Saturday, Feb. 18, 2018 | 3:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena | CW50 | Facebook
On Saturday night, the Chicago Wolves took their first “L” at Allstate Arena in over two months. Prior to their 2-1 loss to the San Antonio Rampage, the Wolves had not lost at Allstate Arena since Dec. 2 when they fell 5-2 to Jared Coreau and the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Cleveland Monsters visit Allstate for the second time in four days. During the Wolves’ franchise-record win streak, they beat Cleveland three times and now own a four-game win streak against their Ohio foes.
The Chicago Wolves reside in the No. 4 spot in the Central Division after sitting in the No. 2 spot for quite some time. The change in scenery comes as the Grand Rapids Griffins and Iowa Wild have been red hot. The Wild own a three-game win streak while the Griffins are 9-0-0-2 in their last 11 games, which includes back-to-back shutouts against the Central Division-leading Manitoba Moose. Grand Rapids outscored Manitoba 6-0 on those two contests. The Wolves can do themselves a large favor by accruing as many divisional points as possible, especially against the last-place Cleveland Monsters.
BACK ON TRACK
On Saturday night, only one of the Chicago Wolves’ top 10 healthy scorers earned a point in the 2-1 loss. Center Wade Megan earned an assist on defenseman Griffin Reinhart’s goal, the Wolves’ only in the contest. Because those top 10 healthy scorers are responsible for more than 63 percent of the team’s offensive output, the Wolves will need T.J. Tynan (10-31—41), Teemu Pulkkinen (13-21 —34), Tomas Hyka (13-19—32), Paul Thompson (14-12—26), Beau Bennett (5-20—25), Jason Garrison (4- 17—21), Tobias Lindberg (8-10—18), Brett Sterling (11-6—17) and Stefan Matteau (11-6—17) to get back on the scoresheet. The Wolves have been held to one goal or less in back-to-back games just once this season: Nov. 8 at Milwaukee and Nov. 11 vs. San Antonio.
A KNIGHT’S TALE
The Chicago Wolves haven’t been the only team setting records this season. The Wolves’ National Hockey League affiliate, the Vegas Golden Knights, made history of their own Saturday night as the team earned their 22nd home win at T-Mobile Arena. The 6-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens tied the team with the 1979-80 Hartford Whalers for most wins on home ice in a team’s inaugural season.
THE LONG HAUL
On Friday, the Chicago Wolves signed veteran Brett Sterling to a standard player’s contract for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign. The 33-year-old is in his seventh season with the Wolves and 12th overall in professional hockey. Sterling is forever cemented in Wolves history as he is in the top 10 of every major scoring category, including second in franchise goal scoring and fourth in overall scoring.
By the Numbers:
- 3: On Thursday, the Chicago Wolves were 3-for-5 on the power play as Tomas Hyka, Teemu Pulkkinen and T.J. Tynan all scored on the man advantage. Those three goals matched the club’s season-high for power-play goals in a game that they first set on Oct. 14 against the Ontario Reign in their home opener at Allstate Arena. Thursday’s power-play performance was the fourth in six contests that the Wolves netted multiple power-play tallies. Conversely, the Wolves also allowed three power-play goals that also matched a season-high. Chicago previously allowed the Iowa Wild three power-play goals on Dec. 16. Surprisingly, the Wolves own a 2-0-0-0 record when allowing an opponent three PPGs.
- 4: On Saturday night, the Chicago Wolves gave up just their fourth short-handed goal of the season. The first three were all scored by the Tucson Roadrunners so, with Reid Petryk’s second-period shortie, the San Antonio Rampage became the second team to score shorthanded against the Wolves. No team has scored more than once in a game short-handed against Chicago. However, T.J. Tynan netted two shorties on Dec. 16 against the Iowa Wild at Allstate Arena. Overall, the Wolves own eight short-handed tallies this season.
- 5: The Chicago Wolves enter Sunday’s game looking for their fifth consecutive victory over the Cleveland Monsters. The Wolves’ longest string of victories over the Monsters is seven games — a streak that spanned three seasons (2011-14) from March 17, 2012, to Dec. 27, 2013. Over the course of those seven games, the Wolves outscored the then-Lake Erie Monsters 24-9. Twice Chicago netted five goals and twice shut out the Monsters. Wolves goaltenders Jake Allen (Dec. 27, 2013) and Matt Climie (March 17, 2012) only needed 19 saves for their respective shutouts against Lake Erie.
- 7: The Chicago Wolves have outscored the Cleveland Monsters 17-10 through the first five games of their eight-contest season series. The Wolves are averaging 3.40 goals per game against the Monsters while Cleveland is averaging 2.00 per game. Two of the five games have been decided by a one-goal margin but the Wolves own the series’ only shutout. On Dec. 9, Michael Leighton made 24 saves en route to Chicago’s second shutout victory of the season and his AHL-leading 50th shutout.
- 13: All good things must come to an end and, on Saturday night the San Antonio Rampage halted the Chicago Wolves’ franchise-record home win streak at 13 consecutive games. Former Wolves Andrew Agozzino (G) and Samuel Blais (A) got on the scoresheet while Chicago alumnus Ville Husso made 30 saves en route to his first victory over his former team. Though Chicago’s home win streak came to an end, the squad blew by the previous franchise record and tacked on four more games. The longest home win streak prior to this one was nine games. The Wolves reached that twice — most recently from March 1-26, 2003.
- The Wolves’ franchise-record home win streak ended at 13 games with a loss to the Rampage.
- Defenseman Griffin Reinhart was Chicago’s lone scorer.
- Goaltender Ville Husso made 30 saves en route to victory over his former squad while former Wolves Andrew Agozzino and Samuel Blais teamed up for San Antonio’s first goal.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 20 shots in the loss.
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