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.
AN EVENLY MATCHED CENTRAL DIVISION FINALS
The top-seeded Chicago Wolves have advanced to the Central Division Finals for the second time in three years. The third-seeded Iowa Wild are the foe in this best-of-seven series that opens Wednesday and Thursday at Allstate Arena. The Wild are making their first postseason appearance in franchise history as they advanced to the division finals after defeating Milwaukee in Game 5 on Monday night.
During the regular season, the Wolves and Wild were about as evenly matched as could be. They split their eight-game series. Each team scored 21 goals. There were four games that required overtime, a fifth was a one-goal margin and two others would have finished as one-goal decisions if not for empty-net goals in the final seconds.
rounding up round one
There were a pair of upsets in the North Division with Cleveland knocking off Syracuse, the No. 2 overall team during the regular season, in four games. The Monsters will match up with defending Calder Cup champs Toronto after the Marlies swept No. 3 Rochester in Round 1. Charlotte beat Providence in four games while Hershey pulled out a win in Game 5 against Bridgeport to move on to the Atlantic Division Final.
In the Pacific Division, San Diego topped San Jose 3-1 while Bakersfield ended Colorado’s first AHL season in four games. The Central Division Finals winner will face the Pacific Division Finals winner in the Western Conference Finals.
TOP JERSEYS BEING AUCTIONED
You can still own a piece of the Wolves’ 25th season! A number of game-worn and autographed silver alternate jerseys are available online via blind auction with proceeds benefitting Chicago Wolves Charities. Fans can bid until noon on Friday, May 10, on the jerseys of Daniel Carr, Curtis McKenzie, Tomas Hyka, Reid Duke, Brandon Pirri and mascot Skates, among others. Simply bid the amount you’re willing to pay for a jersey ($300 minimum) and the highest bid will be the winner!
Forward Tomas Hyka led the Wolves in scoring this week, notching a goal and four assists in three games. His power-play tally in Game 5 gave the Wolves the lead for good and increased his postseason point total to six points (2G, 4A). Hyka scored points in each of the last four games of Round 1.
Rookie forward Cody Glass tallied a pair of goals against Grand Rapids, including the game-winning tally in Game 4 and the tying goal in Game 5. Glass has four points (2G, 2A) in his first professional postseason. Glass scored five points (3G, 2A) in six regular-season games with Chicago.
Prior to last week, forward Keegan Kolesar had scored two postseason goals in his career. The forward exploded for four tallies against Grand Rapids with an empty-net insurance goal in Game 4 and a pair of goals in Game 5. He now owns two game-winning goals during the playoffs.
- The Wolves scored four unanswered goals in the decisive Game 5 to erase a 1-0 deficit, eliminate the Grand Rapids Griffins and advance to the Central Division Finals.
- Forward Keegan Kolesar scored twice while forwards Tomas Hyka and Cody Glass also scored for Chicago. Center T.J. Tynan handed out two assists.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped a postseason-high 30 shots in the series winner.
- Rookie center Cody Glass’ goal early in the third period stood up as the game-winner as the Wolves forced a winner-take-all Game 5 with the Game 4 victory at Van Andel Arena.
- Defenseman Nic Hague and center T.J. Tynan scored power-play goals in the second period for a 2-1 lead, then forwards Tye McGinn and Keegan Kolesar added empty-net goals in the final 1:19.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 29 saves to earn his first postseason win in North America.
- The Wolves and Griffins were knotted 2-2 through 26 minutes of Game 3, but Grand Rapids scored three more goals in the second period to take a 2-1 lead in the Central Division Semifinals.
- Forwards T.J. Tynan and Tye McGinn tallied for the Wolves while Tomas Hyka set up both goals as the Wolves scored first for the third game in a row.
- Goaltender Max Lagace notched 19 saves.
CENTRAL DIVISION FINALS SCHEDULE
|Game 1||Wednesday, May 1||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 2||Thursday, May 2||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 3||Sunday, May 5||Wells Fargo Arena||3 p.m.||Watch|
|Game 4||Wednesday, May 8||Wells Fargo Arena||7 p.m.||Watch|
|Game 5*||Friday, May 10||Wells Fargo Arena||7 p.m.||Watch|
|Game 6*||Monday, May 13||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 7*||Wednesday, May 15||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|