Welcome to Wolves Roundup, a weekly report of highlights, notes and transactions from the Chicago Wolves’ previous week of competition during the 2017-18 season.
Don’t Tread on Me
The Chicago Wolves’ next four games will feature Texas-based opponents and the Wolves will travel to the Lone Star State for three of those four. The task will prove tall as the Wolves are still searching for their first win of the season against both of this week’s opponents: the San Antonio Rampage (0-2-0-0) and Texas Stars (0-1-2-0).
On Tuesday, the Wolves host the Stars in Chicago’s final School-Day Game of the season. The contest is also Texas’ second of three visits to Allstate Arena this year. While the Wolves own a stellar 18-7-1-0 record on home ice, the Stars took their first game this season at Allstate on Nov. 21 in overtime when Jason Dickinson scored 21 seconds into the 3-on-3 extra frame.
Prior to that Nov. 21 contest, Chicago and Texas faced off on Oct. 6-7 at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, in the Wolves’ first two games of the season. The Stars stole both contests by a score of 6-5 — once in regulation and once in overtime. The Chicago netminder of record in the Oct. 7 OT loss was Oscar Dansk. He made 30 saves in his Wolves debut and it was his only contest before being recalled by the Vegas Golden Knights and suffering an injury that sidelined him from Oct. 30 to Feb. 15. Since his return to health and the Wolves, Dansk is 3-0-0 with a .918 save percentage and 2.67 goals-against average. Chicago returns to Cedar Park on March 3.
The Wolves and Rampage battled less than two weeks ago at Allstate Arena. The Feb. 17 game marked San Antonio’s second and final this season at the venue. Just as they did in their previous game on Nov. 11, the Rampage won the game with a 2-1 score. With only two games left in the four-game season series, the Wolves need to take both contests at AT&T Center in order to tie the series. If they do, it’ll be the fourth season series tie between the clubs in the last five campaigns. If not, it will mark the first time the Wolves have lost a season series to San Antonio since 2011-12.
The 26-year-old racked up six points through three games last week. Bennett recorded two three-point performances — Wednesday against Grand Rapids and Sunday versus Manitoba — in Wolves wins. His two goals and four assists give him 33 points (8G, 25A) on the season to put the California native in the No. 5 spot in team scoring. Additionally, he logged a +2 plus/minus rating and nine shots on goal.
On Sunday, defenseman Zac Leslie netted his first goal as a Chicago Wolves player. The late third-period goal snapped a tie and stood as the game-winner in Chicago’s 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Monsters. The contest was just Leslie’s third since being loaned to the Wolves on Feb. 5 by the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights acquired Leslie in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
Acquired by Vegas (NHL) earlier this month via trade with Los Angeles, Leslie was the Chicago Wolves’ most productive player on the blue line last week. He averaged a point per game with one goal and two assists. In Sunday’s win over the Central Division-leading Moose, Leslie collected an insurance goal and an assist on the Beau Bennett goal that would stand as the game-winner
Last week was one of Pulkkinen’s most productive weeks of the season. The 26-year-old registered four points, which included two goals and one assist in Sunday’s 5-2 victory against Manitoba. In all, he totaled four points (2G, 2A) through three games and logged 10 shots on goal. On Wednesday, the Finn appeared in his 300th pro game against Grand Rapids, his first AHL team.
- The Wolves upended the Moose for the second time this season and the first at Bell MTS Place.
- Forwards Beau Bennett (G, 2A) and Teemu Pulkkinen (2G, A) each recorded three-point efforts while T.J. Tynan netted his league-leading fourth short-handed goal.
- Defenseman Zac Leslie accounted for the fifth goal, his second since being acquired by the Wolves.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 36 saves for the win.
- Chicago suffered its first shutout setback against Manitoba in nine years.
- Wolves goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 37 shots, including 19 of 21 in the second period.
- Moose netminder Eric Comrie made 33 saves in the shutout win.
- Forwards Francis Beauvillier and Cam Maclise scored for Manitoba.
- The Wolves won their fourth consecutive game over the Griffins to take the season series for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
- Rookie Keegan Kolesar netted his first two AHL goals while Chicago’s leading scorer, veteran Brandon Pirri, also collected a pair of goals to reach 20 on the season.
- Forward Beau Bennett accounted for the Wolves’ fifth goal as they converted their first three power plays.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk made 39 saves to set a new season-high for team netminders and earn his third victory in as many starts.
|Tuesday, Feb. 27||vs. Texas||Allstate Arena||11 a.m.|
|Friday, March 2||at San Antonio||AT&T Center||7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday, March 3||at Texas||H-E-B Center||7 p.m.|
|Tuesday, March 6||at San Antonio||AT&T Center||7 p.m.|