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The Chicago Wolves come into Saturday’s game looking to win their second game in a row against the Texas Stars. It’s a do-or-die situation if the Wolves hope to tie the season series as they need victories in the final two games of this six-game season series. Chicago opened the season against Texas on Oct. 6 and 7 and the Wolves dropped both those games with identical 6-5 scores, so Saturday night marks their final chance to secure a road victory against the Stars. The Wolves have only won once at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, in the last five seasons; that win came on Feb. 18, 2017.
On Friday, Chicago Wolves goaltender Oscar Dansk recorded his first American Hockey League shutout with 28 saves against the San Antonio Rampage. The 24-year-old enjoyed his first pro North American shutout on Oct. 27 when he stopped 32 shots to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to victory against the Colorado Avalanche — which happens to be San Antonio’s NHL affiliate. In his two seasons (2015-17) playing for Rogle BK in the Swedish Hockey League, Dansk collected four shutouts.
MONKEY OFF THE BACK
On Tuesday, the Chicago Wolves hung on against the Texas Stars for their first shootout victory of the season. The Wolves led twice in the contest, but the Stars tied the game twice for overtime. In the five-minute 3-on-3 extra frame, Chicago controlled the majority of the play — so much so, the Wolves put five shots on net. That total is the team’s second-best total during overtime this season. Prior to Tuesday, the Wolves had competed in two shootouts and lost both. The first was on Nov. 19 against the Rockford IceHogs and the second was Dec. 29 against the Milwaukee Admirals. The Wolves are now 1-2 in shootouts.
THEN AND NOW
When the Chicago Wolves opened the season against the Texas Stars on Oct. 6, their roster was a little different — only 16 of the 28 players the Wolves began the season with are on the roster 56 games and five months later. While 12 of the forwards are the same, that Opening Night roster did not include mainstays Tobias Lindberg and Wade Megan. On the blue line, the Wolves began the year with eight defensemen and are carrying that many now. However, only three of the blueliners from the Opening Night roster are still on the roster and one of those skaters — Petteri Lindbohm — sustained a season-ending shoulder injury on Dec. 17. Jake Bischoff and Chris Casto are the healthy defenders on the roster from when the Wolves first faced the Stars in October. Blue-line heavyweights Jason Garrison and Griffin Reinhart were yet to be loaned to Chicago by the Vegas Golden Knights. Only one goaltender — Oscar Dansk — remains from the Oct. 6 Opening Night roster. His counterpart, Max Lagace, is with the Golden Knights while Kasimir Kaskisuo had yet to be loaned to the Wolves by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
By the Numbers:
- 3: This season, the Chicago Wolves have given up three goals in a single period on 11 occasions. The first two times they allowed the season-high for goals in a period came during the first two games of the season: Oct. 6 and 7 against the Texas Stars in Cedar Park. On Oct. 6, Jason Dickinson, Brian Flynn and Roope Hintz all scored in the first period to give the Stars a 3-1 lead, and the Wolves were not able to complete a comeback even though they scored three goals of their own in the final frame of play. In the Oct. 7 contest, Dickinson, Travis Morin and Mark McNeill — now skating for the Milwaukee Admirals — all scored in the second period. The Wolves again scored three goals in the third period to take a 5-4 lead, but Matt Mangene netted the equalizer in the final five minutes of regulation. Then Dickinson was the savior as he scored the overtime goal with just 18 seconds to play — and he was the Stars’ hero after zero on Nov. 21 at Allstate Arena as well.
- 6: The Chicago Wolves opened the 2017-18 campaign with two games against the Texas Stars at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, on Oct. 6 and 7. Those games ended with identical 6-5 scores that did not favor the Wolves. Additionally, those six goals Texas scored each night set the season-high mark for goals allowed by the Wolves. The Oct. 6 contest was a high-energy affair that included two power-play goals for the Wolves and right wing Alex Tuch — now skating with the Vegas Golden Knights — netted the first hat trick of the season for Chicago. Goaltender Max Lagace also faced his former team for the first time. The next night, defenseman Shea Theodore — now a full-time member of the Golden Knights — posted a pair of goals and Oscar Dansk made his debut in a Wolves sweater.
- 21: On Tuesday, the Chicago Wolves set a season-high for shots on goal in a single period when they fired 21 shots on Texas Stars’ goaltender Landon Bow in the first frame. Eighteen of those shots were recorded before the Stars collected their first shot of the game. Through the first 11 minutes, 36 seconds of play, the Wolves averaged a shot every 39 seconds. In overtime, the Wolves put up five shots in the five-minute 3-on-3 session, which is the team’s second-highest total of the season in the OT frame.
- 24: Forward Bryce Gervais netted the opening goal just 24 seconds into the game action on Tuesday against the Texas Stars. The feat was 52 seconds faster than the Chicago Wolves’ previous quickest goal from the start of a game that Stefan Matteau scored 1:16 into play against the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 15. That first goal was Gervais’ second of the year. The 26-year-old also owns an unassisted marker and a game-winning goal this season.
- 45: Tuesday’s game also set another season-high as the Chicago Wolves fired 45 shots on the Texas Stars’ net. It was one better than their previous mark, 44, which the team reached on Nov. 15 against the Manitoba Moose at Bell MTS Place. In that game, the Wolves were more balanced in their shots on goal per period with 14 during the first and second frames and 16 in the third. Tuesday’s affair was less so as they piled up 21 shots in the first period — a season-high — and 10 and eight shots, respectively, in the second and third frames.
- The Wolves shut out the Rampage for their first win of the season series.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 28 shots for his first career AHL shutout.
- Forward T.J. Tynan and defensemen Jake Bischoff and Jason Garrison scored the goals.
- Chicago won its 15th of 16 games on home ice with its first shootout victory of the season.
- The team’s top scorer, T.J. Tynan, delivered the winning shootout goal while netminder Oscar Dansk stopped former Wolves captain Brent Regner’s attempt to clinch the victory.
- Center Brandon Pirri scored in regulation and the shootout while Bryce Gervais and Keegan Kolesar accounted for Chicago’s other two goals in regulation.
- In the crease, Dansk made 20 saves during 65 minutes of game action and stopped two of three attempts in the shootout.
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Feb. 27, 2018
|10/06/2017||H-E-B Center||L, 5-6|
|10/07/2017||H-E-B Center||OTL, 5-6|
|11/21/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 2-1|
|02/27/2018||Allstate Arena||W (SO), 4-3|
- Saturday night marks Game 2 of Chicago’s third four-game road trip of the season.
- On Feb. 27, the Wolves recorded their first win of the season against the Texas Stars and began their series rally in which they will need a win Saturday in Cedar Park to continue.
- The season series with the Stars concludes on Saturday, March 31, at Allstate Arena. The Wolves are looking for their second season series tie in eight seasons. Otherwise, it’ll be their fifth series loss in that same stretch