Gamblers Pregame Primer: Chicago Steel, Feb. 7

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With a 5-0 loss at Cedar Rapids last Saturday night in the rear view mirror, the Gamblers will look to notch victory No. 20 of the season Friday evening against the Steel at the Resch Center.  It will be the eighth meeting between the two clubs this season, with Green Bay holding true to four victories. Since Derek Lalonde took over as head coach, the Gamblers have just one home loss to Chicago in 11 total games and are 19-3-1 overall since 2011.

Let’s get a more in-depth look at the matchup before the puck drops at 7:05 p.m. CT. Make sure to follow myself and @GamblersHockey for updates throughout the game.

Season Series: Green Bay 4-3-0, Chicago 3-4-0
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 7-0-1, Chicago 1-7-0
Record vs. Chicago under Derek Lalonde: 19-3-1
Record @ home vs. Chicago since 2011: 10-1-0

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Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 19-14-5 record (.566 WPCT) | 43 team PTS (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Chicago: 18-18-3 record (.500 WPCT) | 39 team PTS (sixth in Eastern Conference

Categorical Leaders
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (38), CHI John Ernsting (27)
Goals: GB Kevin Irwin (14), CHI C.J. Smith (12)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (28), CHI John Ernsting (20)

Goaltender Comparison
Jared Rutledge (GB): 18-11-3 record | 2.87 GAA | 90.8% save rate | 28.2 SV/G (32 GP)
Cam Hackett (GB): 1-3-2 record | 2.72 GAA | 90.4% save rate | 21.2 SV/G (8 GP)
Chris Nell (CHI): 11-16-3 record | 2.98 GAA| 91.5% save rate | 31.4 SV/G (30 GP)
Cale Morris (CHI): 7-2-0 record | 3.03 GAA | 90.4% save rate | 25.7 SV/G (11 GP)

Storyline to Watch for

  • Head-to-head domination — While these two teams have nearly split the season series, Green Bay dominated Chicago offensively, converting on 12.6% of their shots over seven games in 2013-2014 to Chicago’s 8.7% shot conversion rate.

Game Briefs

9/21/13 — Green Bay 5, Chicago 1 – Green Bay goaltender Jared Rutledge allowed just one goal into the net in the contest, saving 39 of Chicago’s 40 shots. Evan Tironese scored the season-opening goal five minutes in, while Ryan Lough, Sebastian Weberg, Brent Gates Jr. and Fredrik Olofsson contributed with goals of their own in the season-opening victory.

10/5/13 – Green Bay 3, Chicago 1 – While the Gamblers defense held Chicago to just 19 shots in the contest, Derek Lalonde’s offense scored three times (once in each period) on 37 attempts, with forward Kevin Irwin accounting for two of the scores and Lough distributing two assists.

10/26/13 — Green Bay 5, Chicago 2 – Nick Schmaltz put Green Bay up early with a breakaway goal 1:48 into the game, establishing a lead the Gamblers would not relinquish. Rutledge played all 60 minutes between the pipes for Lalonde and company, tallying 27 saves in 29 attempts en route to his team’s third victory over Chicago this season.

11/8/13 — Chicago 6, Green Bay 3 – Sprinting out to a 2-0 by the end of the first period, John Ernsting added three more goals to Chicago’s total in the game’s final period to give the Steel its first victory over Green Bay in 2013-2014. The 6-3 regulation loss was the Gamblers’ first to Chicago under Lalonde.

12/10/13 — Chicago 6, Green Bay 3 – Leading 1-0 after one period, the Gamblers ceded three consecutive goals to the Steel to open the game’s second frame, giving Chicago a 4-3 lead heading into the third period. Unable to score from that point on, Green Bay came out on the losing end of a 6-3 affair — marking the lone instance this season in which the Gamblers have lost despite scoring the first goal of a game.

1/5/13 — Chicago 4, Green Bay 3 — In Cam Hackett’s first post-injury start, the Gamblers converted on three of their 27 shots but were outmatched by Chicago’s offense, which put four of its 37 shots in net. It was Chicago’s third consecutive victory over Green Bay.

1/24/13 — Green Bay 6, Chicago 0 — Matt Weis notched his second multi-goal game of the season while Gamblers goaltenders Jared Rutledge and Cam Hackett pitched their second shutout of 2013-2014, as Green Bay went on to win a convincing 6-0 victory in Chicago.

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