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Gameday: Seeing Stars in the morn

TEXAS STARS (3-2-0-1) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (2-3-1-0)

Wednesday, Oct. 23 | 11 a.m. | Allstate Arena | AHLTV | Facebook Live

FERGUSON JOINS THE PANTHEON

Rookie goaltender Dylan Ferguson made his American Hockey League debut Sunday afternoon and backstopped the Chicago Wolves to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. The Lantzville, British Columbia, native rejected 35 of 37 shots during regulation and overtime before stopping both of the Admirals’ shootout attempts.

It was an impressive performance for anyone, but particularly for a 21-year-old who hadn’t played a professional game — with the exception of a nine-minute stint during mopup time for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 14, 2017.

“He’s confident – and that’s one of his biggest strengths,” Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson said after the game. “He doesn’t let the moment take control of his emotions. People would call that a gamer. They love playing – it doesn’t matter the situation. If you’re under a big spotlight, they just want to play. That’s important. Probably the most important quality when you’re a goaltender.”

At 21 years and 30 days of age, Ferguson became the youngest goaltender to win a Wolves game since Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jordan Binnington — who was 20 years old when he helped the Wolves earn a shootout win over the Rockford IceHogs on Jan. 5, 2014. But Binnington isn’t the youngest goaltender in Wolves history to earn a win.

It’s a pretty impressive list that Ferguson joined:

GOALTENDER BIRTHDATE FIRST WOLVES WIN AGE
Rick DiPietro Sept. 19, 1981 Oct. 7, 2000 at Cincinnati 19 years, 18 days
Eddie Pasquale Nov. 20, 1990 Oct. 10, 2010 at OKC 19 years, 324 days
Kari Lehtonen Nov. 16, 1983 Oct. 18, 2003 vs. Utah 19 years, 336 days
Ondrej Pavelec Aug. 31, 1987 Oct. 6, 2007 at Houston 20 years, 36 days
Jordan Binnington July 11, 1993 Jan. 5, 2014 vs. Rockford 20 years, 178 days
Dylan Ferguson Sept. 20, 1998 Oct. 20, 2019 vs. MIL 21 years, 30 days
Michael Garnett Nov. 25, 1982 Jan. 17, 2004 vs. Manitoba 21 years, 53 days

welcome back, zach

As a rookie last season, defenseman Zach Whitecloud led the American Hockey League in plus-minus rating last season (+39) and played a crucial role on the Wolves’ Western Conference championship squad. Whitecloud was contending for a job with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights this fall when he suffered an injury during an exhibition game. After working hard on his rehabilitation, Whitecloud was loaned to the Wolves by Vegas on Tuesday.

WE ARE THE WOLVES

In March 2012, the Chicago Wolves signed undrafted free agent defenseman Brad Hunt to a tryout contract.  Hunt joined the team shortly after wrapping up his college career at Bemidji State — and promptly looked like he belonged.

Hunt represented the Wolves in the AHL’s 2013 All-Star Game and made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers a year later. After enjoying some time with St. Louis, Nashville and Vegas, Hunt has found a home with the Minnesota Wild.

Hunt scored a goal Tuesday night in Minnesota’s 3-0 win over Edmonton, which gives him a career-high four goals this season (along with two assists) in just nine games. Hunt is on the list of the 367 current and former Wolves who have played in the NHL as more than 57 percent of all Wolves have reached the NHL.

last two games

SUNDAY, OCT. 20: (at) CHICAGO 3, MILWAUKEE 2 (SO)

  • The Wolves battled back from a 2-0 deficit to earn the shootout victory as centers Gage Quinney and Patrick Brown converted both of the team’s shootout attempts.
  • Brown scored both of the Wolves’ goals in regulation during the second period — banging home a rebound for the first one and knocking in a Lucas Elvenes pass for the game-tying tally.
  • Goaltender Dylan Ferguson stopped 35 shots in regulation and OT to win his first AHL start.

SATURDAY, OCT. 19: ROCKFORD 3, (at) CHICAGO 2 (OT)

  • 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.

BY THE NUMBERS

2: Veteran center Patrick Brown became the first Wolves player this season to score multiple goals in a game when he produced two goals in the 3-2 shootout win Sunday afternoon over Milwaukee (he scored in the shootout, too, for good measure). It hadn’t been that long since Brown’s previous two-goal effort. Last year while serving as the Charlotte Checkers’ captain, Brown scored a pair when the Checkers clinched the Eastern Conference championship against the Toronto Marlies on May 26.

3: The Texas Stars are serving as the opponent for the third time in a row and the fourth time in the Chicago Wolves’ last five School-Day Games. The Wolves won the last meeting by a 3-1 count on Feb. 21 when Gage Quinney, Curtis McKenzie and Daniel Carr scored. The Wolves also earned a 6-1 victory on Dec. 18, 2018, as defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored twice and Carr, Keegan Kolesar, Brandon Pirri and Tomas Hyka also tallied.

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.

16: The last 16 times a Wolves opponent has gone on the power play, the Wolves’ penalty-kill units have slammed the door on their man-advantage group. This streak began during the second period of the Wolves’ second game of the season on Oct. 11 at San Antonio. Head coach Rocky Thompson enters today’s game riding a 291-minute, 23-second streak without allowing a power-play goal.

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 379 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.

300: Veteran forward Curtis McKenzie played his 300th regular-season AHL game Sunday afternoon against the Milwaukee Admirals. McKenzie, who’s one of the three Wolves who wears the “A” on his sweater, ranks third on the squad in AHL games and owns 104 goals and 143 assists in those 300 games. He’s even better when the playoffs begin. He’s the only player to play in the last two Calder Cup Finals — one with the Wolves and one with the Texas Stars — and the only one to play in three of the last six Calder Cup Finals. He won the Cup with Texas in 2014.

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 586-301-9-36-62 record at Allstate Arena, which breaks down to be 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.

Upcoming Games

Saturday, Oct. 26 vs. Manitoba Allstate Arena 7 p.m. Tickets
Tuesday, Oct. 29 at Tucson Tucson CC 9 p.m. Watch
Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Tucson Tucson CC 9 p.m. Watch

 

All times Central. All games stream on AHLTV. The Oct. 26 game will be broadcast on My50.