores. When Lindberg gets on the scoresheet, the Wolves are 8-0-1-1 and 4-0-1-1 when MacEachern earns a point.
- 425:23: Until the 9:58 mark of the second period in Wednesday’s contest, the Chicago Wolves had not trailed in regulation or overtime for 425 minutes and 23 seconds. That time amounts to the equivalent of more than seven 60-minute games. That total stretched all the way back to the second period of Chicago’s overtime victory against the Milwaukee Admirals on Dec. 27 when defenseman Jake Walman sealed the win just 1:05 into the 3-on-3 overtime frame.
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GOLDEN STATE GAMES
When the Wolves opened up shop in 1994 as part of the International Hockey League, trips to California were commonplace. The Wolves made their first visit to San Diego in 1994-95, their first trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1995-96 and their first excursion to Long Beach in 1996-97. The Wolves fashioned a 12-12- 0-2 record in their Golden State games — capped by a four-game sweep of Long Beach in the 2000 Western Conference Semifinal.
When the IHL went dark and the Wolves moved to the AHL in 2001, there was a long stretch between appearances in California — 6,461 days to be exact from the May 3, 2000, series clincher at Long Beach to Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at the San Diego Gulls’ Valley View Casino Center.