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Top 40 Countdown: No. 5

The Chicago Wolves started winning championships immediately after the No. 5 scorer on the Top 40 Goal-Scorers Countdown, presented by Jewel-Osco, joined the organization.

Chris Marinucci boasted a stellar resume before he joined the Wolves in the summer of 1997. The Grand Rapids, Minnesota, native capped his four-year career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth by winning the 1994 Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college.

During his first two years as a professional, Marinucci got to play 12 games with the NHL’s New York Islanders (the team that picked him in the fifth round of the 1990 draft). More importantly to the Wolves’ fortunes, Marinucci also spent most of 1994-95 and 1995-96 winning Turner Cup titles with the Denver and Utah Grizzlies — who just so happened to have an assistant coach named Kevin Cheveldayoff.

In the summer of 1997, the Wolves hired the 27-year-old Cheveldayoff to be the team’s general manager, which led to Marinucci coming to Chicago. The prolific center promptly became the team’s No. 2 scorer (27 points, 48 assists in 78 regular-season games) as the Wolves won their first division title and didn’t stop winning until they hoisted the 1998 Turner Cup before a sellout crowd at Allstate Arena.

Marinucci stayed in Chicago for three seasons, which was enough time to win the IHL’s 1998-99 Man of the Year award — and to help the Wolves capture another Turner Cup. He delivered 31 goals and 33 assists during the 1999-2000 regular season as the Wolves posted the best record in the league and set the franchise mark for best points percentage (.695) that still stands. Then Marinucci added five more goals during the postseason as the Wolves rolled to the 2000 Turner Cup.

After stacking up 99 goals and 121 assists in 240 regular-season games in Chicago — he stands seventh on the team’s all-time points list — Marinucci played professionally for four more seasons as he made stops in Japan, Germany and Sweden before hanging up his skates in 2004.

Want to enjoy more of the countdown?

No. 40: Gage Quinney
No. 39: Tim Breslin
No. 38: Nathan Oystrick
No. 37: Ben Simon
No. 36: Curtis McKenzie
No. 35: Kamil Piros
No. 34: Mark Mancari
No. 33: Simon Gamache
No. 32: Guy Larose
No. 31: Wade Megan
No. 30: Shane Harper
No. 29: Michael Davies
No. 28: Karl Stewart
No. 27: Cory Larose
No. 26: Pat Cannone
No. 25: Brian Wiseman
No. 24: Colin Stuart
No. 23: Brian Noonan
No. 22: Tim Bergland
No. 21: Joey Crabb
No. 20: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
No. 19: Dan Currie
No. 18: Dan Plante
No. 17: Bob Nardella
No. 16: Brandon Pirri
No. 15: Steve Martins
No. 14: Spencer Machacek
No. 13: Kevin Doell
No. 12: Niklas Andersson
No. 11: Ty Rattie
No. 10: Scott Pearson
No. 9: Derek MacKenzie
No. 8: JP Vigier
No. 7: Steve Larouche
No. 6: Jason Krog