Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the scoop on all Chicago Wolves developments throughout the team’s 25th anniversary season.
WOLVES powerful when at even-strength
Just three weeks into a 76-game season, it’s too soon to use a win-loss record to confirm how good any American Hockey League team might be.
For example, two of the Wolves’ four league championship teams got off to great starts while two others got off to average starts. And last year’s team that captured the Central Division title? It had the worst record in the league two months into the season.
But we can look at some metrics to gauge a team’s overall ability. Yes, the Wolves’ 6-2-0-1 record is solid and stands second in the Central Division, but Rocky Thompson’s team’s ability to dominate in even-strength situations is more telling.
Through nine games, the Wolves have scored 25 goals and opponents have scored just 13 when they’ve been playing 5-on-5. For comparison’s sake, here’s how the other top two teams in the Central Division are faring 5-on-5: First-place Milwaukee is +3 (24-21) while third-place Iowa is +6 (18-12).
MORE THAN 50 percent of wolves are nhl players
If you’ve suited up for the Wolves, chances are better than 50/50 you’ve also played in the National Hockey League. When Daniel Carr, Curtis McKenzie and Zach Whitecloud made their Wolves debuts on Oct. 5, they became the 351st, 352nd and 353rd players (out of 615 Wolves all-time) who have competed for the Wolves and in the NHL.
That 57.4 percent success rate is even higher among goaltenders. Of the 54 players who’ve tended the net for the Wolves — starting with original goaltenders Ray LeBlanc and Wendell Young and continuing through current Wolves Max Lagace and Oscar Dansk — 37 boast NHL experience (68.5 percent).
military appreciation weekend Nov. 10-11
The Wolves are honoring current and former service men and women for their selfless dedication to our country during Military Appreciation Weekend on Nov. 10-11. The Wolves also are teaming up with Feed 6-Outreach for the Hunger Heroes 2018 Food Packing Event on Nov. 10 to produce 100,000 meals for food-insecure veterans and their neighbors.
For the third consecutive week, Macek scored three goals. That moved into a tie for the American Hockey League lead in goals with nine in nine games. The 26-year-old Winnipeg native also leads the AHL in shooting percentage as he has converted 9 of 14 shots this season, which is 64.3 percent. He also shares third in league in plus-/minus rating at +11.
The Wolves center opened last week with his first hat trick in AHL play — scoring three goals on Wednesday against the Cleveland Monsters — and wrapped it up with the Wolves’ first short-handed goal of the season Sunday. The Las Vegas native now ranks second on the team with six goals and stands second in the AHL with a +12 plus/minus rating.
Carr, Quinney and Macek play together on the same line and each has benefitted from the others. Carr just wrapped up a seven-game point streak where he scored three goals and handed out nine assists. The former Montreal Canadien scored the game-winning goal Friday night at Texas and stands atop the AHL in plus/minus rating with a +13.
- Former Wolves goalie Jordan Binnington stopped 25 shots and San Antonio scored three power-play goals to earn the win at AT&T Center.
- Forwards Curtis McKenzie and Gage Quinney scored in the third period as the Wolves tried to rally from a 2-0 deficit, but couldn’t get closer than one.
- Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 17 shots in the loss.
- Forward Daniel Carr’s highlight-reel goal late in the second period held up as the game-winner as the Wolves started a five-game road trip with a win.
- Carr and forward Brandon Pirri posted one goal and one assist apiece while Brooks Macek scored his ninth of the year and defenseman Griffin Reinhart contributed his first.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 30 saves, including 14 in the third period, to earn the win.
- Center Gage Quinney scored 34 seconds into the morning game and linemate Brooks Macek added a goal exactly three minutes later to set the tone for this School-Day Game victory.
- Quinney produced his first AHL hat trick, Macek contributed a season-high 4 points (2G, 2A) along with a +4 plus/minus rating and center T.J. Tynan added one goal and one assist.
- Goaltender Max Lagace notched 24 saves to earn the win