Saturday, Feb. 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena | Facebook | CW50
UP FOR GRABS
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs are deadlocked with three Illinois Lottery Cup victories apiece. Chicago and Rockford have also managed to match each other win-for-win with each squad owning 39 victories since the competition’s inception in 2011. The 12- game season series that is decided by wins has been a closely contested affair through the first six games. The Wolves finally grabbed an overall 20-17 scoring edge on Dec. 30 when they defeated the IceHogs 6-2. The previous five games were all decided by a single goal and three of those contests needed overtime. The Wolves and IceHogs also own 54 points apiece overall, but the Wolves are ahead in the Central Division standings having played one fewer game.
The Chicago Wolves have won both of their previous games against the Rockford IceHogs at Allstate Arena. Chicago’s first victory over Rockford on Nov. 25 snapped an eight-game winless streak and the second on Dec. 30 was the 10th game in the team’s franchise-record matching 14-game point streak (12-0-1-1). That December contest was also the fifth game in Chicago’s current franchise-record home win streak. Saturday night, the Wolves look to push their record win stint to 12 games.
Kasimir Kaskisuo has done the lion’s share during the Chicago Wolves 11-game win streak at Allstate Arena. Kaskisuo backstopped the Wolves for seven of the 11 games. Through 418:48 of time between the pipes, the 24-year-old Finn posted a .946 save percentage and 1.29 goals-against average. He was in net when the streak began on Dec. 6 with a 3-1 victory against the San Diego Gulls. Kaskisuo made 15 saves as the Wolves held the Gulls to 16 shots on net, a season-low among Wolves opponents. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect was in net on Jan. 20 when Chicago matched the then-franchise record 10 games. He made 22 saves as the Wolves crunched the Bakersfield Condors 6-1 in the Condors’ first Allstate Arena appearance. He also has been in net throughout the Wolves’ current streak of 18 consecutive penalty kills. “Our guys take great pride in the penalty kill,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “They work hard and they sacrifice and we’ve had great goaltending during this stretch as well. Your goalie is always your best penalty-killer because there will be mistakes or the opposition is going to make some nice plays and we’re going to have to get a save.”
ON A ROLL
With a 19-save performance in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Admirals, Kasimir Kaskisuo matched Max Lagace for a season-high five consecutive starts. The 24-year-old has been impressive through five straight starts and six consecutive appearances — also a season-high for a Wolves netminder. During his five consecutive starts — a stretch that began on Jan. 20 against Bakersfield — Kaskisuo has accrued a 4-0-1 record with a .936 save percentage and 1.58 goals-against average.
By the Numbers:
- 6: The last time the Chicago Wolves faced the Rockford IceHogs, the Wolves netted six goals en route to a 6-2 Illinois Lottery Cup victory. That contest was also the 10th in Chicago’s franchise-record-tying 14-game point streak that ran from Dec. 9 to Jan. 6. It was the third of four times the Wolves have put a up a season-high six goals in a game. They first accomplished the feat in back-to-back games on Dec. 15 and 16 in identical 6-3 victories over the Grand Rapids Griffins and Iowa Wild, respectively. Most recently, the Wolves throttled the Bakersfield Condors 6-1 in the Condors’ Allstate Arena debut for Chicago’s largest margin of victory this season.
- 8: During their franchise-record home win streak, the Chicago Wolves have defeated eight different opponents, including all six of their Central Division adversaries. Chicago twice faced the Cleveland Monsters (Jan. 3, 21), Grand Rapids Griffins (Dec. 21, Jan. 6) and Milwaukee Admirals (Dec. 17, Feb. 2) at Allstate Arena. The Iowa Wild (Dec. 16), Manitoba Moose (Jan. 5) and Rockford IceHogs (Dec. 30) each have earned just one “L” at Allstate Arena during Chicago’s winning stint. On Jan. 5, the Wolves faced their tallest task — overcoming the then-league leading Moose. The team climbed that hill in spectacular fashion as the game included three-goal efforts from center Brandon Pirri and Manitoba’s Buddy Robinson. Forward Teemu Pulkkinen came through with his second overtime goal of the season for the victory. The Wolves collected victories over the Pacific Division’s Bakersfield Condors (Jan. 20) and the San Diego Gulls (Dec. 6) in each foe’s debut at Allstate Arena.
- 19: During their franchise record 11-game home win streak, 19 different skaters have combined for 48 goals for the Chicago Wolves. Of course, the usual suspects have done the majority of the scoring — Tomas Hyka, Brandon Pirri and T.J. Tynan each netting six goals — while some players have produced their first tallies of the 2017-18 campaign: forward Scooter Vaughan and defensemen Jake Bischoff, Chris Casto and Kevin Lough. Captain Paul Thompson has collected five goals while center Wade Megan and forward Stefan Matteau each own four goals and Beau Bennett has three. Veterans Brett Sterling and Teemu Pulkkinen each scored twice — one of Pulkkinen’s goals serving as the overtime winner on Jan. 5 against the then-top ranked Manitoba Moose. Ivan Barbashev (now with St. Louis), Jason Garrison (now with Vegas), Bryce Gervais, Tobias Lindberg, Mackenzie MacEachern and Tyler Wong also have found the scoresheet.
- 36: The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs did not face each other until Nov. 19. In that contest, goaltender C.J. Motte made a season-high 36 saves, but it was not enough as the Wolves fell 4-3 to the IceHogs in their first shootout of the season. That game was just the third time this season the Wolves went to extra time to decide an outcome. It was also the first of three extra-time losses at the tail end of Chicago’s eight-game winless streak. Three games later, Chicago would snap that streak with a 4-3 victory against Rockford on Nov. 25 at Allstate Arena.
- Chicago beat Milwaukee for its fourth victory in the 12-game season series.
- Forward Stefan Matteau’s three consecutive goals were his first professional hat trick.
- Captain Paul Thompson scored an empty-net tally for Chicago’s fourth goal.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 19 saves in his fifth consecutive start.
- The Wolves edged the Roadrunners to split the four-game season series.
- Forward Tobias Lindberg netted Chicago’s eighth short-handed goal of the season while Bryce Gervais scored his second goal of the year.
- Forwards T.J. Tynan and Stefan Matteau scored on a five-minute power play to break a 2-2 tie.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 25 shots in his fourth consecutive start.
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Dec. 30, 2017
|11/19/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||SOL, 3-4|
|11/25/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 4-3|
|12/01/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||OTL, 3-4|
|12/12/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||W, 2-1|
|12/22/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||OTL, 2-3|
|12/30/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 6-2|
|03/24/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center|
|04/13/2018||BMO Harris Bank Center|