IOWA WILD (2-3) AT CHICAGO WOLVES (3-2)
GAME 5 EXPLOSION SETS THE STAGE
The Chicago Wolves entered Game 5 Friday night with just one goal in their last seven periods, which included a 143-minute, 4-second scoreless streak as Iowa goaltender Andrew Hammond kept them at bay. After Chicago’s 2-1 loss in Game 4, head coach Rocky Thompson suggested his guys needed to get to the dirty areas and, if they did, then the Wolves could regain control of the series.
Sure enough, the Wolves fought for their share of real estate near the crease and the goals followed. Just 3:09 into the game, the Wolves’ Matthew Weis redirected a Kevin Lough shot while Tobias Lindberg batted for position just outside the blue paint. That lead set the tone and opened the floodgates.
By the time the night was over, Curtis McKenzie had three goals — all on rebounds near the net — while Daniel Carr had his own goal on a rebound while also feeding Gage Quinney for a goal as Quinney got knocked down just outside the paint.
The Wolves produced two goals in the first, three goals in the second and two more in the third to secure a 7-4 victory that leaves them one win away from their first conference finals since 2008. Chicago finished one shy of the franchise postseason record for goals in a game (8 vs. Grand Rapids on April 23, 2004).
MEN WITH HATS
Curtis McKenzie became the sixth Chicago Wolves forward this season to register a hat trick when he scored three goals in Friday’s Game 5. He joined the club founded by Brooks Macek in the home opener on Oct. 13 (vs. Milwaukee) and joined by Gage Quinney (Oct. 24 vs. Cleveland), Daniel Carr (4 goals on Nov. 7 at Milwaukee), Brandon Pirri (Dec. 8 at Rockford) and Tomas Hyka (Jan. 11 at Tucson).
The Wolves haven’t produced this many hat tricks in the same season since the 2007-08 Calder Cup champions posted seven hat tricks — including a pair during the playoffs by AHL Most Valuable Player Jason Krog. The franchise record for most hat tricks in one season is 10. That was set by the 1995-96 crew that featured five hatties by Wolves all-time leading scorer Steve Maltais.
WHEN THE WOLVES CAN CLOSE IT OUT
Since the Wolves joined the AHL prior to the 2001-02 season, they have played 20 games when they could close out a postseason series without facing elimination themselves (in other words: not playing a winner-take-all game). The Wolves own a 10-10 record in such situations.
The franchise hasn’t had this opportunity since the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Rochester — when the Wolves dropped Game 4 of the best-of-five series by a 7-2 count before recovering for a Game 5 triumph. The Wolves’ last win in this situation occurred in Game 6 of the 2008 Calder Cup Final when — after dropping Games 4 and 5 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton — John Anderson’s squad wrapped up the Cup with a 5-2 triumph at Allstate Arena.
THE SERIES SO FAR
- Forward Curtis McKenzie knocked home three rebounds to produce the franchise’s first postseason hat trick in 11 years as the Wolves scored early and often in Game 5.
- Forwards Matthew Weis, Stefan Matteau, Daniel Carr and Gage Quinney also scored as the Wolves produced their first three power-play goals of the series.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk saved 24 shots to earn his fifth postseason win.
- Iowa forward Gerald Mayhew scored his eighth and ninth goals of the postseason to stake the Wild to a 2-0 lead on the way to a Game 4 win that evened the series.
- Forward Curtis McKenzie scored at 9:11 of the third to pull the Wolves within striking range as defenseman Zac Leslie and center T.J. Tynan picked up the assists.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 20 saves.
- Wild goaltender Andrew Hammond stopped all 26 shots he saw to lead Iowa to a 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the Central Division Final.
- The Wolves had four power-play opportunities but could not convert despite a multitude of near-misses.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced
- The Wolves scored twice in the opening 4:42, allowed two goals, scored two more and then held on for the Game 2 victory at Allstate Arena.
- Forwards Brooks Macek, Matthew Weis and Tobias Lindberg (GWG) and defenseman Zach Whitecloud scored goals while Stefan Matteau and Daniel Carr posted two assists apiece
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 22 saves, which included 11 stops in the third period.
- Rookie center Cody Glass scored 18:39 into the first overtime to lift the Wolves to victory in Game 1 of the Central Division Finals at Allstate Arena.
- Forward Brooks Macek and defenseman Nic Hague scored during regulation while forward Daniel Carr handed out two assists and forward Tye McGinn set up Glass’ game-winner.
- Goaltender Oscar Dansk posted 26 saves, including 10 during overtime.
BY THE NUMBERS
3: The Wolves entered Game 5 with no power-play goals to show for their 11 chances in the Central Division Finals. Iowa entered Game 5 having allowed just 1 PPG in 34 opportunities during the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. Iowa was successful on its first penalty kill in Game 5, but then the Wolves erupted for three PPGs in five chances the rest of the way. It marked the first time since May 1, 2017, that the Wolves scored three PPGs in one postseason game. Chicago defeated Grand Rapids 7-3 in Game 2 of the 2017 Central Division Finals that night.
4: Left wing Daniel Carr became the fourth Wolves player in the last 13 seasons to earn the AHL’s Most Valuable Player award. He received the Les Cunningham Award prior to Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals on April 19 and joined Kenny Agostino (2016-17), Jason Krog (2007-08) and Darren Haydar (2006-07) in this exclusive club. Hershey is the only other AHL team to have more than one MVP since the Wolves joined the league prior to the 2001-02 season.
6: There are still six teams left in the pursuit for the 2019 Calder Cup, but that number could be down to four by the end of tonight’s action. While the Wolves’ series has been terrific, the Pacific Division Finals between top-seeded Bakersfield and third-seeded San Diego has been crazier. The Gulls lead the series 3-2, but they needed four overtimes to earn one of their wins while Bakersfield earned its first win in overtime and its second win in double overtime. They meet for Game 6 tonight in San Diego. The Eastern Conference Finals between Charlotte and Toronto starts Friday, May 17, at Charlotte.
11: Forward Curtis McKenzie produced the 11th hat trick in Wolves postseason history when he scored twice in the second period and once in the third in Game 5 Friday night. He joins an illustrious group that includes Steve Maltais (twice), Steve Larouche (twice, including a four-goal effort on April 27, 2001), Jason Krog (twice), Greg Pankewicz, Simon Gamache, Derek MacKenzie and Cory Larose.
177: It has been 177 weeks since the Wolves hosted a game on a Monday night. The Wolves’ last Monday soiree occurred Dec. 21, 2015, when head coach John Anderson’s bunch knocked off the Manitoba Moose 4-1 in the final game before the holiday break. Pheonix Copley posted 23 saves as the Wolves killed all six of Manitoba’s power plays. Ivan Barbashev earned No. 1 Star honors for the game-winning goal while Pat Cannone, Jeremy Welsh and Ty Rattie also scored for the Wolves.
355: The Wolves’ 30-man roster boasts 355 games of Calder Cup Playoffs experience. Alternate captain Curtis McKenzie leads the way with 62 AHL postseason appearances while forward Tye McGinn owns 38 games and center T.J. Tynan has 30. The roster features 3 games’ worth of Stanley Cup Playoff experience (Griffin Reinhart 2, McKenzie 1), 44 games in the DEL (Brooks Macek) and 24 games in the Czech League (Tomas Hyka).
358: If you’ve suited up for the Wolves, chances are better than 50/50 that you’ve also played in the National Hockey League. Of the 623 players who have suited up for the Wolves over 25 seasons, 358 also have competed in the NHL. That 57.5 percent overall success rate is even higher among goaltenders. Of the 55 players who’ve tended the net for the Wolves over the years — starting with original goaltenders Ray LeBlanc and Wendell Young and continuing through current Wolves Max Lagace and Oscar Dansk — 38 boast NHL experience (69.1 percent).
central division finals schedule
|Game 1||Wolves 3, Wild 2 (OT)||Allstate Arena|
|Game 2||Wolves 4, Wild 3||Allstate Arena|
|Game 3||Wild 2, Wolves 0||Wells Fargo Arena|
|Game 4||Wild 2, Wolves 1||Wells Fargo Arena|
|Game 5||Wolves 7, Wild 4||Wells Fargo Arena|
|Game 6||Monday, May 13||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|
|Game 7*||Wednesday, May 15||Allstate Arena||7 p.m.||Tickets|