Saturday, March 17 | 7:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena | Facebook | CW50
LOTTERY CUP UPDATE
The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs face off in Illinois Lottery Cup competition for the second time in less than a week. Previously, the teams had not seen each other in more than a month — 37 days to be exact. The chase for Lottery Cup greatness is still in the nail-biting stage as each team owns four wins on the season. However, in a series decided by victories, the Wolves just need to split the four remaining games in order to repeat as Cup champion. Chicago has yet to lose in regulation and have four points in hand on Rockford to take the first tiebreaker. Additionally, the Wolves own the second tiebreaker as they won last year’s Lottery Cup.
This season, the Chicago Wolves have earned at least one point in every Illinois Lottery Cup game they have played against the Rockford IceHogs. While the battle for the Cup is tied at four games apiece, Chicago has four extra points as it has taken Rockford to overtime or a shootout in all four of its losses. All but two games between the Wolves and IceHogs have been decided by one goal. For Chicago, its owns both of the decisive victories as it outscored Rockford 13-6 during those two games on Dec. 30 and Feb. 3.
When Rockford’s Chris DiDomenico delivered the overtime goal on Sunday at Allstate Arena, he also handed the Chicago Wolves their first back-to-back losses since Jan. 13 and 17. It also marked their first back-to-back losses on home ice since Nov. 26 and Dec. 3. The Wolves have been nearly unstoppable at home this season — so much so they set the franchise record for consecutive home victories with 13 from Dec. 6 to Feb. 15. With nine home games remaining and their 20th home win on the horizon, Chicago looks to get back in the win column.
On this date five years ago, the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs squared off in one of the rivalry’s many memorable games. This particular contest included a bench scrum with four seconds left in the game. On the final play of the affair, with 12.9 seconds on the clock, the teams moved through the neutral zone and the Wolves’ Guillaume Desbiens went for a check on Ben Smith, who was about to leave the ice for a shift change. The Rockford bench door was open and both players toppled through and fisticuffs ensued. The incident racked up 142 penalty minutes between both teams and saw nine players finish the game with double-digit penalty-minute counts. Among those nine players was then-IceHogs player Brandon Pirri, who finished the game with an assist and 14 minutes in penalties. What was the final score? Rockford clung to a 2-1 lead to win the outing at Allstate Arena.
LUCK OF THE IRISH
Saturday night marks the 13th St. Patrick’s Day game in Chicago Wolves franchise history. Through the first dozen games, Chicago owns a 7-4-1-0 record. Wearing specialty jerseys for the 22nd consecutive season, the Wolves look to roast their in-state rival, the Rockford IceHogs, on the holiday alternately referred to as the Feast of St. Patrick. The Wolves will be wearing some extra luck as four-leaf clovers — a genetic mutation of the three-leaf shamrock commonly accepted, but unrelated to Irish lore and St. Patrick, as a good-luck symbol — adorn their jerseys.
By the Numbers:
- 31: On Sunday, the Chicago Wolves competed in their 31st one-goal of the season. While that amount seems like a lot — that is 51.7 percent of their 61 games played — it doesn’t place the Wolves among the league’s top five teams who have competed in one-game decisions this season. The Utica Comets lead the league with 34 while Sunday’s opponent, the Iowa Wild, have 33 to their credit along with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford WolfPack and Texas Stars. Additionally, the Providence Bruins share the No. 7 spot with the Wolves with 31 one-goal contests. Odds are Saturday’s game will be a one-goal decision as six of eight games against the Rockford IceHogs have been decided by a goal this season. Moreover, four of those games needed extra time to decide a victor.
- 60: For 11 seasons the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs have been competing and through the course of 120 regular-season games, the teams have stayed comparable. Coming into Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day duel, the Wolves and IceHogs each own 60 wins in head-to-head competition. Four of the past 10 seasons have ended in split victories and this season is currently tied at four wins apiece — and there is still a chance for the 12-game season series to end in a split.
- 99: With 99 games under his belt, forward Bryce Gervais’ next game will mark his 100th professional contest. The 26-year-old began his pro career on March 24, 2016, when he signed an amateur tryout contract with the Wolves following the conclusion of his collegiate career with the Minnesota State University Mavericks. After his pro debut on March 25, 2016, and skating in nine more games to conclude the 2015-16 campaign, the Battleford, Saskatchewan, native signed a two-year standard player contract with the Wolves. Now in his second full season with Chicago, Gervais has skated exclusively for the Wolves and owns 32 points (22G, 10A) through his first 99 contests.
- 100: Forward Teemu Pulkkinen scored his 100th American Hockey League goal on Sunday. In North American professional play, the tally marked his 113th goal and 225th point. The 26-year-old came to the United States five years ago and broke into the league with Chicago’s Central Division rival, the Grand Rapids Griffins. This season is Pulkkinen’s second full season calling somewhere outside the state of Michigan home. His collective 46 points (17G, 29A) this season rank him second in team scoring. He also ranks second in goal-scoring with 17 goals; Pulkkinen is seven goals behind the team’s leading goal-scorer, Brandon Pirri.
- 797: The Chicago Wolves are on pace to log to 797 penalty minutes this year and set the franchise low. If the Wolves can achieve the feat, it would be 32 PIM fewer than last season’s 947 and just the second time in the team’s 24-year history they have finished the campaign with fewer than 1,000 penalty minutes. Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Wolves own 640 PIM and are the league’s second-least penalized team. The first? Saturday’s opponent, the Rockford IceHogs — the IceHogs are the last team to be averaging less than 10 PIM per game (9.62).
- Chicago dropped two consecutive games for the rst time since Jan. 13-17.
- Rockford forward Chris DiDomenico scored with 1:26 to play in overtime to oust the Wolves.
- Forward Teemu Pulkkinen was Chicago’s lone goal-scorer as he tied the game in the third
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk suffered his first loss since Oct. 7.
- 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
|Saturday, March 17||vs. Rockford||Allstate Arena||7 p.m..||Tickets|
|Sunday, March 18||vs. Iowa||Allstate Arena||3 p.m.||Tickets|
|Tuesday, March 20||at Cleveland||Quicken Loans Arena||6 p.m.||Watch|
|Thursday, March 22||at Cleveland||Quicken Loans Arena||6 p.m.||Watch|
|Saturday, March 24||at Rockford||BMO Harris Bank Center||7 p.m.||Watch|
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March 11, 2018
|11/19/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||SOL, 3-4|
|11/25/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 4-3|
|12/01/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||OTL, 3-4|
|12/12/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||W, 2-1|
|12/22/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center||OTL, 2-3|
|12/30/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 6-2|
|02/03/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 7-4|
|03/11/2018||Allstate Arena||OTL, 1-2|
|03/24/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center|
|04/13/2018||BMO Harris Bank Center|