Photos: Chicago Wolves; Sean Flynn Photography/Quad City Mallards; Fort Wayne Komets
Forward Keegan Kolesar has been reassigned from the Quad City Mallards to the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves by the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights and Mallards goaltender C.J. Motte has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Wolves while the Mallards have signed goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos to a standard player contract, the Mallards announced today.
Kolesar, 20, scored once and had two assists in three games after being reassigned to the Mallards last Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Winnipeg native last Saturday scored his first career goal and set a team season high by recording all three of his points in the Mallards’ 5-4 victory over the Tulsa Oilers. Kolesar joined the Mallards after playing his first two professional games for the Wolves October 6 and October 7.
Kolesar was acquired by the Golden Knights in June in a draft day trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Kolesar, who was originally selected by the Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft with the sixty-ninth overall pick, was dealt to Vegas in exchange for a second round choice in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Kolesar turned professional after leading the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Western Hockey League’s Ed Chynoweth Cup championship last season. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Winnipeg native scored 26 goals and added 34 assists for 60 points while picking up 101 penalty minutes in 54 regular season games before going on a playoff tear that saw him lead the WHL in points (31), finish second in assists (19) and tie for third in goals (12) while playing 19 postseason games.
Kolesar totaled 77 goals, 90 assists and 167 points along with 338 penalty minutes in 243 games over his four seasons in the WHL. Last spring’s finals appearance was the second in as many years for Kolesar and the Thunderbirds.
Motte has started his second Mallard season by going 0-2-0 with a 3.53 goals against average and a .907 save percentage in two games. The 25-year old St. Clair, Michigan native finished last season tied for sixth in the ECHL in save percentage (.917) and tied for eighth in goals against average (2.68) while going 20-11-2 in 36 games. In January, the 6-foot, 175-pound Motte represented the Mallards- and earned the win- in the 2017 ECHL All-Star Game.
Motte returns to Chicago after enjoying stints in the AHL last season with the Wolves as well as the Charlotte Checkers and Iowa Wild. He saw action in two AHL games- both with Charlotte- and went 1-0-0 with a 0.75 goals against average and a .976 save percentage while surrendering a single goal on 42 shots.
Motte went 15-22-2 with a 2.83 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 42 games as a rookie with the Elmira Jackals in 2015-16.
Motte broke into pro hockey with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, for whom he played four games and posted a 1-2-1 record, a 2.49 goals against average and a .917 save percentage late in the 2014-15 season.
Motte turned pro after four sterling seasons at Ferris State University. In 2014-15 he became the first goaltender in school history to serve as team captain. He set Ferris State records for most career wins and shutouts (15) while going 66-49-12 with a 2.13 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in 127 collegiate games.
Motte not only earned All-WCHA honors in both his junior (first team) and senior (third team) years but was also one of ten finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. As a senior, Motte finished second in the nation in minutes played (2435:33) and tied for sixth in shutouts (5) after leading Division I netminders in both wins (28) and minutes (2431:06) and also finishing tied for sixth in shutouts (5) in his junior year.
Motte and the Bulldogs won regular season conference titles and earned NCAA tournament bids in both 2011-12 and 2013-14 and in 2012 reached the national title game.
Motte played three years of junior hockey before heading to Ferris State. He spent two seasons in the United States Hockey League with the Waterloo Black Hawks after a single campaign in the North American Hockey League with the Traverse City North Stars.
Sakellaropoulos, a 23-year old rookie, tended goal for the Fort Wayne Komets during the preseason. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Tinley Park, Illinois, native went 1-1-0 and gave up two goals on 25 shots to produce a 1.88 goals against average and a .920 save percentage while playing 63 minutes and 41 seconds over parts of two exhibition games.
Sakellaropoulos turned pro after last season completing a standout four-year career at Union College that began with a national championship and ended with all-conference recognition. As a freshman, Sakellaropoulos helped the Dutchmen to the first NCAA title in school history. As a senior, he went 22-6-2 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .916 save percentage in 30 games to earn ECAC Hockey All-League Second Team honors.
Last season also saw Sakellaropoulos backstop Union to its second ECAC Hockey regular season title and its second NCAA tournament appearance in his four years at the school. The Dutchmen claimed not only regular season conference laurels but also the ECAC tournament crown in 2013-14 on the way to the national title.
As a junior, Sakellaropoulos posted collegiate career bests in goals against average (2.32), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (2) while going 11-11-7 in 30 games and was also named to the 2015-16 ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team. In total, Sakellaropoulos went 40-22-13 with a 2.54 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and three shutouts in 82 career games as a Dutchman.
Sakellaropoulos played for the USHL’s Chicago Steel for two seasons between 2011 and 2013.
The Mallards return to action Saturday night on the road against the Toledo Walleye. The Mallards next play on home ice on Friday, October 27 at 7:05 p.m. against the Idaho Steelheads. The October 27 game also brings the return of $2 Dog/$2 Beer Night presented by 97X. Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and beers from iWireless Center concession stands during every Friday Mallards home game. In addition, the Mallards have once again this season partnered with Metro to provide transit service between Augustana College and downtown Moline during all Friday home games. As part of Metro’s unlimited ride program, Augustana riders can use their Augustana ID as their fare.
Tickets for the October 27 contest and all Mallards regular season home games are now on sale at the TaxSlayer Center box office, Ticketmaster toll free charge-by-phone (1-800-745-3000) and ticketmaster.com. The box office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.