MANITOBA MOOSE (1-6-0-0) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (3-3-1-0)
nothing like the mighty quinney
Don’t get it twisted: Chicago Wolves center Gage Quinney was no slouch last year. Flanked by wings Daniel Carr and Brooks Macek on one of the American Hockey League’s best lines, Quinney stacked up 19 goals and 24 assists in 68 regular-season games. His +36 plus/minus rating tied for second-best in the AHL.
But as good as he was last season, Quinney has taken his play another notch this season. The 24-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada, native owns four goals and two assists through seven games this season. He scored two of those in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Texas Stars. Quinney also has gone 2-for-2 in shootout attempts. The first time (on Jan. 12 in San Antonio), he was the only one to convert to guide the Wolves to the win. The second time (on Jan. 19 vs. Rockford), he led off with a score to set the stage for another Wolves shootout win.
As an added bonus, Quinney is centering the Wolves’ top line that includes veteran left wing Tye McGinn and rookie right wing Lucas Elvenes. The latter ranks second in the AHL with 11 points in the first seven games. Elvenes set up Quinney’s first goal Wednesday, then Elvenes and McGinn set up Quinney’s second goal.
“I think (Quinney) makes his teammates better,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “He plays a 200-foot game. He defends well. He’s very smart, so he can make adjustments. And his offensive game has been good — ever since he has played for me, anyway — but I think it’s elevating even to another level. He’s a top guy now on the power play, for example, where last year he played on the second unit. I just see him getting better each day. I think he can play in the NHL.”
A FLURRY OF RECENT MOVES
The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights loaned defenseman Zach Whitecloud to the Wolves on Tuesday, which meant that Chicago regained the services of the AHL’s 2018-19 champion in plus-minus rating (+39). But that was just the start of a string of transactions designed to help the Wolves and the Golden Knights.
On Wednesday morning, one hour before the Wolves began their 3-2 victory over the Texas Stars, defenseman Nic Hague (Whitecloud’s blue line partner most of last season) was loaned to the Wolves. Hague played in Chicago’s win, then was recalled from loan six hours after joined the Wolves. Vegas also added goaltender Garret Sparks (who played in a reserve role Friday afternoon) while reassigning goaltender Oscar Dansk (who played one game for Vegas) to the Wolves.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
When the Chicago Wolves were founded in 1994, center Todd Harkins was one of several players with NHL experience signed by the Wolves.
The Calgary Flames’ second-round pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft had seen 20 games with the Flames and 28 with the Hartford Whalers before joining the Wolves.
Harkins rolled up 18 goals and 25 assists in 52 games for the Wolves before being moved to the Houston Aeros. Now the Wolves get to face Jansen Harkins, Todd’s son, who was selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets.
last two games
- The Wolves scored three first-period goals in front of a loud School-Day Game crowd at Allstate Arena and held on for the victory over Texas.
- Center Gage Quinney scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, while center Patrick Brown scored the other. Forward Lucas Elvenes earned assists on both of Quinney’s tallies.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks posted a season-high 39 saves.
- 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.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Last season, the Wolves led the American Hockey League in scoring first as Chicago earned the opening goal in 48 of its 76 regular-season games. This year, however, the Wolves have not made a habit of scoring early. The Wolves have posted the first goal just once in their first seven games — when rookie forward Lucas Elvenes scored in the third period Oct. 12 at San Antonio. The Wolves share last place in the First Goal category with Iowa, San Diego and San Jose while Manitoba is next on the list with two First Goals in its first seven games.
5: Center Gage Quinney’s two-goal effort during Wednesday’s School-Day game against the Texas Stars marked his fifth multi-goal effort since joining the Wolves at the start of last year. He registered two goals on Oct. 6 at Colorado, a hat trick Oct. 24 versus Cleveland in his first Wolves School-Day Game, two goals Jan. 16 against Grand Rapids and two goals at Charlotte in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.
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.
17: The last 17 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 tonight’s game riding a 351-minute, 23-second streak without allowing a power-play goal.
99: The Wolves acquired veteran forward Tye McGinn from the Manitoba Moose on Jan. 3 — the same day the Moose acquired Wolves defenseman Jimmy Oligny from Vegas. It was a move that turned out to be beneficial for both teams. When 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 380 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.
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 587-301-9-36-62 record at Allstate Arena, which breaks down to be a .644 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.