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.
READY FOR GAMES 3 AND 4 in grand rapids
The Chicago Wolves are headed to Grand Rapids for Games 3 and 4 of the Central Division Semifinals on Tuesday and Wednesday, looking to build on an impressive road record during the regular season. The Wolves led all Western Conference teams with a .658 winning percentage (23-11-2-2) on the road.
The Wolves delivered a 3-2 victory Saturday in Game 2 after scoring just one goal during Game 1 on Friday, which was on-trend for how the Wolves responded during the 76-game regular season. During the regular season, the Wolves were held to one or fewer goals on just eight occasions. In the games following those in which they scored one or fewer goals, the team collected a 6-2-0-0 record and outscored opponents 23-13.
Saturday also marked the 10th time in a row that the Wolves have rebounded with a win after suffering a loss of four goals or more in the postseason. Most recently, the Wolves suffered a 4-0 loss to Charlotte in the 2017 Central Division Semifinals but came back the next game for a 3-2 victory and went on to claim the best-of-five series.
If the Wolves and Griffins split Games 3 and 4, then the Wolves host Game 5 at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available now at 1-800-THE-WOLVES or by clicking here.
ROAD TEAMS WINNING ALL OVER THE AHL
Judging by the first weekend of the 2019 postseason, a team’s seed has little to no bearing on its success.
In North Division action, Syracuse and Rochester — the teams that finished with the second- and fourth-best winning percentages in the AHL during the regular season — are both trailing 2-0 and need to sweep the next three to avoid elimination. Fourth-seeded Cleveland hit the road and outscored top-seeded Syracuse 10-4 while Toronto picked up two wins at second-seeded Rochester, which went 5-1 against the Marlies during the regular season.
All but one of the remaining series are tied 1-1. Notably, Charlotte finished the season at the top of the AHL but dropped Game 2 to Providence on Sunday while Colorado earned its first Calder Cup victory on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Pacific Division champ Bakersfield to knot the series. In the Central, Milwaukee and Iowa have only played one game: a 7-0 Wild home victory Sunday. That served as Iowa’s first postseason win as well.
PET HEALTH FAIRS IN CHICAGO
The Wolves just finished another successful season of Adopt-A-Dog Nights, but the organization cares about pets all year-round. We are co-hosting a free pet health fair, open to Chicago residents, on Saturday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 22nd District Police Station (1900 W. Monterey Avenue). Free vaccines and microchips will be available for 400 people or until supplies run out. We’ll co-host one each month through September at police stations throughout Chicago.
Forward Tye McGinn shares the team lead in playoff scoring through two games as he posted a goal in Game 1 and an assist in Game 2. A mid-season acqusition from Manitoba, McGinn scored 12 points (10G, 2A) for the Wolves in 36 regular-season games and ended the season on a four-game point streak.
Forward Keegan Kolesar tallied the game-winner with his second-period goal on Saturday, notching the first Calder Cup playoff game-winning goal of his career. The right winger collected 36 points (20G, 16A) in 74 regular-season games in 2018-19.
Goaltender Max Lagace earned his first career Calder Cup playoff victory on Saturday as he stopped 26 shots in the 3-2 Game 2 win. Lagace ended the regular season with a 16-10-6 record to go with the sixth-best goals-against average in the AHL at 2.43.
- The Wolves used three second-period goals to build a 3-1 lead in Game 2 of the Central Division Semifinals that allowed Chicago to even the series with Grand Rapids.
- Forwards Tomas Hyka and Keegan Kolesar and rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored for the Wolves.
- Goaltender Max Lagace stopped 26 shots for his first Calder Cup Playoff win.
- The Wolves took a 1-0 lead on forward Tye McGinn’s goal 8:28 into Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals, but Grand Rapids responded with five goals to get the jump on the best-of-five series.
- Chicago trailed 2-1 for more than 20 minutes and produced several flurries in search of the equalizer, but the Griffins held strong and put the game away with three goals in the final 6:50.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 26 of 30 shots.
CENTRAL DIVISION SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
|Game 1||Griffins 5, Wolves 1||Allstate Arena|
|Game 2||Wolves 3, Griffins 2||Allstate Arena|
|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|