ROCKFORD ICEHOGS (26-27-1-2) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (25-24-3-2)
SOME PLAYERS GOING…
The Chicago Wolves hopped the bus to Milwaukee on Friday night with plans for everybody to suit up for that night’s game against the Milwaukee Admirals. Then the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights announced at 6:30 p.m. — 30 minutes before puck drop — that center Gage Quinney and defenseman Zach Whitecloud had been recalled from loan.
Quinney and Whitecloud drove back to Chicago so they could fly to Las Vegas, where Quinney wore No. 72 as he made his NHL debut Saturday night for the Golden Knights. He became the first Nevada native to play in an NHL game as he started and played 9:09 in Vegas’ 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers. Whitecloud also played and blocked two shots in 12:31 of action.
With Quinney and Whitecloud headed out west and forward Valentin Zykov in the sick bay, the Wolves played one skater short during Friday’s 4-1 loss at Milwaukee. Actually, they were two skaters short for a good portion of the game as rookie standout Lucas Elvenes suffered an injury that prevented him from returning.
…SOME PLAYERS COMING
With so much uncertainty after Friday’s events, the Wolves braintrust had to ensure there are enough healthy players for today’s Illinois Lottery Cup clash with the Rockford IceHogs. Defenseman Brayden Pachal, who was reassigned from the Wolves to the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) on Thursday and played for the Komets on Friday, drove back from Fort Wayne to Chicago on Saturday.
The Wolves also arranged for forwards Cam Maclise and Dan DeSalvo to sign player tryout contracts (PTOs) prior to today’s game. The 27-year-old Maclise, who’s signing his third PTO with the Wolves this season, has racked up 10 goals and 20 assists in 47 games for the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
As for DeSalvo, his first appearance in a Wolves uniform has been a long time coming. The Rolling Meadows, Illinois, native has been familiar with the organization for years and has been a part of preseason camp in years past. The 27-year-old DeSalvo has played 180 AHL games over the last five years and contributed 33 goals and 55 assists. This season, he owns 19 goals and 28 assists in 45 games for the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) and two assists in three games for Cleveland (AHL).
The Chicago Wolves have grown accustomed to owning the Illinois Lottery Cup. In 2016-17, the Wolves defeated the Rockford IceHogs in eight out of 12 games to claim the Cup — then defended their title when the teams split their series 6-6 each of the last two seasons.
This time around, though, the IceHogs have taken six of the first seven games. That means the Wolves have to win the last five meetings to have a chance to keep the Cup for the fourth year in a row.
WE ARE THE WOLVES
There are still a few more days for high school seniors to apply for the 2020 Tim Breslin Memorial Scholarship. The Wolves created the scholarship to honor Addison native Tim Breslin, who was the third player signed after the franchise was founded in 1994.
Breslin spent five years with the Wolves and played an important role on the 1998 Turner Cup championship team. He passed away on Feb. 9, 2005, due to complications from appendiceal cancer. To apply for the scholarship, which goes to someone who has overcome a hardship yet remains on target to attend college, click here. Applications are due by Feb. 28.
LAST TWO GAMES
- Former Wolves forward Daniel Carr scored the go-ahead goal and added an empty-net tally as the Admirals posted the win on the night they retired Darren Haydar’s No. 20.
- Forward Brandon Pirri opened the scoring 3:32 into the first period on a feed from defenseman Jaycob Megna as the Wolves played one skater short due to last-minute NHL recalls.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 21 saves.
- The Wolves carried a 1-0 lead into the third period, but the Griffins rallied for three goals in a six-minute span to win the third-place showdown before a School-Day Game crowd of 14,664.
- Forward Brandon Pirri scored 1:10 into the game and forward Valentin Zykov pulled the Wolves within one with 2:05 to play.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 22 shots.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: If forward Dan DeSalvo suits up for the Wolves today, he’ll become the second Illinois-born player to compete for the team this year — joining goaltender Garret Sparks from Elmhurst. Since their inception in 1994, the Wolves have prided themselves on having a handful of local products on their roster every year. Forwards T.J. Tynan and Stefan Matteau filled this role the previous two years. Both moved to other organizations this year and have earned time in the NHL.
3: Forward Lucas Elvenes ranks third among all AHL rookies with 43 points. Elvenes earned his 43rd point last Sunday afternoon when he picked up the secondary assist on Dylan Coghlan’s game-winning overtime goal. Elvenes owns 11 goals and 32 assists to lead the Wolves in scoring and share 15th place overall in the AHL. The 20-year-old Sweden native ranks second among rookies and shares sixth among all players in assists.
5: Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson has been able to write five players into the lineup for all 54 games this season: Forwards Patrick Brown, Lucas Elvenes, Jake Leschyshyn, Tye McGinn and Curtis McKenzie. Last year, the Wolves had just three players make it through the first 54 games unscathed: Keegan Kolesar, Brooks Macek and McKenzie. On the blue line, Dylan Coghlan and Jaycob Megna have missed just one game each.
15: The Wolves have killed off their last 15 shorthanded situations against the Rockford IceHogs this year. That includes the last four full games against the IceHogs. Their last power-play goal against the Wolves occurred at 10:41 of the third period on Nov. 3.
29: Veteran Wolves forward Tye McGinn picked up 29 penalty minutes Friday night at Milwaukee — the result of two separate incidents that led to two 10-minute misconducts, one fighting major and two minors (instigating and roughing). Not only does that stand as the most single-game penalty minutes for a Wolves player this season, it marks the most in at least 10 years. The franchise’s single-game record is owned by Billy Tibbetts, who earned 47 penalty minutes on April 14, 2006, against the Milwaukee Admirals. Tibbetts picked up the final 35 in one fell swoop when he committed a slashing major, a 10-minute gross misconduct and two 10-minute game misconducts — one for slashing and the other for physical abuse of officials.
27.46: The Wolves rank 30th out of the 31 AHL teams with 27.46 shots attempted per game, which is on pace to break the single-season franchise record for fewest shots per game. Last year’s Calder Cup finalists set the mark with 27.71 shots per game. Curiously, the Wolves enjoy a better points percentage when they don’t reach their shots per game average. The squad is 15-13-1-0 (.534) when attempting 27 shots or fewer, but 10-11-2-2 (.480) when trying 28 shots or more. Rockford holds down the basement with 27.36 shots per game. The IceHogs moved to the bottom after launching just 20 shots Saturday at Milwaukee.
373: When center Gage Quinney made his NHL debut with the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday night, he became the 372rd player in Wolves history to put NHL experience on his resume. Forward Cam Maclise’s Wolves debut on Jan. 19 vs. Rockford made him the 646th player to don 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.
|Tuesday, Feb. 25||at Iowa||Wells Fargo Arena||7 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Feb. 29||at Manitoba||Bell MTS Place||2 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Sunday, March 1||at Manitoba||Bell MTS Place||2 p.m.||AHLTV|