The Chicago Wolves earned a 3-1 victory over the Iowa Wild in Game 6 of the Central Division Finals on Monday night at Allstate Arena to reach the Western Conference Finals.
Forwards Curtis McKenzie, Daniel Carr and Cody Glass scored for Chicago (7-4), which will face San Diego in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals. Goaltender Oscar Dansk (6-3) stopped 23 of 24 shots in the win.
“We’ve had a great team all year,” McKenzie said. “This group has been unbelievable for each other and stepping up for each other – just playing so hard for each other. That’s why we’re a special group.”
Defenseman Hunter Warner scored the lone goal for Iowa (5-6) while goaltender Andrew Hammond (5-6) recorded 23 saves.
After a scoreless 20 minutes, the momentum swung in the Wolves’ favor starting at the far end of the ice when Dansk robbed Iowa’s Kyle Rau of a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity early in the second period — getting his right pad on the puck in time to keep the game scoreless.
Fifty-five seconds later, McKenzie broke through on the same Wolves power play with a snipe from the left faceoff dot that beat Hammond at the far post at 4:27. That marked his fifth goal in a six-period stretch.
Warner tied the game on Iowa’s power play at 13:22 with a wrist shot from the point, but two quick goals late in the second would send the Wolves into the intermission with a 3-1 lead and eventually be the difference-makers in the game.
Carr scored the Wolves’ second shorthanded goal of the series at 17:33, chipping a beautiful backhand pass from forward Gage Quinney inches across the goal line.
Glass scored just 25 seconds later at 17:58, capitalizing on a Nic Hague shot that hit Stefan Matteau high and dropped just outside the crease. Hammond neither saw the puck nor Glass cutting in across the top of the crease and the rookie was able to swing the puck around Hammond and into the net to cap the 3-1 victory.
The Wolves have home-ice advantage for the Western Conference Finals against San Diego and host Games 1 and 2 on Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18. Both games start at 7 p.m.