Saturday, Jan. 20 | 7:00 p.m. | CW50 | Facebook Live

HE’S BACK

Bakersfield forward Ty Rattie returns to Allstate Arena tonight for the first time since May 5, 2017, when he skated in his final game in the venue wearing a Chicago Wolves sweater. When Rattie first met his former team on Jan. 12 at Rabobank Arena, the 24-year-old registered two goals for the Bakersfield Condors. However, Chicago was able to overcome Rattie & Co. for a 4-3 victory in the first meeting between the two clubs since the Condors joined the AHL in 2015. Prior to joining the Edmonton Oilers organization last summer, Rattie skated exclusively with the Wolves at the AHL level. In that time, he piled up 141 points (71G, 70A) to land in the No. 18 spot on the franchise scoring list.

PACIFIC RISING

Since the creation of the Pacific Division in 2015, the Chicago Wolves have produced a 14-10-3-0 record against the teams in the division. This season is Chicago’s busiest against the Pacific with 20 games on the docket and January boasts the most Wolves versus Pacific Division matchups with six contests. After Saturday night, the Wolves will close the month with a pair of games against the Tucson Roadrunners in Arizona. In their first 11 games against the Pacific, the Wolves own a 4-5-2-0 record and have been outscored 33-32. Eight games have been decided by a one-goal margin — and three of those needed extra time to decide a victor.

COMFORTS OF HOME

The Wolves return home to Allstate Arena after a four-game road trip that included the team’s first trip to California in 18 seasons. The roadie was none too friendly to the Wolves as they procured a 1-3-0-0 record with the exclamation point coming on Wednesday with just their second regulation loss to the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena. At Allstate Arena this season, the Wolves have a hearty 12-6-1-0 record that includes seven of the 12 wins in their franchise-tying 14-game point streak from Dec. 9 to Jan. 6.

ROOKIE REPORT

This season, the Chicago Wolves have only six rookie skaters on their roster. That number appears light compared to the 2016-17 campaign when the Wolves carried 10. Last season’s first-year class was a large factor in the team’s success — the rookies accounted for 21.1 percent of Chicago’s points as well as 25.6 percent of the team’s goals. Rookies Samuel Blais and Vince Dunn — the team’s top two first- years — combined for 88 points. Blais ranked second among AHL rookies with 26 goals and finished seven goals behind the league’s leading goal-getter, teammate Wade Megan. Dunn led Wolves rookies with 45 points and 32 assists. He also led all AHL rookie blueliners in points. This season’s class isn’t quite up to that level as they’ve totaled just 33 points through Chicago’s first 41 contests. They’ve accounted for 10.1 percent of the team’s points and 3.3 percent of the goals. Eighty-four individual first-year players in the AHL also own the same amount (4) or more goals than the Wolves rookies.

By the Numbers:

  • 1: Forward Teemu Pulkkinen missed his first game of the season on Wednesday as the 25-year- old Finn was feeling under the weather. The Chicago Wolves were unable to earn the W without him on the ice. The American Hockey League’s leading goal-scorer in 2014-15 — one ahead of current teammate Paul Thompson — began the season by registering nine points (2G, 7A) in three games. After a four-point performance against the Ontario Reign in Chicago’s home opener on Oct. 14, Pulkkinen cooled off but continued to pace in the team in points. He shares the team’s point-scoring lead with Brandon Pirri, who owns 15 goals to Pulkkinen’s 11.
  • 300: Center Wade Megan’s next game will mark his 300th American Hockey League contest. Since turning pro in 2012, the New York native has appeared in 324 professional games across three leagues. Selected by the Florida Panthers in the fifth round, 138th overall, of the 2009 NHL Draft, Megan began his career with the San Antonio Rampage before joining the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones and skating in 21 games with them split across two seasons (2013-15). Last season, Megan made his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 22 and netted his first goal in the same contest. He has gone on to skate in three more contests with St. Louis, including one this season.
  • 350: With two goals in Wednesday’s game, veteran Brett Sterling logged his 350th career point wearing a Chicago Wolves sweater. Across seven seasons with Chicago, the 33-year-old has burnt a hole in the record book and racked up numerous accolades. Most recently, Sterling passed former teammate Jason Krog for the No. 4 spot on the Wolves franchise scoring list. Now he is just 18 points shy of passing another former teammate, Darren Haydar, for the No. 3 spot. With 13 points (10G, 3A) already to his credit, Sterling is on pace for a 32-point season and that would leave him one point better than Haydar for the No. 3 spot.
  • 444: In other Brett Sterling news, he bumped former teammate Derek MacKenzie from the No. 10 spot on the Chicago Wolves franchise penalty minutes list. Sterling has logged 444 penalty minutes while donning a Wolves sweater. Earlier this season, the California native also passed MacKenzie for sole possession of the No. 3 spot on the franchise games played list. Through Wednesday’s contest, Sterling has appeared in 24 games during the 2017-18 campaign for a grand total of 387 Wolves games spanning seven seasons.
  • 699: In more Brett Sterling milestone news, the veteran forward is closing in on his 700th professional contest as his next game will be No. 699. The vast majority of the first 699 games — 525 contests — were played in the American Hockey League. A standout at Colorado College and for the United States on the international stage, Sterling was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fifth round, 145th overall, of the 2003 NHL Draft. Four years later in 2007, Sterling made his NHL debut with the Thrashers and went on to skate in 29 more NHL contests split between Atlanta, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. For three seasons (2013-16), he detoured to Europe where spent time in the Swedish Hockey League and the Austrian League. He helped EC Salzburg win back- to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 before returning to the States and the Wolves.

Game Review

Wednesday, Jan. 17 (at) Iowa 5, Chicago 2

  • The Wolves fell to the Wild for just the second time in regulation at Wells Fargo Arena since the teams began competing during the 2013-14 campaign.
  • Veteran forward Brett Sterling netted both Chicago goals to give him 350 career points while wearing a Wolves sweater.
  • Goaltender Max Lagace (9 saves) left the game near the end of the second period and Kasimir Kaskisuo (8 saves) replaced him and picked up the loss.

Saturday, Jan. 13 (at) Ontario 4, Chicago 2

  • Chicago fell to Ontario to finish its first California road trip in 18 seasons with a 1-2-0-0 record.
  • Forwards Ivan Barbashev and Tomas Hyka both scored to rally the Wolves from a 2-0 deficit in the second period.
  • In the third frame, Ontario netted two early goals and held the lead for the win.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 22 saves.