MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (2-1-1-1) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (1-3-1-0)
A FINE LINE
The Chicago Wolves have scored just 10 goals on the ice through five games, which ranks near the bottom of the American Hockey League. However, the Wolves’ line of left wing Tye McGinn, center Gage Quinney and right wing Lucas Elvenes have enjoyed plenty of success — whether working together at even strength or joining forces with others on the power play.
Elvenes, a 20-year-old rookie, owns three goals and five assists after producing Chicago’s first goal in Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime home loss to the Rockford IceHogs. That means he has been a part of 80 percent of the Wolves’ goals. He shares third place on the AHL’s points list, but he ranks No. 1 in scoring among all AHL rookies.
Quinney, who set up Curtis McKenzie’s game-tying power-play goal in the waning minutes Saturday, has contributed two power-play goals and two assists to rank second on the Wolves in points. McGinn has one goal and one assist (which came Saturday helping Elvenes) on his ledger.
KILL AFTER KILL AFTER KILL
The Wolves allowed three power-play goals in five chances during their opener against Grand Rapids on Oct. 5, then gave up two power-play goals in San Antonio’s first three chances on Oct. 11.
But since the Rampage’s Derrick Pouliot scored a PPG goal at 3:25 of the second period in that game, the Wolves have killed 15 consecutive opposing power plays. That means the Wolves have gone 226 minutes and 23 seconds without allowing a PPG heading into this afternoon’s game.
“I think our penalty kill has been outstanding,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “And if you actually look back, even early on when we were like the worst in the league, we were doing really good and then we’d make one bad mistake…now the bad mistake is gone and I think we’re doing a good job of keeping teams on the run.”
WELCOME BACK, MVP
One of the primary reasons the Chicago Wolves reached the 2019 Calder Cup Finals was forward Daniel Carr, who earned the AHL’s Most Valuable Player award after producing 30 goals, 41 assists and a +35 plus/minus rating in 52 regular-season games. He also fought his way back from a lengthy injury to contribute five goals and seven assists in 15 Calder Cup games.
Carr, 27, signed a free-agent contract with the NHL’s Nashville Predators and made the club coming out of training camp. He appeared in three games for Nashville before being loaned to the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday. Carr made his Milwaukee debut Saturday night and posted one assist in the Admirals’ 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
After playing 136 American Hockey League games, including 130 for the Wolves, defenseman Jake Bischoff made his NHL debut Saturday night for the Vegas Golden Knights as Vegas shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on the road.
Bischoff, a prototypical defensive defenseman, played 16 minutes, 6 seconds and registered a +1 plus/minus rating while blocking three shots and posting two hits.
The Grand Rapids, Minnesota, native became the 367th Wolves player to compete at the NHL level. More than 57 percent of all Wolves have played in the NHL.
LAST TWO GAMES
- Rockford’s Tyler Sikura scored on a breakaway at 4:48 of overtime to give the IceHogs the Illinois Lottery Cup victory at Allstate Arena.
- Forwards Lucas Elvenes and Curtis McKenzie scored to rally the Wolves from a pair of one-goal deficits.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks posted 36 saves.
- The IceHogs scored three goals in the first period and made them stand up to take the first game of this season’s lllinois Lottery Cup competition.
- Defenseman Jaycob Megna and center Gage Quinney produced goals for the Wolves while rookie forward Lucas Elvenes assisted on both tallies.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 30 of 33 shots.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: It’s not an ideal way to start a season, but earning just one win in the first five games isn’t particularly rare for the Wolves — and it certainly isn’t fatal. The 2011-12 team piloted by Craig MacTavish scuffled out to an 1-2-0-2 start while managing just nine goals. That group recovered to win a division crown. In 2009-10, Don Granato’s Wolves lost four of their first five while scoring just 10 goals. While Granato lost his job one loss later, the Wolves rallied to win the division and reach Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs.
7: When the Wolves captured the Central Division title last April, they became the seventh organization in the American Hockey League’s 83-year history to win back-to-back-to-back division crowns. They joined the company of Toronto (2012-14), Rochester (1999-2001), Philadelphia (1997-99), Hershey (1967-69), Quebec (1964-66) and Springfield (1960-62). If the Wolves win the Central Division this year, they’ll become the first AHL franchise to win four straight titles.
9: When Wolves goaltender Dylan Ferguson was barely 19 years old, he made his professional debut on the biggest stage: He got to play nine minutes, 14 seconds for the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 14, 2017, when he entered late in a blowout. Ferguson saved one shot and allowed one goal against the Edmonton Oilers, but then he went back to his junior hockey team and hasn’t played in a professional game since. However, Ferguson seems a reasonable bet to make his Wolves debut today as Garret Sparks played the last two nights.
99: When veteran forward Tye McGinn scored a goal in the Wolves’ opener against Grand Rapids on Oct. 5, it marked his 99th goal at the AHL level. Since making his professional debut on Oct. 8, 2011, for the Adirondack Phantoms, McGinn has delivered 99 goals and 85 assists in 378 regular-season games. He also owns 11 goals in 50 Calder Cup Playoff games, which includes six goals during the Wolves’ run to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals. The 29-year-old Fergus, Ontario, native has played 89 NHL games and contributed nine goals with eight assists.
299: Veteran forward Curtis McKenzie celebrated his 299th regular-season AHL game with a power-play goal that forced overtime Saturday night against Rockford. Presuming McKenzie plays in today’s game, he’ll join Patrick Brown and Tye McGinn as current Wolves who’ve reached the 300-game marker. McKenzie, who’s the only player to play in the last two Calder Cup Finals and the only one to play in three of the last six, has contributed 104 goals and 143 assists in those 299 games. He also owns 24 goals and 29 assists in 73 Calder Cup games.
1,000: The Wolves are slated to play their 1,000th regular-season home game on Nov. 19, 2019, against the San Antonio Rampage. The franchise boasts a 585-301-9-36-62 record at Allstate Arena, which breaks down as a .643 winning percentage. The organization owns a .552 winning percentage on the road as the Wolves have earned an average of 7.24 more points per year in Rosemont than on the road.