Saturday, March 24 | 6:00 p.m. | BMO Harris Bank Center | Facebook | CW50
LOTTERY CUP UPDATE
Three Illinois Lottery Cup games remain between the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs. Coming off their first regulation loss of the series on March 17, the Wolves are trailing the season series with four wins to the IceHogs’ five. In a competition determined by head-to-head victories, Chicago needs to win two of the final three contests — of which the next two are in Rockford — to keep the Cup.
The clash for the Illinois Lottery Cup could end with both teams claiming six wins. If so, the Chicago Wolves own both tiebreakers and would remain the Cup champion for the second consecutive season. Until March 17, the Wolves had yet to fall to the Rockford IceHogs in regulation and own four extra time points while the IceHogs had yet to lose in bonus time. Secondly, the Wolves are last year’s champ and would retain their title if the extra points aren’t enough.
The Chicago Wolves have improved their play immensely away from Allstate Arena. So much so, the team comes to BMO Harris Bank Center with a seven-game road win streak intact and the chance to pass the Toronto Marlies for the AHL’s longest road winning streak of the 2017-18 campaign. Additionally, an eighth victory would move the Wolves just one win shy of matching the franchise record of nine. That was achieved almost two decades ago by the 2000 Turner Cup champions from Feb. 25 to March 30, 2000.
The Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs enter Saturday’s game as the American Hockey League’s two least penalized teams. The IceHogs are the league’s only team to average fewer than 10 penalty minutes per game (9.74) while the Wolves average just 1.01 penalty minutes more per contest. In head-to-head competition, Chicago and Rockford average 10.78 and 10.11 penalty minutes per game, respectively.
One is Not Enough
Seven of the nine Illinois Lottery Cup games between the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs have been decided by one goal. In those games, the Wolves own a 2-1-3-1 record while the IceHogs are 5-2-0-0. The other two games of the series have been victories for Chicago in which the Wolves have outscored Rockford 13-6. Additionally, those two wins took place at Allstate Arena. However, the Wolves have snuck out of BMO Harris Bank Center with a 2-1 victory this season; they’ll look to do the same Saturday.
By the Numbers:
- 2: The Chicago Wolves went just two days without goaltender Oscar Dansk on their roster. The 24-year-old netminder was recalled on an emergency basis on the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday and he was returned on loan Friday. In Dansk’s absence, Max Lagace got the start against the Cleveland Monsters Thursday while Kasimir Kaskisuo served as the back-up netminder. Dansk began the season with the Wolves but only saw game action once on Oct. 7 before being recalled by Vegas. After spending some time with the Golden Knights and then rehabbing, he made his return to the Wolves lineup on Feb. 15. Since that date, he owns an 8-1-1 record as well as a .925 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average.
- 6: Forward Brandon Pirri collected his team-leading 26th goal in Thursday’s 5-1 victory against the Cleveland Monsters. The tally puts him in the No. 6 spot on the American Hockey League’s goal-scoring leaderboard. Pirri shares the spot with three others. But only one competitor in the Central Division — the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Eric Tangradi with 27 goals — is ahead of Pirri on the leaderboard. Pirri and Tangradi will have face each other on Sunday, March 25, at Allstate Arena in the season series finale between their respective teams. While the Wolves already have claimed the series, they are still looking for two points to better their position in the division standings and draw closer to clinching their 19th postseason berth.
- 6: Since T.J. Tynan did not collect any points in Thursday’s game, he is in the No. 6 spot among the American Hockey League’s top scorers. He shares the spot with the Texas Stars’ Travis Morin and the Grand Rapids Griffins’ Ben Street. The 26-year-old has excelled this season as he has collected career-highs in points (55) and assists (42). One more goal will also set a new career-best. Tynan is also nine games shy of 300 AHL contests and 10 points shy of 200. The Orland Park native also boasts a career-best +17 plus/minus rating. That ranks third among Wolves skaters. Defenseman Jake Bischoff leads the pack with a +18 rating and blueliner Griffin Reinhart is second — also with a +17 that he has achieved in 14 fewer games.
- 26: The bulk of the Chicago Wolves scoring has came from a band of 26-year-olds are all four of the team’s top scorers are that age. Those four players —T.J. Tynan (13- 42—55), Teemu Pulkkinen (19-30—49), Brandon Pirri (26-22—48) and Beau Bennett (10-35—45) — have accounted for more than half — 58 percent to be exact — of the Wolves scoring. Tynan is the team’s leading point-getter while Pirri leads the pack in goals. The team’s top-scoring defenseman, Philip Holm, is also 26. Though Holm owns 33 points (11G, 22) this season, only four of those assists have come while he has been skating with the Wolves.
- 40: With 11 games left in the regular season, it is realistic the Chicago Wolves could record another 40-win season. Chicago is just four wins shy of the feat and it would mark the 16th season they have finished with at least 40 victories. Since the American Hockey League moved to a 76-game format prior to the 2011-12 season, it would be the fifth time in seven campaigns the team has been north of 40 wins.
- Chicago extended its road win streak to seven games to match the longest such stint in the AHL this season.
- Captain Paul Thompson netted two goals while Jake Bischoff, Tomas Hyka and Brandon Pirri accounted for the other three scores.
- In just his second game since returning to the Wolves, Max Lagace made a season-high 39 saves for the win.
Tuesday, March 20 Chicago 3, (at) Cleveland 2 (OT)
- The Wolves extended their series win streak against the Monsters to six games.
- Center T.J. Tynan netted the game-winning goal 1:05 into overtime.
- Forwards Stefan Matteau and Wade Megan accounted for Chicago’s regulation goals.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk made 19 saves for the victory.
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March 17, 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|
|03/17/2018||Allstate Arena||L, 2-3|
|03/24/2017||BMO Harris Bank Center|
|04/13/2018||BMO Harris Bank Center|