Sunday, March 25, 2018 | 5:00 P.M. | Allstate Arena
With a victory at Van Andel Arena on Feb. 21, the Chicago Wolves took the season series from the Grand Rapids Griffins for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, the Griffins won both series handily and only allowed the Wolves four wins combined over the course of two seasons. The two seasons prior — 2013-14 and 2014-15 — Chicago and Grand Rapids split the series with identical records. The Wolves have a chance to complete this season’s set with a 6-2-0-0 record if they can finish off the Griffs Sunday evening.
HOME ICE HYPE
Including Sunday’s game against Grand Rapids, the Chicago Wolves have 10 games remaining in the regular season and seven of those contests will takes place on home ice at Allstate Arena. While the Wolves have been enjoying more road success of late, their bread and butter has been at home. At Allstate, the Wolves recorded a franchise-record 13-game win streak. Additionally, the team captured its 20th home victory of the 2017-18 campaign on March 18 against the Iowa Wild. That game marked the 19th time in franchise history the Wolves have accrued at least 20 victories on home ice in a season. If the Wolves can better their record to include 25 victories at Allstate Arena, it would be just the 10th season in which a Wolves squad has done so.
AU REVOIR ROAD STREAK
With an Illinois Lottery Cup loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday, the Chicago Wolves’ season-best seven-game road win streak came to an end. The streak matched the longest AHL stint this season set by the Toronto Marlies from Nov. 10 to Dec. 15. Chicago’s streak began on Feb. 25 with a 5-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose at Bell MTS Place. The feat was capped with back-to-back wins against the Cleveland Monsters — on March 20 and 22 — at Quicken Loans Arena. The stretch was two shy of Chicago’s franchise-best nine-game streak achieved almost two decades ago by the eventual Turner Cup champion squad from Feb. 25 to March 30, 2000.
GRIFFS VS. GOALIES
All three of the Chicago Wolves goaltenders have faced the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. Kasimir Kaskisuo has appeared in four games against the Griffs — the most of any Wolves goaltender in 2017- 18. Through almost 232 minutes between the pipes versus Grand Rapids, Kaskisuo owns a 2-2-0 record with a 1.81 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. The 24-year-old Finn has also produced two shutouts against the Griffins. Max Lagace has appeared in two games while Oscar Dansk has backstopped the Wolves once against Grand Rapids — both are perfect with 2-0-0 and 1-0-0 records, respectively. Dansk leads the trio with a .951 save percentage while Kaskisuo’s 1.81 goals-against average is the best of three in that category.
By the Numbers:
- 2: The 24-year-old Kasimir Kaskisuo owns two — exactly half — of the Chicago Wolves’ shutouts this season and both have come against Sunday’s opponent, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Through those two games — Nov. 3 and Jan. 6 — Kaskisuo made 65 saves. Overall, Kaskisuo has four appearances versus the Griffins this season and owns a 2-2-0 record. He also leads all Wolves goalies with a 1.81 goals-against average against Grand Rapids and he has recorded a .944 save percentage.
- 20: On Saturday, Teemu Pulkkinen earned his 20th and 21st goals to join Brandon Pirri as a 20-goal scorer for the Chicago Wolves. With Pirri’s and Pulkkinen’s 27 and 21 goals, respectively, it is the fourth consecutive season the Wolves have two 20-goal scorers. With a two-goal effort on Thursday in Cleveland, captain Paul Thompson is just one goal shy of hitting the 20-tally total. If he does so, it will be the first time since the 2010-11 campaign that Chicago has had more than two 20-goal producers. Pirri is three goals away from the 30-goal plateau. If he can reach the benchmark, it will be the fourth consecutive season a 30-goal scorer has graced the Wolves’ roster.
- 40: The Chicago Wolves are still on the hunt for another 40-win season. Saturday, the Rockford IceHogs stalled their bid for a 37th victory as Rockford rallied in the second period with four goals. The Wolves come into Sunday’s game looking to get back on track after having their season-best road game win streak busted. Chicago is also looking to get back on track at Allstate Arena as it has just one win in its last four home games. If the Wolves can reach the 40-victory apex, it will be the 16th season in which they’ve completed the feat. 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.
- 41: The Grand Rapids Griffins twice have battered the Chicago Wolves netminders with 41 shots on net. That total is the most shots the Wolves have allowed any opponent this season. In the first game on Oct. 27 — the season series opener — the Wolves fell to the Griffins 5-3 at Van Andel Arena. However, almost four months later on Feb. 21, Chicago upended Grand Rapids 5-2 at The Van for their fourth consecutive win the series. In that same contest, the Griffins fired 22 shots on Oscar Dansk in their third-period comeback attempt. That total is also a season high allowed by the Wolves during the 2017-18 campaign.
- 300: On Thursday, defenseman Chris Casto played in his 300th American Hockey League game and became the fourth Chicago Wolves player to surpass the milestone. Veteran Brett Sterling began the season with 501 AHL games to his credit and is now just 13 games shy of the 550-game mark. Captain Paul Thompson also skated in his 400th AHL contest earlier this season and now has 446 games to his name — he is just one of two Wolves players to appear in all 66 contests during the 2017-18 campaign. Workhorse center Wade Megan appeared in his 300th game this season and has skated in 24 more since to bring his career total to 324. Center T.J. Tynan is poised to skate Game No. 300 as he is just eight games away from the milestone
- The Wolves fell to the IceHogs for the third straight Illinois Lottery Cup contest.
- Forward Teemu Pulkkinen netted two goals while Brandon Pirri accounted for the third.
- Goaltender Max Lagace made 33 saves in his second straight start.
- 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.
FOLLOW. LISTEN. WATCH.Watch on CW50 Listen on Facebook Live Watch on AHL LIVE
Feb 21, 2018
|10/27/2017||Van Andel Arena||L, 5-3|
|11/03/2017||Van Andel Arena||W, 2-0|
|12/02/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 2-5|
|12/15/2017||Van Andel Arena||W, 6-3|
|12/21/2017||Allstate Arena||W, 5-4|
|01/06/2018||Allstate Arena||W, 2-0|
|02/21/2018||Van Andel Arena||W, 5-2|