Sunday, March 18 | 3:00 p.m. | Allstate Arena | Facebook | The U Too
The Chicago Wolves have faced a dozen opponents this season and, of those 12 foes, they own a points percentage less than .500 against only two of them: the Iowa Wild (.400) and Manitoba Moose (.286). This season marks the first time since the teams began dueling in the American Hockey League (2013- 14) that the Wolves are in danger of losing the season series. In four prior seasons, the Wolves never captured less than six victories or finished with less than a .750 points percentage against the Wild. Coming into Sunday’s game, Chicago owns a 2-3-0-0 record against Iowa. FRIENDLY!CONFINES So far this season, the Chicago Wolves and Iowa Wild have only danced twice at Allstate Arena and split the victories. On Nov. 26, the Wild barged into Rosemont and handed the Wolves a 6-4 loss. Then on Dec. 16 — when the Wolves were beginning to rise toward the top of the AHL standings — Chicago knocked off Iowa 6-3. Although the Wolves cannot match last season’s perfect 5-0-0-0 record against the Wild, there is still a chance for the team to finish north of .500 points percentage at home versus Iowa.
WELLS WELLS WELLS
Traditionally, the Chicago Wolves have been stellar at Wells Fargo Arena since they began playing the Iowa Wild there for the 2013-14 season. Through four seasons, Chicago accrued a 16-1-2-1 record — the team did not suffer its first regulation loss at Wells Fargo Arena until the 2016-17 series opener on Nov. 18, 2016. This season has not been kind to the Wolves on enemy ice in Des Moines — they have only won one of three games and gained two more regulation losses.
FAMILIAR FACE BETWEEN THE PIPES
Last time goaltender Max Lagace was between the pipes for the Chicago Wolves, he faced the Iowa Wild on Feb. 9. That contest also marked the 25-year-old’s return to the lineup after leaving the game on Jan. 17 when the Wolves, that’s right, faced the Wild. In his most recent appearance for Chicago, Lagace gave up three goals as the Wolves suffered a 4-1 loss. In the game prior, Jan. 17, Chicago also lost as the Quebec native surrendered a pair of goals through almost 36 minutes of play before leaving the game. He did not earn the decision in the 5-2 loss.
On Thursday, the Vegas Golden Knights returned forward Tomas Hyka and goaltender Max Lagace on loan to the Chicago Wolves. Chicago now has 28 players on its roster, including 17 forwards, eight defensemen and three netminders. Only two — Mackenzie MacEachern and Petteri Lindbohm — are unavailable long-term with injuries. Everyone else is in shipshape and ready to assist with the push for Chicago’s 19th postseason berth.
By the Numbers:
- 0: Five games into his professional career and forward Reid Duke is still looking for his first professional point. In his first five contests, Duke has logged three shots on goal and a -3 plus/minus rating. He has been slotting into the lineup at the fourth-line center position.
- 1: On Saturday night, the Iowa Wild edged the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-1 to pull within a point of the Chicago Wolves in the Central Division standings. The Wolves were handed their 20th regulation loss of the season by their Illinois Lottery Cup foe, the Rockford IceHogs. The Wild come into Allstate Arena with the chance to move into second place in the standings if they can beat the Wolves in regulation Sunday afternoon. Iowa owns a 3-0-1-1 unbeaten streak while the Wolves are winless with a 0-2-1-0 streak.
- 3: With the 3-2 setback against the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday, the Chicago Wolves suffered three consecutive home losses for the first time since Nov. 11-21 when they fell to San Antonio (Nov. 11), Milwaukee (Nov. 12) and Texas (Nov. 21). Losing at Allstate Arena has been a foreign concept for Chicago this season as Rocky Thompson’s squad set a franchise record from Dec. 6 to Feb. 15 with 13 consecutive home victories.
- 20: Saturday’s Illinois Lottery Cup loss to the Rockford IceHogs marked the Chicago Wolves’ fourth consecutive one-goal decision. This string stands as the third time this season Chicago has competed in four straight one-goal contests. The first time it happened this season was Nov. 19-25, followed by Dec. 21-29. The Wolves’ best record in those stretches was their December string when they compiled a 2-0-1-1 record. In November, the team produced a 1-0-2-1 record. March’s record is 1-2-1-0. This one-goal stretch is the first in which the Wolves have lost in regulation — the first contest came on March 10 against the Manitoba Moose and the second was Saturday versus the IceHogs.
- 5: Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day match-up with the Rockford IceHogs was forward Tomas Hyka’s first game since being returned on loan to the Chicago Wolves by the Vegas Golden Knights. While the 24-year-old Czech Republic native did not get his name on the scoresheet, he continues to hold down the No. 5 spot on the team’s scoring list with 34 points (13G, 21A). Hyka is one of six Wolves skaters to pass the 30-point threshold this season.
- 32: The Chicago Wolves continue to pile up one-goal games and have now participated in 32 of them. Saturday’s 3-2 setback against the Rockford IceHogs still did not bump the Wolves into the league’s top five teams with the most one-goal decisions — they reside just outside at the No. 6 position. The Utica Comets again battled in a one-goal game Saturday and moved their league-leading total to 35 contests. The Iowa Wild took sole possession of the No. 2 spot with 34 while the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford WolfPack and the Texas Stars all have 33.
Saturday, March 17 Rockford 3, (at) Chicago 2
- The Wolves fell to the IceHogs in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
- Captains Brandon Pirri and Paul Thompson scored for Chicago.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk made 33 saves as he suffered his first regulation loss with the Wolves.
Sunday, March 11 Rockford 2, (at) Chicago 1 (OT)
- 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.
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Feb. 9, 2018
|11/26/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 4-6|
|12/16/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 6-3|
|01/01/2018||Wells Fargo Arena||W, 2-1|
|01/17/2018||Wells Fargo Arena||L, 2-5|
|02/09/2018||Wells Fargo Arena||L, 4-1|
|04/06/2018||Wells Fargo Arena|