Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the scoop on all Chicago Wolves developments throughout the team’s 25th anniversary season.
A WOLVES THREE-PEAT WON’T BE EASY
When the American Hockey League realigned its divisions during the offseason as part of welcoming the Colorado Eagles into the league as the 31st team, the Central Division became even tougher with the addition of the Texas Stars (last year’s Calder Cup finalist) and the San Antonio Rampage.
As the Chicago Wolves gun for their third consecutive Central Division title, it’s becoming clear there are several excellent teams that are loaded with proven veterans and prized prospects. After last weekend’s 5-3 loss at Grand Rapids and 5-4 shootout loss to Milwaukee, the Wolves are part of a five-team clump challenging for the Central.
The Wolves (4-1-0-1) rank third in the division with 9 points, but both teams ahead of them have played one more game. Head coach Rocky Thompson’s team owns a .750 winning percentage, which stands second in the division and shares fifth in the league overall. The Wolves’ +7 goal differential (25 for, 18 against) also shares fifth place in the AHL while the team’s 4.17 goals-per-game average ranks fourth.
WOLVES youth on display for school-day game
As part of the divisional realignment, the Cleveland Monsters moved out of the Central Division and into the Eastern Conference’s North Division. The Monsters have stayed on the Wolves’ schedule, though, which means their visit to Allstate Arena fohttps://theahl.com/stats/player/7088/61/nic-haguer the 11 a.m. School-Day Game marks Chicago’s first game against an Eastern Conference team since Nov. 25, 2008.
Thousands of excited students from throughout the Chicago area will be in the stands for this one — and they might notice that several of the Wolves players aren’t that much older than them. In the defensive corps alone, the Wolves feature 19-year-olds Erik Brännström and Nic Hague, 20-year-old Dylan Coghlan and 21-year-old Zach Whitecloud.
All of them are top prospects for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights — and all of them are learning quickly on this stage. When Hague scored a goal Sunday against Milwaukee, he joined Brännström and Coghlan on the list of Wolves who’ve scored their first professional goal this season. Whitecloud, meanwhile, registered his first professional point Saturday when he set up Brooks Macek’s goal at Grand Rapids.
stick it to BREAST CANCER fundraiser on oct. 30
The Wolves are hosting the Stick It to Breast Cancer fundraiser on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Peggy Kinnane’s in Arlington Heights. The event is a perfect opportunity for fans to enjoy quality time with their favorite Wolves players while raising money for A Silver Lining Foundation. To attend, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
Proceeds from the event go to buy mammograms for people who cannot afford one.
For the second weekend in a row, Macek scored three goals to take the lead in goal-scoring for the Wolves. The 26-year-old Winnipeg native shares second place in the AHL with six goals in six games. After spending the last five years in Germany, Macek is excelling in his first year as a pro in North America. He scored 26 goals in 50 games last season to lead Germany’s elite league in goals.
The 19-year-old rookie defenseman earned his first professional goal on Sunday with a first-period wrister against Milwaukee. It figures to be the first of many for the Kitchener, Ontario, native, who scored 35 goals last season for the Mississauga Steelheads and was voted as the OHL’s Defenseman of the Year.
After playing 71 games for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens over the last two seasons, Carr has landed with the Wolves and delivered consistent scoring. He put up one goal and two assists over the weekend, which gives him a team-high 9 points (2G, 7A) for the season. Carr has scored at least one point in each of the last five games.
SUNDAY, OCT. 21: MILWAUKEE 5, (at) CHICAGO 4 (SO)
- Center Yakov Trenin scored in the seventh round of the shootout to give the Admirals the extra point.
- Forward Brooks Macek scored a pair of goals, rookie defenseman Nic Hague delivered his first goal as a pro and forward Daniel Carr also scored.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 32 saves during regulation and overtime and rejected 5 of 7 shootout attempts
SATURDAY, OCT. 20: (at) GRAND RAPIDS 5, CHICAGO 3
- After erasing a 3-0 deficit with three goals in a 3:01 stretch of the second period at Van Andel Arena, the Wolves dropped their first game of the year.
- Forwards T.J. Tynan, Brandon Pirri and Brooks Macek scored goals to pull the Wolves even with the Griffins while rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud posted his first professional point.
- Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 27 of 31 shots in the loss.