CHICAGO WOLVES (26-24-3-2) AT IOWA WILD (34-16-3-3)
NO TRADE DEADLINE BLUES
Ordinarily when the Chicago Wolves hit the road to go to Iowa, they hop on the bus as soon as possible after their morning practice. But with the NHL’s trade deadline scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday, the Wolves decided to hold off on their departure for Des Moines just in case somebody received news they had become part of another organization.
After all, last year’s trade deadline featured the Vegas Golden Knights’ huge deal with the Ottawa Senators that brought standout forward Mark Stone to Vegas — but cost the Wolves rookie defenseman Erik Brannstrom.
The Golden Knights made another big splash Monday — acquiring goaltender Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks — but it did not cost Vegas anybody on the Wolves’ roster. The Golden Knights sent a second-round draft pick, goaltender Malcolm Subban and unsigned prospect Slava Demin to the Blackhawks. Vegas also acquired Montreal center Nick Cousins at the deadline, but paid a fourth-round draft pick for his services.
There was some roster news Monday that affected the Wolves, but it was all good. Vegas reassigned forwards Patrick Brown, Gage Quinney and Nicolas Roy and defenseman Zach Whitecloud to the Wolves — ensuring all will be eligible to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs if the Wolves maintain their top-four spot in the AHL’s Central Division.
The Wolves enter tonight’s game in fourth place with 57 points — two points behind Grand Rapids for third and two points ahead of Rockford for fifth — but head coach Rocky Thompson’s squad holds two games in hand on the Griffins and the IceHogs.
THE EARLY PIRRI GETS THE GOAL
On Sunday, Brandon Pirri scored the game’s first goal 4:31 into the Wolves’ 5-1 win over Rockford. That was quick, but not as quick as Friday’s game at Milwaukee — when Pirri scored the game’s first goal 3:32 into the night. That was quick, too, but not as quick as Thursday’s game versus Grand Rapids — when Pirri scored the game’s first goal 1:10 into the School-Day affair at Allstate Arena.
Yes, what we’re saying is Pirri scored three first goals in a four-day stretch. He carries a four-game point streak into tonight’s game (4G, 1A) and owns 15 goals and 19 assists in 37 games this season. Oddly, though, he does not lead the Wolves in first goals. Tye McGinn owns five while Pirri and Curtis McKenzie have four.
Pirri has been a point-per-game scorer for the Wolves since he joined the squad at the outset of the 2017-18 season. He boasts 62 goals and 66 assists in 123 games for the Wolves. That includes a four-assist performance on Dec. 5, 2018, at Iowa.
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 — producing 37 goals and 82 assists in 330 regular-season games — and played in 21 of the team’s 22 postseason games on the way to the 1998 Turner Cup championship. Upon retirement, he remained an important figure in local hockey. Breslin 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
- Playing without eight of their top 12 scorers due to injuries, illness and recalls, the Wolves bolted to a 3-0 lead in the first period and rolled to the Illinois Lottery Cup victory at Allstate Arena.
- Forwards Brandon Pirri and Paul Cotter scored two goals, defenseman Dylan Coghlan scored a power-play goal and Nic Hague and Tye McGinn handed out two assists apiece.
- Goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 30 shots to earn his second win in a row.
- 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.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Center Patrick Brown wasted little time making an impact in his first game for the Vegas Golden Knights. Recalled by Vegas on Sunday morning, Brown flew cross country and then scored at 12:49 of the first period in Sunday night’s 6-5 overtime win at Anaheim. Brown swatted home a rebound of a Gage Quinney shot, which gave Brown his second career NHL goal and Quinney his first NHL point in his second NHL appearance. Brown also delivered a team-high six hits.
3: Forward Lucas Elvenes ranks third among all AHL rookies with 43 points. Elvenes earned his 43rd point on Feb. 16 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.
3: Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson has been able to write three players into the lineup for all 55 games this season: Forwards Jake Leschyshyn, Tye McGinn and Curtis McKenzie. Patrick Brown and Lucas Elvenes owned spots on this list until Sunday, when they missed their first games. On the blue line, Dylan Coghlan and Jaycob Megna have missed just one game each.
12: With Patrick Brown and Gage Quinney making their Vegas debuts over the weekend, the Wolves roster features 12 players who have suited up for the Golden Knights this season: Forwards Brown, Cody Glass, Keegan Kolesar, Brandon Pirri, Quinney, Nicolas Roy and Valentin Zykov, defensemen Jake Bischoff, Nic Hague and Zach Whitecloud and goaltenders Oscar Dansk and Garret Sparks.
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.
27.36: The Wolves rank last out of the 31 AHL teams with 27.36 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 16-13-1-0 (.550) when attempting 27 shots or fewer, but 10-11-2-2 (.480) when trying 28 shots or more.
373: When center Gage Quinney made his NHL debut with Vegas on Saturday night, he became the 373rd player in Wolves history to put NHL experience on his resume. When forwards Dan DeSalvo and Shawn St-Amant made their Wolves debuts Sunday vs. Rockford, they became the 647th and 648th players to don the Wolves uniform since the franchise was founded in 1994. That means 57.6 percent of all Wolves have appeared in the NHL. That percentage is even higher among goaltenders as 40 of the team’s 57 goalies (70.2 percent) can say they’ve played in the NHL.
|Saturday, Feb. 29||at Manitoba||Bell MTS Place||2 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Sunday, March 1||at Manitoba||Bell MTS Place||2 p.m.||AHLTV|
|Thursday, March 5||vs. Tucson||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
All times Central. All games stream on AHLTV.