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THE QUARTER POLE
In horse racing parlance, the Chicago Wolves have hit the quarter pole. With one-fourth of the season’s 76 games remaining, the Wolves are on pace to post 93 points and claim their 19th postseason berth in their 24-year history.
Away to the Races
Though the Chicago Wolves are lodged in second place in the Central Division with 70 points and a .614 points percentage, by no means have they guaranteed a Calder Cup Playoff spot. The Grand Rapids Griffins (69 points), Iowa Wild (66), Rockford IceHogs (64) and Milwaukee Admirals (63) all are within striking range as it’s a six-team race for the Central Division’s four postseason entries.
LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN
The Chicago Wolves enter Tuesday’s game looking for their seventh consecutive victory at the AT&T Center against the San Antonio Rampage. The Wolves’ win streak at AT&T Center dates back to the 2014-15 season when Chicago throttled San Antonio 6-2 on Dec. 9, 2014. Since that date, the Wolves have won both games at AT&T Center in each of the last two seasons (2015-16, 2016-17). They attained their first win of the 2017-18 campaign on Friday night with a 3-0 shutout.
GOING FOR THE SPLIT
After opening the season series against the San Antonio Rampage with two 2-1 losses at Allstate Arena, the Chicago Wolves are on the road at AT&T Center looking to salvage the series. The Wolves came through to win their first game of the series on Friday with a 3-0 shutout founded on a solid performance by rookie netminder Oscar Dansk. Now, they need to take the series finale in order to tie the season series for the fourth time in five seasons. Otherwise, it’ll be Chicago’s first series loss against San Antonio since the 2011-12 campaign.
EIGHT YEARS IN THE MAKING
It had been eight years since the Chicago Wolves and the San Antonio Rampage had seen a shutout in head-to-head competition. Prior to Friday, the Rampage owned the series’ last two shutouts: Nov. 8, 2007 and April 3, 2010. Both happened at AT&T Center, and San Antonio outscored Chicago 7-0 in those two contests. However, the Wolves now own the series’ most recent shutout with their 3-0 victory on Friday. Chicago had not shut out San Antonio since March 25, 2006, when they — backstopped by Michael Garnett — netted four goals for the win. Garnett made 20 saves.
On Tuesday night, the Chicago Wolves have a change to push their season-high for consecutive wins on the road to four games. The 2017-18 campaign has not been Chicago’s best away from home — with its latest three victories, the team has moved one game over .500 on the road for the first time this season. Their win on Saturday against the Texas Stars also allowed them to match their current season-high win streak with three games. Chicago last strung together three road wins from Dec. 9-15. Those victories all came against Central Division foes while this win streak has been a mix between Central and Pacific Division opponents.
By the Numbers:
- 2: In the first two games of the Chicago Wolves’ four-game trip, defenseman Jason Garrison scored in consecutive games for the first time since 2015. Prior to gaining goals on March 2 and 3 against the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars, respectively, Garrison last recorded goals in back-to-back games Dec. 26 and 28, 2015, versus the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens when he was skating for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- 4: Center Brandon Pirri is charging his way up the American Hockey League’s goal-scoring leaderboard. The Toronto native owns four multi-goal games in his last 13 appearances — and 11 goals overall in that 13-game stretch. In his last six games — he sustained an injury on Jan. 27 against Tucson, missed six games and returned on Feb. 21 — the 26-year-old has produced 10 points (5G, 5A) for an average of 1.67 points per game, which is the best among all Wolves skaters. Additionally, he is converting on 22.7 percent of his shots on net.
- 5: Prior to Friday, defenseman Jake Bischoff had not seen game action since Feb. 17. However, in his two games back after missing time due to injury, the 23-year-old logged a combined +5 plus/minus rating. In his first game back on Friday, the Minnesota native also scored a goal and recorded four shots on goal — a total second to only Teemu Pulkkinen (6).
- 8: Tuesday against the San Antonio Rampage, captain Paul Thompson is looking to stay out of the penalty box for the eighth consecutive game. If he can stay out of the sin bin, it would mark his season-best for games without a penalty. The 29-year-old’s current penalty-less streak extends back to Feb. 18 against the Cleveland Monsters — he was last penalized when the Wolves hosted the Rampage the night prior. His first seven-game stint of the year was Oct. 25 to Nov. 12.
- 35: Center Beau Bennett is enjoying the most productive season of his professional career — the 26-year-old California native is averaging 0.71 points per game through 49 combined NHL and AHL games. His 35 points (8G, 27A) is his best point total since he turned pro for the 2012-13 campaign. Bennett’s rookie season — split between the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins — was his previous best production year with an average of 0.65 points per game through 65 AHL and NHL contests.
- 50: Center T.J. Tynan is on the verge of his first 50-point season. The 26-year-old is in his fourth full professional season — though he began his career with three games at the tail end of the 2013-14 campaign after the conclusion of his career at the University of Notre Dame. Tynan has yet to finish a full season with fewer than 40 points. Before 2017- 18, his best showing was his rookie year with the Springfield Falcons when he registered 48 points (13G, 35A) through 75 games.
- 100: On Friday against San Antonio, forward Teemu Pulkkinen recorded his 100th American Hockey League assist. The Vantaa, Finland, native is just two goals shy of the century mark in that category and owns 198 total AHL points. His AHL career point-per-game average stands at 0.89. In North American professional play, which includes 83 NHL appearances, Pulkkinen owns 111 goals and 109 assists for 220 points.
Saturday, March 3 Chicago 4, (at) Texas 1
- Chicago earned its fourth consecutive victory with its second straight win over Texas.
- Center Brandon Pirri netted two goals while Jason Garrison and Stefan Matteau added empty-netters to ensure the victory.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 24 saves en route to the victory.
Friday, March 2 Chicago 3, (at) San Antonio 0
- 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.
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March 2, 2018
|11/11/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 1-2|
|02/17/2018||Allstate Arena||L, 1-2|
|03/02/2018||AT&T Center||W, 3-0|