ROCKFORD ICEHOGS (19-19-1-1) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (20-17-3-2)
TRICKS ARE FOR QUINNEY
Chicago Wolves center Gage Quinney sat out Wednesday’s shootout loss at Milwaukee due to a lower-body injury, but he made up for lost time when the Milwaukee Admirals visited the Wolves Saturday night. Quinney scored 2:29 into the game, then added two goals 45 seconds apart midway through the second period to earn his second AHL hat trick and lead the Wolves to the 4-1 victory.
Saturday’s performance was another example of how important the 24-year-old Quinney is to the Wolves’ cause. He has been forced to sit out eight of the last 20 games due to a nagging injury. In the eight games he missed, the Wolves posted a 3-2-1-2 record (.563). In the 12 games Quinney played, the Wolves have delivered an 8-3-1-0 mark (.708) as he has produced five goals, five assists and a +7 plus/minus rating.
For the year, Quinney owns 11 goals and 16 assists in 31 games. He ranks second on the team in goals second in assists, second in plus/minus rating (+9), second in points per game (0.87) and third in points.
“He’s such a valuable player,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “He’s just smart and he can play up and down your lineup. We play him in all our situations.”
STINGY AND GETTING STINGIER
Over the last five weeks, the Wolves have produced a 9-2-1-2 record — the best points percentage (.750) in the Central Division. Only the Colorado Eagles (.821) and the Charlotte Checkers (.800) have been hotter in the AHL since Dec. 14.
Why have the Wolves vaulted from eighth to third place in the Central during this stretch? The defense doesn’t like to give up goals — or shots. Over the last 14 games, the Wolves have allowed just 30 goals. But once you throw out the empty-netter and the two goals that were assessed after dropping shootouts, the Wolves actually have allowed 27 goals in 14 games.
As a collective, the Wolves defense has allowed their goalies to face only 26.5 shots over this stretch. If Chicago had been on this pace all season, then it would rank second in the AHL in shots allowed per game. Only Hershey (26.43) would rank better at suppressing shots.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
The Wolves have been committed to helping the community since the franchise was born in 1994. Chicago Wolves Charities has raised more than $6 million for local organizations — and this weekend’s commemorative jersey auction and raffle annually serves as one of the team’s biggest fundraisers.
This year, the Wolves are wearing exclusive Military Appreciation jerseys presented by Turtle Wax. Every player, coaches Rocky Thompson and Bob Nardella, general manager Wendell Young, senior executive vice president Wayne Messmer and TV analyst Bill Gardner all have jerseys available via silent auction in the main concourse behind Section 105. The auction closes at the end of today’s second intermission.
If you’re not attending Sunday’s game, but still want a chance to win a jersey, there are seven jerseys available in the online blind auction that closes at noon Monday. Go here to place your bid.
LAST TWO GAMES
- Center Gage Quinney recorded his second career AHL hat trick in the opening 29 minutes to hand the league-leading Admirals their second-largest loss of the season.
- Defenseman Jake Bischoff’s first goal of the year stood up as the game-winner while forward Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Zach Whitecloud handed out two assists apiece.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 22 saves to earn the win.
- The Wolves never trailed in regulation, but Milwaukee forward Rem Pitlick scored in the first round of the shootout to give the Admirals the extra point.
- Forwards Reid Duke and Lucas Elvenes scored — with Duke delivering the Wolves’ fastest opening goal of the season 46 seconds into the night.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 22 shots in regulation and overtime.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Rookie forward Lucas Elvenes will serve as the Wolves representative in the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 26-27 in Ontario, California. Elvenes earned his spot as the team’s leader in points (33) and assists (26). The 20-year-old from Angelholm, Sweden, has done nearly half of his damage on the power play this season with three goals and 13 assists — the latter number tied for fourth among all AHL skaters. Elvenes shares third among all AHL rookies in points and owns second in 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.
10.43: The Chicago Wolves average just 10.43 penalty minutes per game. That’s the fewest among Western Conference teams and fourth-fewest overall among the AHL’s 31 squads. If the Wolves maintain this pace the rest of the year, then they’ll break the franchise record for fewest PIMS in a season. The 2017-18 Wolves set the mark by averaging 11.16 penalty minutes per game.
13: Forward Curtis McKenzie leads the Wolves with 13 goals in 41 games, which means he’s on pace to score 23.5 goals this season. That’s right on his usual average. This marks McKenzie’s fifth full season in the AHL. In his first four, he averaged 24 goals per season and reached the Calder Cup Finals three times. At this point last year he owned just seven goals, but the 28-year-old Golden, British Columbia, native went on a tear down the stretch and finished with 20 — then added a team-high eight postseason goals on the way to the Calder Cup Finals.
15: The Wolves’ penalty kill units are on a roll again. They have killed 15 consecutive penalties dating back to the opening minutes of their Jan. 10 win at San Antonio. Chicago has not allowed a power-play goal in the last 239 minutes and 48 seconds. How much longer might the streak go? Rockford ranks 30th of the AHL’s 31 teams with a 10.9 percent conversion rate on the power play. In the first six Illinois Lottery Cup clashes this season, the IceHogs have converted 2 of 26 power plays (7.7 percent).
79: When the Wolves recalled forward Jermaine Loewen from Fort Wayne (ECHL) on Thursday and signed forward Cam Maclise to a PTO on Friday — Maclise has spent the season with Florida (ECHL) — that marked the team’s 78th and 79th regular-season transactions this year. The Wolves needed to make just 57 transactions last year.
372: When forward Keegan Kolesar made his NHL debut with the Vegas Golden Knights one week ago today, he became the 372nd player in Wolves history to have NHL experience on his resume. A total of 645 players have donned the Wolves uniform since the franchise was founded in 1994, which means 57.7 percent of all Wolves have appeared in the NHL. That percentage is even higher among goaltenders as 40 of the team’s 57 goaltenders over the years (70.2 percent) can say they’ve played in the NHL.
|Friday, Jan. 24||at Texas||H-E-B Center||7 p.m.||Watch|
|Saturday, Jan. 25||at Texas||H-E-B Center||7 p.m.||Watch|
|Friday, Jan. 31||vs. Milwaukee||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|