Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the scoop on the 2019 Western Conference champions as they embark on the journey toward the 2020 Calder Cup.
ROSTER MOVES APLENTY
The Chicago Wolves have made a flurry of roster moves over the last week as they balance injuries to their players as well as those of their NHL partner, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Goaltender Garret Sparks was recalled to Vegas on Nov. 26 on an emergency basis. While he flew to Nashville to join the Golden Knights, goaltender Dylan Ferguson got off the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets team bus out east and hopped on a west-bound bus to join the Wolves — arriving at 2 a.m. on a game day.
Sparks returned to the Wolves on Saturday, Nov. 29, and played against the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 30 before returning to Vegas on Dec. 1 — again on an emergency basis. Similarly, center Nicolas Roy has been recalled twice by Vegas on an emergency basis in the last 10 days — most recently hours before the Wolves game on Nov. 30.
However, the Wolves have gained NHL experience with the addition of forward Valentin Zykov. Vegas loaned Zykov, who led the AHL with 33 goals in 2017-18, to the Wolves on Thanksgiving. He has produced two assists in his first two Wolves games. Also, the Wolves signed forward Cam Maclise on Monday.
FEEL THE FORCE DEC. 14
On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Wolves host their annual Star Wars Night at Allstate Arena as part of their 7 p.m. game against the Milwaukee Admirals. Fans are encouraged to dress and join forces with the Midwest Garrison (the Illinois chapter of the 501st Legion), transform into Jedi Knights with laser swords and share excitement for the new Star Wars movie.
To learn more about special Star Wars Night ticket packages, please contact Nicholas Cottrell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 832-1946.
U.S. MARINES TOYS FOR TOTs DRIVE
As part of the “Get Fed By The Wolves” fundraiser Sunday afternoon at Adobe Gila’s in Rosemont, generous Wolves fans filled bags with new, unwrapped toys for the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Drive. If you missed your chance to participate, not to worry! The Wolves will be collecting toys at the next three home games: Dec. 14, 21 and 22.
Curtis McKenzie was in the holiday spirit last week as he amassed three goals and three assists in three games for the Wolves. The 28-year-old forward delivered two goals and two assists in the Wolves’ decisive 5-2 win over Grand Rapids on Nov. 27 and added two points in Chicago’s 3-2 overtime loss to Manitoba on Nov. 30.
Since Brandon Pirri’s return to the Wolves on loan from Vegas on Nov. 17, the Toronto, Ont. native has made a big impact with the Wolves with two goals and three assists in six appearances. Most recently, Pirri notched two assists against Manitoba on Nov. 30. Pirri is now just one point shy of his 300th AHL point.
Veteran defenseman Jaycob Megna prides himself on his work in the defensive zone, but he stepped up at the offensive end when he scored the game-winning goal on Nov. 27 versus Grand Rapids. Since Megna’s professional debut in 2013, the 26-year-old has notched 73 points (12G, 61A).
LAST WEEK (1-1-1-0)
- The Wolves rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime, but Moose defenseman Jonathan Kovacevic scored 18 seconds into extra time to give the visitors the victory.
- Forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jimmy Schuldt produced power-play goals while forward Brandon Pirri assisted on both scores.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks notched 17 saves.
- The Rockford IceHogs scored three goals during an eight-minute stretch of the second period to take control of the Illinois Lottery Cup contest in Rockford.
- Forwards Ben Jones and Brandon Pirri scored goals while forwards Jermaine Loewen and Valentin Zykov scored their first points in a Chicago uniform.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 22 shots.
- Veteran forward Curtis McKenzie produced two goals, two assists and a +4 plus-minus rating as the Wolves led from start to finish at Allstate Arena.
- Forward Tye McGinn and defensemen Jimmy Schuldt and Jaycob Megna scored goals while center Nicolas Roy contributed two assists.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 27 saves to earn the win.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Wednesday, Dec. 4||at Grand Rapids||6 p.m.||Van Andel Arena||AHLTV|
|Friday, Dec. 6||at Manitoba||7 p.m.||Bell MTS Place||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Dec. 7||at Manitoba||6 p.m.||Bell MTS Place||AHLTV|
|Friday, Dec. 13||at Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Panther Arena||My50|
|Saturday, Dec. 14||vs. Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|