MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS (20-4-2-2) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (11-15-2-0)
TIME FOR SOME HOME COOKIN’
The Chicago Wolves wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 4-1 loss Friday night to the Milwaukee Admirals. The Wolves posted a 2-2-0-0 record on the tour that featured visits to Grand Rapids and Manitoba in addition to Arthur Fonzarelli’s hometown.
The Wolves lead the American Hockey League in road games played (17) and have dealt with the league’s widest disparity between the number of road games and home games. Rocky Thompson’s crew has played just 11 times at Allstate Arena — and hasn’t been on home ice since Nov. 30.
The home-road differential starts to shrink tonight as the Wolves embark on a four-games-in-nine-days home stand that bumps into the holiday break. The last time Milwaukee came to town, the Wolves earned a 3-2 shootout victory that sparked a season-high five-game winning streak.
While it’s way too soon to start predicting another five-game streak — particularly considering the Admirals boast the AHL’s second-best winning percentage at .786 — it’s important to note the Wolves’ improvement over the last three weeks.
While the team’s record stands at 3-3-1-0 over the last seven games, the Wolves have outshot their opponents over that stretch (198-187), earned more power plays (31-19) and outscored their foes on special teams (6-2). One other nugget: While the Central Division-leading Admirals posted the 4-1 win Friday night, the Wolves outdid them 19-12 in scoring changes but goaltender Troy Grosenick fended off several great opportunities.
REINFORCEMENTS ON THE FRONT LINE
Kolesar, who scored 20 goals during the regular season last year and added six goals during the run to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals, sat out 14 games due to an upper-body injury. Quinney sat out five games with an injury while Goulbourne missed three games due to injury.
Quinney ranks second on the Wolves in points per game (0.85) as he owns six goals and 11 assists in 20 games. He also joins defenseman Jaycob Megna (+5) as the team’s only players with a positive plus-minus rating (+1).
WE ARE THE WOLVES
As the 2010s come to a close, the Chicago Wolves are hosting a series of fan votes to determine the franchise’s All-Decade Team. Considering the Wolves have won six division titles in the last 10 years — capped by a run to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals — there are a lot of great players from which to choose.
Voting begins with the goaltenders. The four finalists for the Goaltender of the Decade honor are Jake Allen, Jordan Binnington, Matt Climie and Oscar Dansk.
LAST TWO GAMES
- The Wolves grabbed the early lead, but the Admirals answered 90 seconds later and kept going to earn the win at Panther Arena.
- Forward Reid Duke scored 11:06 into the game to give the Wolves the lead — his third goal in as many games.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 28 of 31 shots.
- Rookie forward Jermaine Loewen, who grew up in Manitoba, scored his first AHL goal late in the first period to spark the Wolves’ victory at Bell MTS Place.
- Defenseman Dylan Coghlan and forwards Reid Duke and Lucas Elvenes also scored goals for Wolves, who won for the first time this season when firing more shots than their opponent.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 25 saves.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Wolves forward Lucas Elvenes continues to to rank No. 1 among all American Hockey League rookies in points (27) and assists (20). The 20-year-old from Angelholm, Sweden ranks third among all AHL players in assists — four behind league leader Jansen Harkins of Manitoba — while he shares fifth in points. That stands six behind Belleville’s Drake Batherson. A rookie has been the Wolves scoring champ just once in the first 25 years — when Ty Rattie paced the 2013-14 squad with 48 points (31G, 17A) in 72 games. Brett Sterling owns the franchise record for most points by a rookie. He racked up 97 points (55G, 42A) in 77 games during 2006-07.
3: Forward Reid Duke has scored one goal in each of the last three games to become the second Wolves player this season to piece together a three-game goal streak. Patrick Brown posted four goals in a three-game stretch Oct. 20-26. He started his spree with two goals and the game-winning shootout goal in the Wolves’ 3-2 win over Milwaukee on Oct. 20. If Duke pushes his run to a team-high four-game stretch tonight, then it means he’ll have scored his first goal at Allstate Arena since Dec. 2, 2018.
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.
8: Goaltender Garret Sparks dropped his eighth straight decision Friday night at Milwaukee. The west suburban Elmhurst native hasn’t earned a win since Nov. 7, but his winless stretch isn’t all his doing. The Wolves have scored just 11 goals in his last eight starts — and two of those came after he was pulled from the Nov. 13 game at Milwaukee.
67: Since the regular season opened on Oct. 5, the Wolves have been part of 67 player transactions. While a few of those have been paper transactions engineered by the Vegas Golden Knights, the 67 transactions helps to explain all of the transitions the Wolves have had to make this season. As a comparison, the Wolves made just 57 player transactions during the entire 2018-19 regular season that ended up in the Calder Cup Finals. On this same date last season, the Wolves had just 13 transactions on their ledger.
1988: The Wolves boast three players whose fathers were selected in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. Jake Leschyshyn’s father, Curtis, went No. 3 overall to the Quebec Nordiques. Lucas Elvenes’ father, Stefan, went in the fourth round (No. 71 overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks. Jake Bischoff’s father, Grant, went at the start of the 11th round (No. 211 overall) to the Minnesota North Stars. Other intriguing Wolves-related picks in that draft: Longtime general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was picked No. 16 overall by the New York Islanders. Ted Crowley, who scored the first goal in Wolves history on Oct. 1, 1994, went in the fourth round — one pick after Tony Amonte and two before Elvenes. Mike Rosati, who serves as the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending development coach and works with the Wolves goalies, was picked in the seventh round by the New York Rangers.
|Tuesday, Dec. 17||vs. San Antonio||Allstate Arena||11 a.m.||Tickets|
|Saturday, Dec. 21||vs. Texas||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Sunday, Dec. 22||vs. Texas||Allstate Arena||3 p.m.||Tickets|