Sunday, March 11 | 3:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena | Facebook | CW50

LOTTERY CUP UPDATE

The Chicago Wolves enter Sunday’s game with a one-win lead over the Rockford IceHogs in this season’s clash for the Illinois Lottery Cup. Last time the Wolves and IceHogs met — Feb. 3 — the Wolves romped to a 7-4 victory that allowed them to take a 4-3 lead in wins and a 27-21 advantage in goals in this year’s series. The Illinois Lottery Cup competition is determined by wins, but if the teams split the 12-game series then points are used as the tiebreaker. The Wolves own 11 points to the IceHogs’ 6.

SPLITTING HAIRS

Since the inception of the Illinois Lottery Cup in 2011, the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs have been neck-and-neck in terms of head-to-head competition. With a 7-4 victory in their last meeting on Feb. 3, the Wolves hold a 40-39 win advantage over the IceHogs. This season, the first five games of the 12-game series were decided by one goal and three of those contests exceeded 60 minutes. The only category in which the Wolves have pulled away is series scoring; they own a 27-21 advantage in goals. Through the duration of Lottery Cup competition, Chicago leads the goal-scoring category 238-218.

ONE-UPPING THE COMPETITION

Not only have the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs been neck-and-neck since the creation of the Illinois Lottery Cup, they have also been tit-for-tat since the teams began competing in 2007. With four victories this season, the Wolves own a slight advantage with a 60-46-6-7 record that is one win better than the IceHogs’ 59-48-8-4. Chicago’s record equals .559 points percentage to Rockford’s .546. The teams began the season deadlocked with 56 wins apiece.

RACK ‘EM UP

Last time the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs competed, the Wolves bested the IceHogs 7-4 at Allstate Arena. The three-goal margin was the second largest this season between the two teams — Chicago throttled Rockford 6-2 in December. In their last two games, the Wolves have outscored the IceHogs 13-6 — that’s a major change of pace after the first five games of the season series were decided by a goal and Rockford owned a slim 15-14 goal advantage.

FAMILIAR FACE

Defenseman Nolan Valleau returns to Allstate Arena for the first time in 19 days. However, the last time he was in the building he was donning burgundy and gold. Valleau, who spent Jan. 31 to March 1 with the Wolves, makes his return to Allstate as a member of the Rockford IceHogs. Prior to signing a professional tryout contract with Chicago, the 25-year-old skated exclusively with the IceHogs at the American Hockey League level. Valleau spent two seasons (2015-17) with Rockford.

By the Numbers:

  • 1.00: After being held scoreless in the Chicago Wolves’ 4-3 victory against the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday, center Brandon Pirri got himself back on the scoresheet Saturday night against the Manitoba Moose. With a team-leading 24 goals along with 21 assists for 45 points, the 26-year-old Toronto native is leading the Wolves with a point-per-game pace. That average equals his AHL career-high, which he recorded the last time he skated in the league during the 2013-14 season with the Rockford IceHogs (26 points in 26 games). This season, Pirri has missed 15 games due to injury, but still has managed to be the team’s most consistently productive player. Chicago’s leading point producer, T.J. Tynan, averages 0.87 points per game. Tynan has appeared in all 60 games this season.
  • 4: For the second time this season, the Chicago Wolves began a month of competition with four consecutive wins. Prior to their March 3-9 win streak, the team last captured four consecutive wins to start a month in January (Jan. 1-6). However, prior to this season, the Wolves had not began a month with four straight victories since November 2015 when they collected four wins from Nov. 1-12.
  • 5: Center T.J. Tynan took sole possession of the No. 5 spot on the American Hockey League scoring leaderboard on Saturday when he assisted on Brandon Pirri’s goal. The helper was his 52nd point of the season and separated him from Mason Appleton (MB), Andrew Miller (CHA) and Travis Morin (TEX) — all touting 51 points. The assist got the 26-year-old Illinois native back on the scoresheet after he was held scoreless in Friday’s win over the Milwaukee Admirals. Tynan is enjoying a career year and stands four points better than his previous career-high (48 points for the Springfield Falcons in 2014-15). His assist on Saturday also matched his career-best for helpers, so his next one sets the benchmark. He’s one goal shy of matching his career-high in that category. 
  • 6: All good things must come to an end and, on Saturday, the Manitoba Moose halted the Chicago Wolves’ win streak at six games. The streak was the longest active of its kind in the American Hockey League and it marked the second time this season the Wolves hit the benchmark. They first registered six straight wins from Dec. 9-21. Prior to the December stint, the Wolves’ longest streak was an eight-game run that was recorded during the 2016-17 campaign from Dec. 22 to Jan. 7.
  • 384:54: Prior to the Manitoba Moose’s game-winning power-play goal with 2:09 remaining in regulation Saturday night, the Chicago Wolves had gone 384 minutes and 54 seconds without allowing a power-play goal. The streak began late in the second period on Feb. 25 at Manitoba and carried through five complete games before coming to a halt 13 days later against the Moose. The Wolves killed 12 consecutive penalties during that stretch.

Game Rewind

Saturday, March 10 Manitoba 2, (at) Chicago 1

  • The Wolves fell to the Moose and halted their win streak at six games.
  • Center Brandon Pirri was the lone scorer for Chicago.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 20 saves in the loss

Friday, March 9 Chicago 4, (at) Milwaukee 3

  • Chicago stretched its win streak to six games, the longest active streak in the American Hockey League.
  • Captain Paul Thompson collected two goals while defenseman Zac Leslie netted the game winner with just 1:47 to play.
  • Center Wade Megan accounted for the Wolves’ fourth goal.
  • Goaltender Oscar Dansk made 30 saves en route to his seventh consecutive win.