Chicago Wolves Insider for Oct. 15

SOARING TO A 4-0 START

For the third time in the organization’s 25-year history, the Chicago Wolves are off to a 4-0 start as head coach Rocky Thompson’s team pulled off a pair of home wins over the weekend that played out in entirely different ways. In Saturday’s 25th anniversary season home opener against the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wolves scored three goals in a 3-minute, 11-second stretch of the first period to seize control of the game. Right wing Brooks Macek added the final two goals of his hat trick during the second period to push the margin to

5-1 and the Wolves put it on cruise control from there. On Sunday afternoon against the Milwaukee Admirals, however, the Wolves trailed by two goals after two periods and faced that same deficit with less than eight minutes to play. Instead of allowing the Admirals to walk away with the win in this battle of unbeatens, veteran forwards Daniel Carr and Curtis McKenzie fed each other for goals in the final 6:03 to force overtime. Once in the extra session, Reid Duke teed up rookie defenseman Dylan Coghlan for a slap shot from the high slot that capped the

feverish rally and brought the entire team on the Allstate Arena ice to celebrate the win.

WHAT THE WOLVES’ GREAT BEGINNING MEANS

Winning the first handful of games in October typically leads to a magical June for the Wolves. In 1997-98, head coach John Anderson’s first team started 3-0 and went on to capture the 1998 Turner Cup. In 2001-02, the Wolves won their first three games and finished the year holding the Calder Cup aloft. In 2007-08, the Wolves raced out to a 6-0 start and didn’t stop until they owned the 2008 Calder Cup. (Then there’s the 2012-13 crew that opened 4-0, but early and frequent injuries left the squad just shy of the playoffs.) This year’s group appears to have a mixture of all the right ingredients. There are 10 players with NHL experience, including top-liners Curtis McKenzie(G, 6A),

Brandon Pirri(G, 4A) and T.J. Tynan (2G, A). There are several highly touted prospects, including players selected early in the NHL Entry Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. Goaltenders Max Lagace and Oscar Dansk each own two wins as they’re allowing just two goals per game.

The Wolves are one of five unbeaten teams in the AHL and their +10 goal differential shares second.

ON DECK

Saturday, Oct. 20      at Grand Rapids^       Van Andel Arena     6 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 21         vs. Milwaukee*           Allstate Arena         3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 24  vs. Cleveland^            Allstate Arena          11 a.m.

Friday, Oct. 26           at Texas^                     H-E-B Center            7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28         at San Antonio^         AT&T Center               3 p.m.

 

All times Central

^AHLTV only

*The U Too

**CW50

Visit ChicagoWolves.com for a complete broadcast schedule; all games stream in HD at TheAHL.com/AHLTV

 

 

REWIND              (2-0-0-0)

SUNDAY, OCT. 14 (at) CHICAGO 5, MILWAUKEE 4 (OT)

•Rookie defenseman Dylan Coghlan scored his first professional goal 2:56 into overtime to cap a furious rally and wrap up the win in a battle of unbeatens

• Forwards T.J. Tynan, Daniel Carr and Curtis McKenzie scored in the third period as the Wolves rallied from a two-goal deficit while Coghlan and McKenzie added two assists apiece

• Goaltender Max Lagace picked up the win with 25 saves

 

SATURDAY, OCT. 13

(at)CHICAGO 5, GRAND RAPIDS 1

• Right wing Brooks Macekrecorded his first professional hat trick on North American soil to lead the Wolves to victory in the team’s 25th anniversary season home opener

• Linemate Daniel Carr assisted on all three of Macek’s scores while center Gage Quinney helped on two. Defenseman Zac Leslie and forward Brandon Pirri produced the other goals.

• Goaltender Max Lagace earned the win with 32 saves