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Wolves Want To Gain Winning Experience Together

Chicago teammates have developed close relationships during playoff run

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

The Chicago will look to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals against the San Diego Gulls at 7 p.m. at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

Vegas' AHL affiliate split the first two games of the series with the Gulls in Chicago before flying to the west coast for the next three contests. As the Wolves prepare for Game 3, Head Coach Rocky Thompson said he's confident that the team will stick to the plan they've followed all season long.

"We want to play in the offensive zone and force them to defend," Thompson said. "If our transition game can allow us to do that, we can be heavy on the puck and do what we do best."

As a team makes a deep playoff run, a new level of camaraderie develops in the locker room that bring the players closer together. Thompson said he's seen how his group has made sacrifices for one another in order to keep their season going.

"This is one of the best groups I've ever worked with," said Thompson. "Not only are they great teammates, but they're great people. They love being around each other. They don't want this to end. They're fighting so hard just to get to the next day so that there can be another day after that."

Defenseman Nic Hague, who leads the Wolves in goals by a defenseman in the playoffs (three goals), said the relationships he and his teammates have developed with each other this season is a key factor in his own success. Hague, who was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft (34th overall) by the Golden Knights, rooms with defenseman Jake Bischoff and the two have been together since their first day in the organization.

"I remember at my first development camp, I was roommates with Bischoff," Hague said. "I've been roommates with him ever since that, so we've gotten a lot closer over the years. To go through this experience with all the guys who I've come up in the organization with, through two development camps and a few main camps, we've become really good friends. This is fun, this is what we want to do together, and we want to win together."

Bischoff said that the blend of players on the team allows each player, no matter his age, to learn from all of his teammates.

"We're really close," Bischoff said. "We have a good mixture of younger guys and older guys and I think we've all gelled really well together."

The positive steps that the team has taken will be put forward in Game 3 as Chicago looks to get ahead in the series. Each game is important in the moment and the Wolves are treating each day as another stepping stone toward the ultimate goal.

"This is where every player wants to be: playing in late May and hopefully into June," Hague said. "We're all really excited to have this chance to play for the Calder Cup. It's getting a little bit closer now and we want to make sure we're the ones lifting that thing up at the end of the season."

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