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BACK ON TRACK
The Chicago Wolves return to Wells Fargo Arena on the hunt for a road win. To win at Wells Fargo Arena would not be a stretch for the Wolves as the team owns a 17-2-2-1 record in the building since they began competing against the Iowa Wild in 2013. However, the Wild have been a burr in Chicago’s saddle lately as they foiled the Wolves 5-2 in their last visit on Jan. 17. During the 2016-17 campaign, Iowa was able to limit the Wolves’ franchise-record winning streak on opponent ice to 12 games. That streak began Feb. 7, 2014, and the Wild stymied it on Nov. 18, 2016, in Chicago’s first visit of the season to Wells Fargo Arena. The Wolves would go on to win their next three games at Wells Fargo, but the Wild broke up the earnest beginnings of another win streak with a 3-2 overtime victory on April 14, 2017, in the season series finale.
This season, the Chicago Wolves own an 8-9-5-2 record on the road. The eight wins span seven opponents: Bakersfield, Cleveland, Grand Rapids (2), Iowa, Milwaukee and Tucson. The only Central Division opponent the Wolves have yet to secure a win against on enemy ice is the division-leading Manitoba Moose. While the Wolves have managed to collect a victory against the Iowa Wild — the Wolves kicked off 2018 with a 2-1 victory at Wells Fargo Arena — they are looking to consistently continue their winning ways on the road. With just two regulation losses at Wells Fargo over the last four-plus seasons, it’s a great venue to get back on the path to an above .500 road record. The Wolves have yet to string together more than three straight wins on the road. The Wolves owned the league’s longest road winless streak for the majority of the season until Feb. 2 when the Hershey Bears compiled their ninth consecutive road loss to pass Chicago.
BEEFED UP BLUE LINE
In addition to adding Nolan Valleau, who signed a professional tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves on Jan. 31, the Vegas Golden Knights loaned 24-year-old blueliner Zac Leslie to the Wolves on Monday. The same day he was loaned to Chicago, the Golden Knights acquired the Ottawa native via trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Leslie gives the Wolves seven healthy defensemen as veteran Jason Garrison was recalled from loan by Vegas on Jan. 29 and Jake Walman was reassigned to the Binghamton Devils on Jan. 31. Additionally, Petteri Lindbohm had successful season-ending shoulder surgery on Jan. 6. Garrison (4-15—19) and Walman (2-11—13) are the No. 1 and 2 scoring blueliners for the Wolves. This season, Wolves defenders have provided a dollop of offense — just 13.6 percent of the goal scoring — which is down from the 2016-17 season when the D-corps provided almost a quarter the team’s offensive output.
By the Numbers:
- 3: On Feb. 2, for the first time in his professional career, forward Stefan Matteau registered a three-goal performance. The 23-year-old Chicago native’s hat trick helped the Chicago Wolves to a 4-1 victory against the Milwauke Admirals. Those goals also brought Matteau’s season output to 11 goals. Until his hat trick, Matteau heavily leaned toward scoring on the road. Now Matteau owns five goals at Allstate Arena and six on the road. With a goal on Jan. 27 against the Tucson Roadrunners and an assist in the Feb. 3 game against the Rockford IceHogs, Matteau is also touting a three-game point streak (4-1—5) — his longest of the season. Matteau’s father, Stephane, and mother were in the stands for last weekend’s games — the first time the pair have attended games this season.
- 4: The Chicago Wolves enter Friday’s game looking to net at least one power-play goal for the fourth consecutive game. Coming off of their longest power-play goal drought — five games from Jan. 13-26 — the Wolves have netted two man-advantage markers in three consecutive games dating back to Jan. 27 against the Tucson Roadrunners in Arizona. Overall, Chicago has 11 multiple power-play goal games to its credit, including a season-high three-goal performance on Oct. 14 in the home opener against the Ontario Reign. The Wolves have yet to net multiple power-play goals in a game this season against the Iowa Wild, but they own a pair of PPGs and 10.5 percent conversion rate on the man advantage in the season series. The Wild have been the more fruitful team on the man advantage during this series and own five power-play goals for a 26.3 percent conversion rate. Iowa has both three- and two-goal man-advantage performances against the Wolves this season
- 6: Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made his season-high sixth consecutive start on Feb. 3 against the Rockford IceHogs. Previously, he and Max Lagace shared the season-high with five straight starts between the pipes for the Chicago Wolves. If Kaskisuo makes a seventh consecutive start Friday night, he will match last season’s high set by Jordan Binnington from Feb. 26 to March 17, 2017. Binnington — now between the pipes for the Providence Bruins and ranked fourth in the league with a 2.09 goals-against average — also owns the Wolves franchise record for consecutive starts with 18 from Jan. 17 to March 1, 2015
- 7: The Chicago Wolves pushed their season-high for goals in a game to seven during the Illinois Lottery Cup victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Feb. 3. Previously, the Wolves had recorded six-goal performances on four occasions — the most recent being Jan. 20 in the Bakersfield Condors’ Allstate Arena debut. That 6-1 win also established Chicago’s largest margin of victory this season. Prior to Jan. 20, the Wolves registered six-goal efforts on Dec. 30 against Rockford, Dec. 16 against the Iowa Wild and Dec. 15 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
- 20: When veteran left wing Brett Sterling posted one goal and two assists in the Chicago Wolves’ 7-4 win over Rockford on Saturday night, it marked the first time this year and 30th time in his career that Sterling scored at least three points in an AHL regular-season game. Sterling owns 23 three-point games, six four-point efforts and one five-point performance since turning pro and joining the Wolves for the 2006-07 season. His five-point game came Nov. 4, 2006, when the Wolves won 10-5 at Peoria.
- The Wolves roasted the IceHogs for their fourth Illinois Lottery Cup victory of the season.
- Seven players scored: forwards Bryce Gervais, Mackenzie MacEachern, Teemu Pulkkinen, Brett Sterling and Tyler Wong as well as defensemen Jake Bischoff and Kevin Lough.
- Forward T.J. Tynan collected three assists to make him the Wolves’ leading point-getter with 38 (9G, 29A).
- Veteran Sterling also registered three points (G, 2A) to reach 601 professional career points.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 21 saves for his third consecutive victory.
- 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.
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Jan. 17, 2018
|11/26/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 4-6|
|12/16/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 6-3|
|01/01/2018||Wells Fargo Arena||W, 2-1|
|01/17/2018||Wells Fargo Arena||L, 2-5|
|02/09/2018||Wells Fargo Arena|
|04/06/2018||Wells Fargo Arena|