Championship Hockey Is Back!
Our Chicago Wolves are knotted up 1-1 with the Charlotte Checkers in a best of seven series to determine the 2019 AHL Calder Cup Champion.
I’m a little late with my preview of the AHL Calder Cup Finals, but we are now looking at what is essentially a five-game series since the Wolves and Checkers each won once in Charlotte. One important distinction is now the Wolves have the home-ice advantage as the series shifts to Rosemont as they host the Checkers for Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals. With the current playoff format (AHL still uses a 2-3-2 split) the Wolves now have a chance to seal the deal on home ice. If you need a quick refresher about who to watch out for on the ice check out our preview and learn about the “Anatomy of a Wolf.”
Game 1 started off with a scoring fury, and things looked grim for Chicago. After an early powerplay goal by Trevor Carrick put the Checkers up 1-0 Chicago native Stefan Matteau countered to equalize things a few minutes later. Matteau was assisted by Griffin Reinhart (hockey name!) and Keegan Kolesar. The Checkers pressed the attack throughout the first, scoring twice more (Martin Necas and Andrew Poturalski with those goals) to end the first up 3-1.
From the second period on the soul of the team, Oscar Dansk went into brick wall mode, as he refused to let the puck cross his goal-line from that point on. Zac Leslie scored just after the midway point of the second period to make it a one-goal game, with helpers coming from league MVP Daniel Carr and Curtis McKenzie. Just as the second period was about to end Zach Whitecloud unfurled a rocket on the net that found its way home. Apples went out to T.J. Tynan (aka T.J. Appleseed) and Curtis McKenzie. Check it out.
The third period didn’t produce any goals, but it had excitement covered. The Checkers laid it on thick, driving up their shot counts and scoring chances. Dansk had a pack of fearless Wolves out there, as they were not afraid to get their body in the path of the puck. Throughout the fury, the clock finally ticked all the way down, and suddenly we were back in an all too familiar situation, overtime in Game 1 of a series.
The Wolves had won all three of there previous OT games this AHL postseason. In Game 1 of the Western Semi-Finals against the Iowa Wild and in the Western Finals against the San Diego Gulls the games also went to OT, and both of those games saw Cody Glass bury the biscuit. Tonight Cody Dragon-Glass could take a breather because a new hero was ready to emerge. A little over five minutes into extras Stefan Matteau was back at it again with his second of the night to end the game. He was assisted by Nicolas Hague who came up huge at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone, and unofficially by the referee’s backside, which helped get Matteau the puck with a lane as you can see below.
For those wondering, OT playoff goals and recycling names run in the Matteau family, as Stefan’s father, Stephane Matteau scored a double OT game winner to get the NY Rangers past Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. You know you want to see it:
Wednesday, June 5th, 7:00 pm CST the Wolves and the Checkers square off in Rosemont for Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals. You can watch the game locally through the UToo channel, or stream it through the AHLTV package, and even listen to the game through the Wolves Facebook. Trust me though, no screen does it justice. Don’t miss out on seeing this Finals run live while you can. Head to Ticketmaster here, and when you checkout use promo code “ONTAP” for some serious savings. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter where you are sitting because with these savings first round is on you!
Featured Photo: Twitter /@TheAHL
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