We sensed our 25th anniversary season would turn out to be special. But the way our coaches and players have bonded together on this bumpy road to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals has made this ride more incredible than we dared to dream.
To put this remarkable journey into perspective, we have put together 25 moments from our 25th anniversary season – both good and unfortunate – that help to explain why we’re here.
We’re revealing five each day (in chronological order) leading up to Game 1 of the 2019 Calder Cup Finals at 5 p.m. Saturday in Charlotte.
NOV. 7: CARR GOES FOR FOUR
The Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals dropped the puck at 10:30 a.m. and Daniel Carr was ready to rise and shine. He became the fifth player in franchise history to score four goals as the Wolves earned a 5-3 win at Milwaukee to improve their record to 8-3-0-1. By the way, Brooks Macek assisted on all five goals to get within one of Rob Brown’s single-game team record.
DEC. 5: HAGUE CAPS HUGE RALLY IN IOWA
The Wolves suffered through a five-game losing streak that began around Thanksgiving — in part because Daniel Carr went to play six games for the Vegas Golden Knights. Carr returned to the Wolves for the team’s trip to Iowa, but the Wolves fell behind 3-0 and it seemed like the doldrums would last for another night.
Then Carr scored a power-play goal. Rookie defenseman Nic Hague scored a power-play goal. Rookie defenseman Dylan Coghlan — Hague’s roommate — scored a power-play goal to force overtime. That’s when Hague came through again with a feed from Brandon Pirri. Did we mention it was Hague’s 20th birthday?
DEC. 8: PIRRI HAT TRICK HIGHLIGHTS SPREE
Starting with two goals on Nov. 17 versus Iowa, veteran forward Brandon Pirri went on an absurd streak where he reeled off 14 goals in 15 games. His biggest night came Dec. 8 at Rockford when he needed just two periods to rack up three goals in a 4-0 Wolves win.
DEC. 29: COGHLAN SINKS ICEHOGS IN OT
The Wolves claimed the Illinois Lottery Cup again this year — winning the 12-game regular-season series against Rockford with 15 points to the IceHogs’ 13 — but four games needed extra time to solve. The overtime on Dec. 29 at Allstate Arena was particularly enjoyable thanks to Dylan Coghlan‘s rebound goal.
JAN. 5: LAST GAME OF THE PIRRI ERA
In mid-December, Brandon Pirri started shuttling between Chicago and Vegas. He produced seven goals in his first eight games for the Golden Knights, so it became obvious he needed to stay in the NHL. The Wolves’ 6-3 win over the San Antonio Rampage on Jan. 5 became his final game for the Wolves.
Pirri scored a goal, of course, but he also stepped up to fight former Wolves forward Sammy Blais when the latter decked Erik Brannstrom with a high hit. It wasn’t the first or the last time this season that a Wolves player stepped up to defend a teammate — another sign of this team’s close-knit nature.