Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the scoop on all Chicago Wolves developments throughout the team’s 25th anniversary season including the Calder Cup Playoffs.
IT’S TIME TO BECOME THE LAST TEAM STANDING
The Chicago Wolves closed out the regular season last weekend and now turn their attention to Grand Rapids, their first-round matchup for the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. The best-of-five Central Division Semifinals series starts at 7 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Allstate Arena.
The Wolves won five of the eight regular-season meetings with the Griffins, which includes each of the last four contests. Chicago outscored Grand Rapids 29-23 during the regular season and excelled on special teams against the Griffins. The Wolves’ power play converted at a 24.2 percent rate (8 of 33) against Grand Rapids while the penalty-kill unit took care of business at an 84.8 percent clip (28 of 33).
Grand Rapids heads into the postseason on a nine-game losing streak, having earned just one point in that span while being outscored 38-15. The streak began when the Wolves topped the Griffins 4-3 on March 29 at Van Andel Arena.
Center T.J. Tynan won the AHL’s assists title with 59 helpers, becoming the fifth Wolves player to lead the league in assists, while rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud topped the league with a +39 plus/minus rating. Whitecloud becomes the first Wolves player to lead the AHL in plus/minus since Arturs Kulda set the franchise record with a +47 in 2009-10.
Fellow rookie rearguard Dylan Coghlan led all first-year defensemen with 15 goals, ranked third among all rookies (and first among rookie defensemen) with 10 power-play goals and ranked third among all AHL rookie blueliners with 40 points.
Goaltenders Oscar Dansk and Max Lagace spearheaded the defense that ranked third in the AHL with a 2.62 goals-against average. This marks the first time in franchise history that the Wolves finished among the top three in goals-against average.
To thank the fans who braved the mid-April snowstorm to attend Sunday’s regular-season finale, those with April 14 tickets can show them at the box office before Games 1 and 2 and receive a free playoff ticket to one of those games. Everyone else can take advantage of great playoff deals by calling 1-800-THE-WOLVES or clicking here.
Rookie defenseman Nic Hague scored a pair of points last weekend with an assist in Iowa and a goal against Manitoba. Hague finished the regular season with 13 goals and 19 assists, joining Dylan Coghlan as the first two Wolves defenders to score 10-plus goals since the 2007-08 Calder Cup Champion team.
Forward Tye McGinn scored two goals and added an assist over the weekend. Since joining the Wolves in a trade with Manitoba on Jan. 4, McGinn has scored 10 goals and tabbed two assists, doubling his previous point production (2G, 4A) in Manitoba.
Goaltender Oscar Dansk saved a season-high 39 shots in his start Saturday night against Manitoba. Dansk finished the regular season ranked eighth in the league with his 2.46 goals-against average and owns a 7-0-0 record with a 1.57 GAA and a .949 save percentage since March 22.
- The Wolves closed out the regular season at Allstate Arena, resting several key players to prepare for the Calder Cup Playoff opener.
- Forwards Stefan Matteau and Tye McGinn scored goals for the Central Division champions.
- Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 29 shots.
- The Wolves scored the first three goals and held off a late Manitoba rally to eliminate the Moose from postseason consideration.
- Rookie forward Cody Glass posted his first professional game-winning goal while forwards Tye McGinn and Keegan Kolesar and defenseman Nic Hague also scored.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk registered a season-high 39 saves.
- Iowa captain Cal O’Reilly scored with 4:36 left in regulation, then 4:39 into overtime to give the Wild a much-needed win over the Wolves.
- Center Gage Quinney broke the scoreless tie midway through the third period with a power-play goal set up by forward Tye McGinn and defenseman Nic Hague.
- Goaltender Max Lagace posted 35 saves.
CENTRAL DIVISION SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
|Game 1||Friday, April 19||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 2||Saturday, April 20||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 3||Tuesday, April 23||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m.||Watch|
|Game 4*||Wednesday, April 24||Van Andel Arena||6 p.m.||Watch|
|Game 5*||Sunday, April 28||Allstate Arena||3 p.m.||Tickets|