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 that help to explain why we’re here. Most are moments to celebrate, but no great story happens without conflict and hard times.
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. In this installment, we examine some of the postseason’s highs and lows.
APRIL 23: down and out in grand rapids
After splitting the first two games of the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals at Allstate Arena, the Wolves and Griffins headed to Grand Rapids — and nothing good happened in Game 3. The Wolves gave up six goals, three players went down with injuries and everyone in the organization was frustrated after the 6-2 loss that pushed the Central Division champs one loss from elimination.
Highlights were few and far between, but center T.J. Tynan capitalized on the five-minute major handed out when Tyler Wong was crushed by GR’s Dylan McIlrath and forced to leave the ice on a stretcher.
APRIL 24: THE short-handed WOLVES fight OFF THE MAT
The Wolves suited up for their must-win Game 4 at Grand Rapids without the services of their top two goal-scorers (Daniel Carr and Brooks Macek) and four other injured players who played virtually every night during the regular season (Dylan Coghlan, Gage Quinney, Griffin Reinhart and Tyler Wong).
But black aces Jake Leschyshyn and Josh Atkinson stepped into the lineup, goaltender Oscar Dansk stepped back into the net and the Wolves earned a 5-2 victory to force Game 5. Tye McGinn scored an empty-netter and set up two more scores, which included this beautiful work between McGinn and Cody Glass for the game-winner.
MAY 1: GLASS DELIVERS THE OVERTIME GAME-WINNER
After the Wolves dispatched the Griffins in the winner-take-all Game 5, they moved on to face the Iowa Wild in the Central Division Finals. Daniel Carr and Brooks Macek returned to the lineup — and Macek scored the game’s first goal while Carr handed out two assists.
MAY 10: NO MORE ZEROES IN IOWA
After taking the first two games at home, the Wolves endured a 140-minute scoreless stretch as Iowa’s Andrew Hammond swiped Games 3 and 4 for the Wild. Chicago entered Game 5 on Iowa’s home ice needing to turn things around. Rookie center Matthew Weis produced an early goal on a deflection to start the night well, then the veterans took over.
Stefan Matteau delivered a short-handed goal, Daniel Carr notched a power-play goal and then Curtis McKenzie scored three times — all of them right by the goalmouth — for the 11th postseason hat trick in Wolves history. Chicago wound up with a 7-4 win that restored momentum.
MAY 13: TENSE GAME 6 WITH IOWA
With Iowa’s back against the wall in Game 6 at Allstate Arena, the Wild gave their all to try to force a Game 7. The teams were knotted 1-1 late in the second period when Daniel Carr and Gage Quinney teamed up for a short-handed goal as the puck crossed the goal line by less than an inch. Then Cody Glass added another goal 25 seconds later to give the Wolves the 3-1 win and the franchise’s first run to the third round since 2008.