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Chicago’s shot-blocking brigade

You hear it over and over in every sport: Offense wins games…defense wins championships.

With 1:56 left in Game 2 Thursday night, the Iowa Wild used its timeout to set up a play in its offensive zone. Head coach Tim Army removed goaltender Andrew Hammond to give his team a 6-on-5 advantage.

Iowa’s goal? To score a goal, make the score 4-4 and push Game 2 to overtime.

To combat Iowa’s man advantage, Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson sent out center T.J. Tynan, forwards Curtis McKenzie and Keegan Kolesar and defensemen Griffin Reinhart and Jake Bischoff to defend the house in front of goaltender Oscar Dansk.

That group had to stay on the ice for the entire 1:56, but they achieved the incredible: Iowa wasn’t able to put a single puck on net, much less in the net.

“At the end there, they were blocking probably six shots,” Dansk told the Daily Herald. “You know, that’s huge.”

Technically, it was five shots — but the point remains the same. McKenzie hit the ice to block two shots. Reinhart blocked two blasts. Bischoff blocked one shot and steered it into the corner. All five skaters put continual pressure on the Wild to keep the puck on the perimeter of the offensive zone, even though there were no stoppages from the 1:45 mark to the 0:20 mark.

“I thought our guys did a great job,” Thompson said. “And you’ve got to give Iowa credit. They had us hemmed in for those two minutes and they were moving the puck really well. But our guys, I thought they followed the structure we wanted to do.

“There’s going to be opportunities when you’re short a man 6-on-5. At the end of the day, you’ve got to pay a price — and everybody was. You could see it out there. There was a number of blocked shots by all the different guys out there – and you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. That’s how you win games. You’ve got to pay the price and our guys did.”