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.
WOLVES ARE 8-2-1-1 over the last month
After a hot December, the Wolves knew they had a big challenge to maintain their winning form in the new year. After dropping a physical game against Iowa on Jan. 4, the Wolves came back stronger than ever as they’ve won three games in a row (by an average of two goals per game) to land comfortably into third place of the Central Division.
The Wolves started their run with an Illinois Lottery Cup win at Rockford, then they ventured to Texas and knocked off the San Antonio Rampage on back-to-back nights. Goaltender Oscar Dansk pushed his record to 9-0-1 in his last 10 starts while fellow goaltender Garret Sparks snapped a hard-luck streak of 11 consecutive winless starts. During those 11 starts, the 26-year-old Elmhurst native received just 12 goals of support.
The Wolves are riding a five-game road winning streak heading into Wednesday’s game at first-place Milwaukee. Then they get the chance to earn crucial points this weekend at Allstate Arena as Milwaukee comes to town 7 p.m. Saturday and Rockford arrives for an Illinois Lottery Cup tilt at 3 p.m. Sunday.
HOW TO WIN A MILITARY APPRECIATION JERSEY
The Wolves will wear their exclusive Military Appreciation jerseys, presented by Turtle Wax, for this weekend’s home games. All of these game-worn jerseys are being auctioned and raffled with proceeds to help the USO, Honor Flight Chicago, K9s for Veterans and Chicago Wolves Charities.
Most jerseys will be part of the silent auction that takes place during Saturday’s and Sunday’s games behind Section 105, but there are also six jerseys available via a blind auction online. To place bids on jerseys for forwards Lucas Elvenes, Gage Quinney and Keegan Kolesar, defensemen Dylan Coghlan and Zach Whitecloud and mascot Skates, click here.
Of course, there’s so much more happening this weekend. Saturday’s game features Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by ABC Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, Cooling and Electric, so bring new stuffed animals to throw on the ice at first intermission! All will be donated to Facing Forward To End Homelessness. There’s also a free postgame skate, courtesy of Wilmot Mountain.
Sunday’s game is Superhero Day, presented by Xfinity, so all fans are encouraged to dress like their favorite superhero and meet superheroes on the concourse. It’s also Little Debbie Sunday, which includes free Brookfield Zoo passes for the first 1,000 kids into the arena.
KOLESAR’S GOLDEN KNIGHTS DEBUT
Chicago Wolves forward Keegan Kolesar made his NHL debut as a starter for the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 11. The Brandon, Manitoba, native started the new year off great with the Wolves as he produced two goals and an assist in two games for the Wolves. After his two-goal game on Jan. 10, the 21-year-old was rewarded by being recalled from loan by Vegas.
After winning all seven of his starts in December, goaltender Oscar Dansk has continued to roll in 2020 as he recorded back-to-back wins for the Wolves against Rockford on Jan. 5 and San Antonio on Jan. 10. Over the course of the two games, Dansk recorded 64 saves with just four goals allowed.
Left wing Valentin Zykov has played a large part in the Wolves winning their last three games. The St. Petersburg, Russia, native notched three goals — including both game-winning goals in San Antonio — and an assist. Since joining the Wolves, the 24-year-old has recorded six goals and five assists in 13 appearances.
The Wolves have seen a increased point production by their defensemen in the new year. Most recently, Jimmy Schuldt has produced assists in three consecutive wins for the Wolves. The defenseman has notched five goals and 13 assists so far this season, which ranks him first in points among all Wolves defensemen.
LAST WEEK (2-0-0-0)
- The Wolves scored the game’s final three goals to rally for the victory and extend their season-high road winning streak to five games.
- Forwards Curtis McKenzie, Gage Quinney and Valentin Zykov and defenseman Jaycob Megna scored with Zykov picking up the game-winning goal.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks posted 33 saves to earn his first win since Nov. 7.
- Forward Keegan Kolesar scored two power-play goals in the first 11 minutes as the Wolves’ special teams piled up a season-high three PPGs along with one shorthanded goal.
- Forwards Valentin Zykov, Brandon Pirri and Patrick Brown also scored while Reid Duke set up both of Kolesar’s goals as the Wolves moved above .500 for the first time since Nov. 9.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk notched 33 saves to pick up the win.
NEXT FIVE GAMES
|Wednesday, Jan. 15||at Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Panther Arena||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 18||vs. Milwaukee||7 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Sunday, Jan. 19||vs. Rockford||3 p.m.||Allstate Arena||My50|
|Friday, Jan. 24||at Texas||7 p.m.||H-E-B Center||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||at Texas||7 p.m.||H-E-B Center||AHLTV|