The Chicago Wolves closed out the regular season Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena, falling 6-2 to the Manitoba Moose.
Forwards Stefan Matteau and Tye McGinn scored for Chicago (44-22-6-4) while netminder Max Lagace (16-10-6) stopped 29 shots as the Central Division champions rested a handful of key players in preparation for Friday’s Calder Cup Playoff opener at Allstate Arena.
“The regular season is a huge mountain for any team to climb,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “It’s very difficult to get into the playoffs. That prepares you to be ready every single day. The next mountain is in front of us, which is the first-round Game 1. That’s a big mountain, too.”
Jonathan Kovacevic, Michael Spacek, Logan Shaw, Kamerin Nault, Jansen Harkins and Cole Maier scored for Manitoba (39-30-5-2). Goaltender Eric Comrie (25-16-4) recorded 14 saves.
Manitoba jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the halfway point of the first period. Kovacevic opened the scoring at the 7:53 point with a redirect before Spacek doubled the lead at 10:22 with an unassisted tally.
Matteau cut the deficit to 2-1 before the first intermission, tipping a shot from rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud past Comrie at the 11:42 mark of the first period.
The Moose added to the lead in the third period, scoring four straight goals to take a 6-1 lead. McGinn scored for Chicago at 14:07 when he one-timed a pass from rookie forward Cody Glass past Comrie.
The Wolves open the 2019 Calder Cup playoffs on Friday, April 19, when they host the Milwaukee Admirals or the Grand Rapids Griffins in Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals.