The Chicago Wolves have advanced to the Calder Cup Finals and will open the series against the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday night at Bojangles' Coliseum. The puck drops at 3 p.m. PT for Game 1.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Chicago stormed its way into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Wolves were on the brink during the first round against the Grand Rapids Griffins, but back-to-back wins in Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-five allowed Chicago to advance. In the second round, Cody Glass scored in overtime of Game 1 against the Iowa Wild to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead in the series. Chicago won again in Game 2 but dropped consecutive games in Iowa and entered the fifth game level at 2-2. Curtis McKenzie's hat trick in Game 5 and a 23-save performance from Oscar Dansk in Game 6 gave Chicago all it needed to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Glass was the overtime hero once again for the Wolves in Game 1 against the San Diego Gulls as he lifted them to a 5-4 win in Chicago. The Gulls battled back and won back-to-back games to grab a 2-1 series lead. A double overtime win in Game 4 and a commanding 5-2 victory in Game 5 allowed the Wolves to return to Chicago for Game 6 ahead 3-2. Chicago churned out a 3-1 win in the sixth game to move on to the Calder Cup Finals.
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLVES
In the Western Conference Finals, five different Wolves recorded five-or-more points en route to the six-game series win. Defenseman Zach Whitecloud paced the Wolves with six points (6A) in the series while Cody Glass (3G, 2A), Tye McGinn (3G, 2A), Curtis McKenzie (3G, 2A) and Tomas Hyka (5A) posted five points each. Even goaltender Max Lagace got in on the scoring as he was credited with a goal in Game 5 against San Diego.
CHECK OUT THE CHECKERS
Checkers forward Andrew Poturalski leads all players in the Calder Cup Playoffs with 18 points (8G, 10A) in 13 games. Forwards Morgan Geekie (15 points), Tomas Jurco (14 points), Aleksi Saarela and Nicolas Roy (11 points) have all hit the 10-point mark thus far in the postseason. Alex Nedeljkovic has a 2.28 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 12 appearances during the playoffs.
Game 1: Saturday, June 1 at 3 p.m. PT at Charlotte (NHL Network tape delay, 11 a.m. PT Sunday)
Game 2: Sunday, June 2 at 3 p.m. PT at Charlotte (NHL Network, live)
Game 3: Wednesday, June 5 at 5 p.m. PT at Chicago (NHL Network, live)
Game 4: Thursday, June 6 at 5 p.m. PT at Chicago (NHL Network tape delay, 10 a.m. PT Friday)
Game 5*: Saturday, June 8 at 5 p.m. PT at Chicago (NHL Network, live)
Game 6*: Thursday, June 13 at 4 p.m. PT at Charlotte (NHL Network, live)
Game 7*: Friday, June 14 at 4 p.m. PT at Charlotte (NHL Network, live)