CHICAGO WOLVES (6-5-1-0) AT IOWA WILD (7-1-2-1)
HEY, DON’T WE KNOW YOU?
When last the Chicago Wolves and the Iowa Wild met, the teams were shaking hands in the middle of Allstate Arena on May 13 after a hard-fought Central Division Finals series. The Wolves claimed the first two games, the Wild took the next two games and then the Wolves rallied to take Games 5 and 6 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Both teams bear a moderate resemblance to the squads that battled during the first two weeks of May. The Wolves totaled 47 points in that series — 20 of which were scored by players on today’s roster: forward Curtis McKenzie (five goals), center Gage Quinney (one goal, three assists), defensemen Zach Whitecloud (one goal, two assists), Nic Hague (one goal, two assists) and Jake Bischoff (three assists) and forward Tye McGinn (two assists). In addition, goaltender Oscar Dansk (2.08 GAA, .911 save percentage) handled the net exclusively for Chicago in that series.
The Wild notched 32 points during the series as forward Gerald Mayhew (five goals, one assist) served as their big gun. Defenseman Hunter Warner (one goal, two assists) and forwards Sam Anas (three assists), Kyle Rau (one goal, one assist), Will Bitten (two assists) and Mitch McLain (one assist) are other Iowa holdovers who got on the scoresheet. Goaltender Andrew Hammond, who played every minute in goal, has moved on to the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
WE’RE MORNING PEOPLE
There’s something about dropping the puck before lunch that appeals to the Wolves. Head coach Rocky Thompson’s squad already has one School-Day Game triumph under its belt this season: a 3-2 home win over Texas on Oct. 23. Gage Quinney scored twice while Garret Sparks posted a season-high 39 saves.
In fact, the Wolves have posted a 7-0-0-1 record in their last eight morning starts while outscoring their opponents by a 33-18 margin. One year ago today, Daniel Carr tied a franchise record with four goals and Brooks Macek handed out five assists as the Wolves won 5-3 at Milwaukee.
Quinney has been a reliable power source in the morning. He posted four goals and two assists in Chicago’s five early games last season, so that means he owns eight points (6G, 2A) in six morning games since joining the organization prior to the 2018-19 season. Goaltender Oscar Dansk played two of the five day games last year and won them both: Nov. 7 at Milwaukee and Dec. 18 vs. Texas.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
In addition to the nearly 30 Chicago Wolves alums in the National Hockey League, several former Wolves are succeeding in the Kontinental Hockey League.
A look at the KHL’s Top 25 scoring list shows a fistful of ex-Wolves. Dmitrij Jaskin, who helped the Wolves win the 2014 Midwest Division crown, shares seventh place with 21 points (9G, 12A) in 24 games for Dynamo Moskva. Brooks Macek, who scored 26 goals for the Wolves last year, owns 8 goals and 11 assists for Yekaterinburg Automobilist. Center Patrice Cormier (8G, 10A), forward Nigel Dawes (9G, 8A) and center Jordan Schroeder (8G, 9A) also rank among the Top 25.
Who leads the KHL in scoring? Vadim Shipachyov (8G, 22A), who participated in one Wolves practice during 2017-18 as part of his brief time in Vegas’ organization.
LAST TWO GAMES
- The Wolves held a 4-2 lead after 50 minutes, but surrendered four goals in a six-minute stretch to suffer the Illinois Lottery Cup loss.
- Defenseman Jimmy Schuldt delivered his first goal as a pro while defenseman Zach Whitecloud and forwards Lucas Elvenes and Reid Duke also scored for the Wolves.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 16 saves in 22 shots.
- The Wolves’ five-game winning streak came to a close as Milwaukee scored three times in the opening 12 minutes, six seconds to set the tone at Panther Arena.
- Forward Tyrell Goulbourne scored his first goal in a Wolves uniform, center Gage Quinney posted a power-play goal and defenseman Nic Hague assisted on both.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped six of nine shots and Dylan Ferguson rejected 13 of 14 in relief.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Twenty-year-old forward Lucas Elvenes ranks first in the AHL in assists (13) and ranks second behind Grand Rapids veteran Chris Terry in points (18). He also boasts the league’s longest active point streak as he brings a 10-game run (4G, 10A) into today’s game. Accordingly, it was no surprise when Elvenes was honored as the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for October. What was surprising? The fact no Wolves player had captured the Rookie of the Month award since Brett Sterling in November and December of the 2006-07 season. Sterling, by the way, went on to earn the Dudley “Red” Garrett award that goes to the most outstanding rookie for the year.
5: The Wolves shuffled five players on their roster Monday. Center Nicolas Roy and defenseman Nic Hague were recalled from loan by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Goaltender Dylan Ferguson was reassigned by Vegas to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets while forward Jermaine Loewen and defenseman Brayden Pachal returned to the Wolves from Fort Wayne. The 21-year-old Loewen recorded his first professional goal during his three-game stint with the Komets while Pachal picked up a pair of assists.
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.
13: Thirteen of the 25 players on the Wolves’ current roster boast NHL experience. The group includes five players who’ve already seen action with the Vegas Golden Knights this season. Defensemen Jake Bischoff (four games) and Nic Hague (nine games) made their NHL debuts last month while center Nicolas Roy has played in two games and goaltenders Oscar Dansk and Garret Sparks each have appeared in one game.
49: Center Gage Quinney registered two assists Wednesday night at Tucson, which pushed his AHL career total to 49 helpers in 135 regular-season games. Quinney has gotten off to a blistering start this season as the Wolves’ top-line center working alongside Lucas Elvenes and Tye McGinn. Quinney owns six goals and six assists through 12 games and shares ninth place in the league with 12 points.
250: Everyone thought forward Curtis McKenzie earned his 250th career AHL point Sunday when he helped on Reid Duke’s goal at Rockford. Instead, that wound up becoming his 251st point. Why? Because the AHL made a scoring correction official on Monday that added an assist for McKenzie on Duke’s empty-net goal Oct. 30 at Tucson, so that becomes his 250th point. The 28-year-old Golden, British Columbia, native has a ways to go to catch up to the league’s active leaders. Former Iowa Wild captain Cal O’Reilly leads all active AHL scorers with 584 points since joining the league in 2006.
1,000: The Wolves are slated to play their 1,000th regular-season home game on Nov. 19 against the San Antonio Rampage. The franchise boasts a 588-301-9-36-62 record at Allstate Arena, which breaks down to be a .644 winning percentage. The organization owns a .532 winning percentage on the road (491-387-15-48-56) as the Wolves have earned an average of 7.24 more points per year in Rosemont than on the road.