IOWA WILD (19-12-2-2) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (16-16-3-1)
ELVENES HAS ALL-STAR PLANS
Just as he stepped on the ice for Friday’s practice, Chicago Wolves rookie forward Lucas Elvenes learned from Wolves general manager Wendell Young that he earned a spot in the 2020 All-Star Classic on Jan. 26-27 in Ontario, California.
The 20-year-old from Angelholm, Sweden leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 31 points (7G, 24A) in 36 games. Among all skaters, Elvenes shares eighth place in scoring and fourth in assists.
“Of course, I am proud to get selected to the All-Star Game, but I’ve got to thank all my teammates, too,” Elvenes said. “They’re making it easy for me out there. That’s the biggest reason why I’m on the All-Star team.”
Elvenes started the season hot as he produced four points (G, 3A) in the opener against Grand Rapids and wound up winning the AHL’s Rookie of the Month award for October after piling up four goals and 11 assists in 10 games. Elvenes produced a team-high 11-game point streak from Oct. 12 to Nov. 7 as he delivered four goals and 12 assists during that stretch.
“He’s had a great year so far,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “I think he had a great start to the year. At times, when we were really injured, he was our lone offensive threat. That was a big burden for a young player. Then, as you go, the opposition starts to take notice that you’re leading the league in points and you get a lot harder matchups. But he has been quite consistent.”
DANSK EARNS GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH
For the third year in a row, Wolves goaltender Oscar Dansk has strung together a seven-game winning streak. He went undefeated during December and was rewarded on Thursday with the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month award.
During December, Dansk posted a 7-0-0 record with a 1.57 goals-against average (11 goals in 420 minutes, 50 seconds) and a .943 save percentage (183 saves on 194 shots). He capped the month with a 2-0 whitewash of Grand Rapids on Dec. 31 — his second shutout of the season.
Dansk’s winning streak ended Thursday night in the Wolves’ 2-1 overtime loss against Texas, but it was still the seventh time in his last eight games that his goals-against average stood at 2.01 or below. The 25-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden has not dropped a game in regulation since Nov. 29 at Rockford.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
While rookie forward Lucas Elvenes was the only current Chicago Wolves player to be named to the 2020 All-Star Classic, three recent Wolves also made the grade: Colorado Eagles center T.J. Tynan, Toronto Marlies goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Andrew Agozzino.
Elvenes becomes the 40th Wolves player to be named to an All-Star squad since the franchise was founded in 1994. It seems unlikely anyone will match Steve Maltais’ record of seven All-Star appearances.
Recent Wolves All-Star honorees include Andre Benoit (2016), Kenny Agostino (2017), Erik Brannstrom (2019), Pat Cannone (2016), Daniel Carr (2019), Vince Dunn (2017), Brad Hunt (2017), Tomas Hyka (2018), Brandon Pirri (2018 and 2019) and T.J. Tynan (2018).
LAST TWO GAMES
- Texas center Josh Melnick scored 1:52 into overtime to give the Stars the extra point in the AHL’s first game of the new year and decade.
- Forward Curtis McKenzie scored in the first period to stake the Wolves to a 1-0 lead. Center Gage Quinney and forward Lucas Elvenes earned assists on the play.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 20 saves as his seven-game winning streak came to a close.
- The Wolves looked ahead to 2020 with the numerologically appropriate 2-0 victory sparked by 20 saves from goaltender Oscar Dansk.
- Forwards Tye McGinn and Valentin Zykov tallied the final goals of the decade for the Wolves while Nicolas Roy, Reid Duke and Brandon Pirri earned the final assists.
- Dansk registered his seventh win in a row and his second shutout of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: The Milwaukee Admirals and the Iowa Wild are the only Central Division teams with a positive goal differential this season. The Admirals are +41 while the Wild jumped to +2 with Friday night’s 5-1 win over Rockford. Since the start of December, however, the Texas Stars and Chicago Wolves have joined the Admirals on the good side of the goal differential equation. Texas has been +7 in goals (41-34) while forging an 8-4-2-0 record while the Wolves have been +3 (29-26) while earning a 7-3-1-1 record.
5: Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson has been able to write five players into the lineup for all 36 games this season: Forwards Patrick Brown, Lucas Elvenes, Jake Leschyshyn, Tye McGinn and Curtis McKenzie. That’s the same number as last year, when Nic Hague, Keegan Kolesar, Brooks Macek, McKenzie and T.J. Tynan played the first 36. This year’s quintet has combined for 34 goals and 46 assists. On the blue line, Dylan Coghlan, Jaycob Megna and Jimmy Schuldt have played 35 games apiece.
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.
21: Five rookie forwards have scored their first AHL goals this season for the Wolves. In a weird coincidence, these first goals have been spaced out almost exactly 21 days apart. On Oct. 5, Lucas Elvenes scored in the season opener against Grand Rapids. Twenty-one days later (Oct. 26), Jake Leschyshyn scored vs. Manitoba. Twenty-two days later (Nov. 17), Ben Jones scored at Iowa. Twenty days later (Dec. 7), Jermaine Loewen scored at Manitoba. Twenty-one days later (Dec. 28), Paul Cotter’s first goal served as the GWG at Iowa. This suggests another Wolves rookie forward should be on target for a first goal on Jan. 18.
72: With center Nicolas Roy being recalled from loan by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, the Wolves have been part of 72 player transactions since the regular season opened on Oct. 5. While a few have been paper transactions engineered by the Golden Knights, the 72 transactions helps to explain some of the inconsistency the Wolves have experienced this season. To help put that number into perspective, the Wolves had been a part of just 21 regular-season transactions as of Jan. 4, 2019. The Wolves finished the 2018-19 regular season with just 57 player transactions as they won the Central Division and wound up in the Calder Cup Finals.
100: When the Wolves defeated the Texas Stars by a 2-1 count on Dec. 21, head coach Rocky Thompson earned his 100th regular-season victory behind the Wolves bench. Thompson boasts a 102-61-16-9 record (.609) and a pair of Central Division titles since taking the reins prior to the 2017-18 season — and also led Chicago to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals. Only AHL Hall of Famer John Anderson (624 wins in 14 seasons) has delivered more wins for the Wolves.
|Sunday, Jan. 5||at Rockford||MetroCentre||4 p.m.||Watch|
|Friday, Jan. 10||at San Antonio||AT&T Center||7 p.m.||Watch|
|Saturday, Jan. 11||at San Antonio||AT&T Center||7 p.m.||Watch|