Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the scoop on all Chicago Wolves developments throughout the team’s 25th anniversary season.
THE PLAYOFF CLINCHER NEARS
The Wolves are closing in on their 20th playoff berth in the 25-year franchise history after picking up a pair of wins in Texas last week. Chicago leads the Central Division with 86 points, two better than second-place Grand Rapids, and owns a magic number of four to become the first team in the division to secure a spot in the race for the Calder Cup. The Wolves can clinch as soon as Friday.
The roster has shifted considerably in the back half of the season with trades and injuries, but the Wolves have taken it in stride and continue to outmatch opponents with every line they put out on the ice. The Wolves lost AHL All-Star and league points leader Daniel Carr to injury, but forward Curtis McKenzie stepped in and has posted points in six of the last eight games, including four multi-point outings. After rookie defenseman Erik Brännström was involved in a trade, first-year blueliner Dylan Coghlan stepped in on the man-advantage – Coghlan now ranks third among league rookies and second among AHL defensemen with his nine power-play goals.
The Chicago Wolves host their annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser on Wednesday, April 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse Rosemont. Fans will have the opportunity to sample a variety of different wines while socializing with some of their favorite Chicago Wolves players. There will be a variety of auction and raffle items for fans to bid on and a free gift for everyone at the end of the night.
SALUTE TO MILITARY FAMILIES NIGHT
The Chicago Wolves will host the fifth annual Salute to Military Families Night, presented by your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Kia dealers, on March 30 when they host Milwaukee at Allstate Arena. The Wolves will honor current and former servicemen and servicewomen and their families throughout the night, as well as hosting a pregame Military Resource Fair to showcase organizations and companies that provide support to veterans and their families.
Forward Keegan Kolesar tallied goals in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, bringing his season total to 16 goals and 31 points. Kolesar has scored in four of his last six games, despite missing two games with injury during that span.
Forward Curtis McKenzie extended his point streak to four games when he handed out five assists this week for the Wolves. McKenzie has nine goals and 14 assists for Chicago since the team returned from the All-Star Break and is the only player this season to compete in all 66 Wolves contests.
Goaltender Oscar Dansk allowed just two regulation goals in three starts this week, backstopping the Wolves to a pair of wins and a shootout loss. Those efforts earned Dansk the CCM/AHL Player of the Week honor.
SATURDAY, MARCH 23: CHICAGO 5, (at) SAN ANTONIO 0
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk saved 31 shots in his fourth straight start, earning his second shutout of the season in the victory over the Rampage.
- Forwards Tye McGinn, Keegan Kolesar, Matthew Weis and Tomas Hyka and rookie defenseman Nic Hague all scored for Chicago.
- Forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jake Bischoff each handed out a pair of assists in the victory.
FRIDAY, MARCH 22: CHICAGO 4, (at) TEXAS 1
- The Wolves shrugged off an early 1-1 knot to produce a three-goal victory and finish the regular-season series with a 6-2-0-0 record against Texas.
- Defenseman Dylan Coghlan and forwards Ryan Wagner, Keegan Kolesar and Tomas Hyka scored goals while T.J. Tynan and Curtis McKenzie handed out two assists apiece.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 23 saves.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20: (at) ROCKFORD 2, CHICAGO 1 (SO)
- The Wolves overcame a second-period deficit but were unable to capitalize during the three-round shootout to overtake the IceHogs.
- Forward Gage Quinney scored his third short-handed goal of the season for Chicago to knot the game in the second period.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk recorded 28 saves.