The Chicago Wolves and Utica Comets provided an entertaining Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, extending the tilt into a second overtime before the Comets’ Bobby Sanguinetti ended it at 83:10. The defenseman’s tally gave the Comets a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five opening round after the top-ranked squad was forced to the extra session by a feisty Wolves team that rallied from two goals down in the third period, tying the game with 1.0 left on the clock.
The Chicago Wolves completed their 21st regular season last week and turn their attention to the opening round of the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs and their opponent, the top-ranked Utica Comets.
The Wolves and the Marlies enter today’s game tied for seventh place in the Western Conference with 87 points. Whichever team wins this game wraps up the No. 7 seed and faces No. 2 seed Grand Rapids (100 points) in the best-of-five Western Conference quarterfinals. Today’s loser accepts the No. 8 seed and faces top-seeded Utica (103 points).
With two games to go in the regular season, the Wolves still have a chance to be either the No. 6, 7 or 8 seed when the playoffs start next week. Their list of potential first-round opponents remains four-deep: Utica, Grand Rapids, San Antonio and Rockford.
The Chicago Wolves enter the final weekend of the season with a game against in-state rival Rockford, pitting two of the Western Conference’s hottest teams against each other. Since their last meeting on March 15, the Wolves have posted a 10-3-0-0 record while the IceHogs have gone 11-3-0-0.
The Wolves look to move within striking distance of a postseason berth tonight as their magic number hovers at six. If Chicago can collect three wins this weekend it will be on its way to the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs regardless of other teams’ results.
While they could not overcome the Stars, the Wolves look to break a different team-specific drought tonight as they face Lake Erie. After going 12-1-1-0 from the 2011-12 season through October of 2014-15, Chicago has dropped the last five games to the Monsters, four of them by just one goal. Lake Erie has won just twice at Allstate Arena: Jan. 14, 2012, a 5-3 decision, and Jan. 16, 2015, a 5-1 decision.
Two seven-game streaks collide tonight as the Chicago Wolves host the Texas Stars for the final time in the regular season. The Wolves carry a season-high seven-game winning streak into the tilt while the Stars hold a seven-game winning streak against Chicago. The last time the Wolves defeated the Stars was on March 5, 2013, and the team is on the brink of back-to-back season series sweeps.
The Wolves have enjoyed tremendous regular-season success in Ontario over the last four-plus seasons. Including Wednesday’s win, Chicago owns a 5-1-0-0 mark at Toronto and a 5-0-0-0 record at Hamilton heading into the team’s final regular-season appearance at Copps Coliseum.