Saturday, Jan. 13 | 8:00 p.m. | Citizens Bank Arena
The Chicago Wolves and Ontario Reign began their season series on a Saturday and will end their season series on a Saturday. The Wolves and Reign first met on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Chicago’s home opener at Allstate Arena. The Wolves prevailed in that game, 5-2, and piled up a season-high three power-play tallies in their first win of the season.
THE FINAL LEG
The Chicago Wolves wrap up their first California road trip in 18 seasons against the Ontario Reign — fitting as the Reign were the first of four new opponents to visit Allstate Arena this season. This trip began with games against the Bakersfield Condors and the San Diego Gulls. The Gulls made their Allstate debut on Dec. 6 while the Condors land in Rosemont for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 20.
The Pacific Division has been a thorn in the Chicago Wolves’ side this season. With four new opponents — the Bakersfield Condors, Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls and Tucson Roadrunners — the Wolves will play Pacific Division contenders 20 times in 2017-18. Through the first 10 contests, the Wolves own a 4-4-2-0 record and a 30-29 scoring edge. Eight games have been decided by a one-goal margin and three of those needed overtime to name a victor. January will be Chicago’s most Pacific-heavy month with six games. Tonight’s game wraps up their first trip to California in 18 seasons.
Forward Stefan Matteau has scored five of his six goals this season in road games. His two mostrecent tallies were recorded on Jan. 10 and 12 during this trip. On Wednesday against the San Diego Gulls, Matteau scored in the third period in an effort to spark a Wolves’ rally. However, the team could not finish and their 14-game point streak came to a halt. On Friday, Matteau again scored in the third period and captain Paul Thompson followed that up with a goal just 22 seconds later to pull the Wolves ahead of the Bakersfield Condors for the 4-3 win. His previous three road goals all were scored against the Manitoba Moose in a two-game set north of the border in mid-November.
FLAMIN’ HOT HYKA
Since Jan. 1, forward Tomas Hyka has been Chicago’s hottest player. Through the first six games of the new year, the 24-year-old owns a team-best eight points (G, 7A). Hyka has a four-point lead on Chicago’s next-best players in the same time period. Jason Garrison (4A), Tobias Lindberg (2G, 2A), Brandon Pirri (3G, A) and T.J. Tynan (G, 3A) are the Wolves next-most productive players with four points apiece. Hyka was also Chicago’s top scorer during its recent 14-game point streak with 15 points through 12 games for an average of 1.25 points per game.
By the Numbers:
- 2: Friday in Bakersfield, two of Chicago’s four goals required a review. Chicago’s first tally — at 12:11 of the first period — was a rebound by Teemu Pulkkinenthat was signaled as no-goal on the ice. However, upon review, the officiating crew overturned the original call. In the third period, Stefan Matteau’s rebound goal at 15:02 that sparked Chicago’s rally also was reviewed. In that instance, though, the tally initially was signaled good and then reviewed for accuracy.
- 3: When the Chicago Wolves faced the Ontario Reign on Oct. 14, they set a season game-high with three power-play goals. Forwards Tomas Hyka, Teemu Pulkkinen and Alex Tuch — now skating with the Vegas Golden Knights — each netted a man-advantage marker. Additionally, the Wolves rattled off four consecutive goals before the Reign got on the board. The W moved the Wolves to 15-6-2-1 all-time in home-opener games.
- 4: Last time the Chicago Wolves and Ontario Reign met, forward Teemu Pulkkinen was good for four points. The Oct. 14 game against Ontario capped a three-game stretch in which Pulkkinen collected nine points (2G, 7A) to lead the league in scoring to begin the season. Against Ontario, Pulkkinen nabbed a goal and three assists to help the Wolves to a 5-2 home-opener victory. Pulkkinen owns 14 points (5G, 9A) against Pacific Division teams this season.
- 23: The Chicago Wolves’ 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors on Friday night pushed their season total of one-goal games to 23 — the most in the league. Ten of those contests needed extra time to decide a victor and Chicago earned the W three times. The Wolves twice have competed in a shootout this season and own a 0-2 record.
- 34: In just his second start wearing a Chicago Wolves sweater, goaltender Max Lagace made a personal season-high 34 saves en route to the Wolves’ 5-2 victory over the Ontario Reign on Oct. 14 at Allstate Arena. The 25-year-old — he celebrated his birthday Friday — has been a workhorse for Chicago this season. Since rejoining the Wolves on Dec. 10, the Quebec native has appeared in 12 of 14 games. In that span, Lagace owns a 9-1-2 record with a 2.41 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
- 1006: It only took defenseman Vince Dunn 1,006 seconds — or 16 minutes and 46 seconds — to score his first goal with the Chicago Wolves this season. The 21-year-old is skating with Chicago on a conditioning stint while the St. Louis Blues are enjoying a bye week in National Hockey League action. In his rookie NHL campaign, the Mississauga, Ontario, native owns three goals and four assists for seven points through 39 games. It took Dunn 1,633 seconds to log his first AHL penalty this season — a slashing minor. He led Chicago with 71 penalty minutes during the 2016-17 campaign
Friday, Jan. 12 Chicago 4, (at) Bakersfield 3
- The Wolves got back in the win column with their first victory in California since May 2000.
- Forwards Stefan Matteau and Paul Thompson scored 22 seconds apart in the third period to rally the Wolves in the final five minutes
- Defenseman Vince Dunn — on conditioning loan from St. Louis — netted a goal in his 2017-18 Wolves debut and veteran forward Teemu Pulkkinen also scored.
- Goaltender Max Lagace made 30 saves for his 11th win of the season
Wednesday, Jan. 10 (at) San Diego 2, Chicago 1
- Chicago ended its franchise-best 14-game point streak in San Diego.
- Forward Stefan Matteau scored his fourth road goal of the season to help the Wolves spark a third-period rally.
- Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 27 shots during his first regulation loss in 11 starts.
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|10/14/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 5-2|
|01/13/2018||Citizens Business Bank Arena|
- Brett Sterling, Beau Bennett and Scooter Vaughan — and each of them has had the chance to play one game on the team’s first visit to California since joining the AHL in 2001. For the 33-year-old Sterling, who ranks as the team’s No. 2 all-time goal-scorer with 186 and as the AHL’s No. 47 all-time goal-scorer with 243, Wednesday’s game at San Diego represented his first chance to play in the Golden State as a professional. He fired one shot in the 2-1 loss. Bennett, meanwhile, holds the record for being the highest-drafted California native in NHL Entry Draft history. He was selected 20th overall by Pittsburgh in the 2010 draft. Bennett also launched one shot in Wednesday’s game at San Diego. Vaughan hadn’t seen action (due to injury) since Dec. 21 before he got the nod Friday night in Bakersfield. Vaughan took two shots in the 4-3 win.