CHICAGO WOLVES (33-18-5-1) AT SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE (26-26-6-0)
WOLVES LOVE TO RISE AND SHINE
This marks the Chicago Wolves’ fifth and final morning start this season — and things couldn’t have gone much better in the first four. The Central Division-leading Wolves head into this morning’s contest with a 4-0-0-0 record in day games while outscoring opponents 20-7 in these midday/midweek contests.
The Wolves won their first day game, a 6-2 home victory over Cleveland on Oct. 24, thanks to center Gage Quinney’s hat trick and linemate Brooks Macek adding a pair of goals and assists in the win. When the Wolves traveled to Milwaukee on Nov. 7, Daniel Carr became the first of two AHL players this season to score four goals in a game while Macek became the second AHL player in three seasons to produce five assists in one game as the Wolves beat Milwaukee 5-3.
The Wolves scored three first-period goals against Texas on Dec. 18 en route to a 6-1 victory that featured rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud’s first two-goal game as a pro. Texas came back to town on Feb. 21 and the Wolves came from behind to earn a 3-1 victory in front of 15,432 fans, the largest home crowd this season.
THE NUMBERS TELL THE STORY
If the Chicago Wolves had allowed one power-play goal on Saturday night at Texas instead of two, then they’d be one of just four AHL teams that ranks among the top 10 in four crucial categories: goals for, goals against, power-play conversion rate and penalty-kill percentage.
North Division leader Syracuse, Pacific Division leader Bakersfield and second-place North Division squad Rochester are the three that rank among the top 10 in all four categories. The Wolves rank sixth in goals per game (3.35), fourth in goals-against per game (2.75), ninth in power-play conversion rate (20.5 percent) and 12th on the penalty kill (81.5 percent).
The Wolves technically share first place in the Central Division with Iowa at 72 points apiece, but the Wolves have two games in hand. Grand Rapids sits one point back in third while Texas and Rockford are tied for fourth with 63 points.
San Antonio has gone 3-5-2-0 in its last 10 games and currently sits at the bottom of the Central Division with 58 points. The Rampage played at home just once in the month of February (a 2-0 win over Grand Rapids), so their annual rodeo road trip might explain their recent struggles. San Antonio is 6-20-4-0 in road contests compared to a 20-6-2-0 record at AT&T Center — good for the third-best home winning percentage in the AHL. The Rampage allow just 2.14 goals per game at home and have posted four shutouts.
BY THE NUMBERS
3: The Wolves’ prowess during even-strength play shows up in the league’s plus/minus ratings as Chicago owns the top three spots and four of the top five. Daniel Carr continues to lead the AHL with his +35 rating while linemate Gage Quinney is second at +34. Rookie defensemen Zach Whitecloud ranks third at +32 while Nic Hague is part of a three-way tie for fifth at +25.
6: The Wolves’ 4-2 loss to Texas on Saturday night was an aberration in at least one regard: It marked the first time in seven outings that the Wolves allowed more than two goals in a game. Goaltenders Max Lagace and Oscar Dansk led for that six-game streak that hadn’t happened in the organization since the 2008-09 season, when Ondrej Pavelec went six straight games allowing two goals or fewer.
12: Daniel Carr’s overtime goal against Texas on March 1 marked his 12th power-play goal this season for the Wolves. Prior to the 2018-19 season, Carr had an AHL career total of 12 power-play goals, scoring three goals on the man-advantage in each of his first four seasons. Carr owns 27 power-play points (12G, 15A), good for third among AHL skaters and the goal also happened to extend Carr’s point streak to a career-high 12 games.
30: The Wolves and their NHL partner, the Vegas Golden Knights, have been blessed with relatively good health this season, which is symbolized by the fact the Wolves have needed to use just 30 players to this point in the season. Center Tobias Lindberg became player No. 30 Friday night. If the Wolves don’t break in any more players this season, then they’ll tie the franchise record for fewest players set by the 1995-96 team.
34: The Wolves are outscoring their opponents by 34 goals this season (191-157), which trails only Syracuse and Bakersfield for the best goal differential in the AHL. Most of that advantage has been piled up during the first period, when Chicago has outscored its foes 67-41. Nobody in the AHL is close to that +26 margin. The Wolves also outscore opponents by 16 (60-44) in the third. Only Syracuse boasts a better differential.
97: AHL All-Star left wing Daniel Carr enters tonight’s action with 18 points (9G, 9A) in 13 games since the All-Star break. For the season, he’s averaging 1.39 points per game. If he maintains this pace over the team’s final 19 games, he’ll finish with 97 points this season. He would become the AHL’s most prolific points producer since 2009-10, when Hershey’s Keith Aucoin scored 106 points and teammate Alexandre Giroux added 103.
356: If you’ve suited up for the Wolves, chances are better than 50/50 that you’ve also played in the National Hockey League. When recent Wolves forward Mackenzie MacEachern made his NHL debut on Jan. 10 for the St. Louis Blues, he became the 356th player (out of 619 Wolves all-time) who have competed for the Wolves and in the NHL. That 57.5 percent overall success rate is even higher among goaltenders. Of the 55 players who’ve tended the net for the Wolves over the years — starting with original goaltenders Ray LeBlanc and Wendell Young and continuing through current Wolves Max Lagace and Oscar Dansk — 38 boast NHL experience (69.1 percent).
THE NEXT THREE GAMES
All games are streamed on AHLTV.