ROSEMONT, Ill – On the final day of the regular American Hockey League season, the Chicago Wolves clinched the Midwest Division title by soundly defeating division rival Milwaukee Admirals by the score of 6-0. With that they earned the second seed in the Western Conference and guaranteed home ice for at least the first two rounds. They will face the seventh seed Rochester Americans in the first round.
Going into the game the Wolves were tied with the Grand Rapids Griffins. During the second intermission cheers were heard as the team somehow found out that the Griffins have lost and the team was going good with a three goal lead heading into the third. Head coach John Anderson didn’t know what the ruckus was about and the player probably were on Twitter or something when they found out the news. The win sent the Wolves to the 100 points mark for the first time since the 2009-10 season and their fifth since joining the league in 2001.
As for the game, Chicago faced Scott Darling who has played well against the Wolves with a shutout win. But tonight Jake Allen returned the favor as the team outscored and outshot the Admirals by a 38 to 20 margin.
Right wing Sebastian Wannstrom got the scoring started as the Admirals lost the puck in the neutral zone giving him the goal on a short-handed breakaway at the 3:52 mark of the second. Rookie right wing Ty Rattie fired his 30th goal of the season on the breakaway and followed that with another with thirty-six seconds left in the period.
Left wing Eric Selleck who always played the Wolves rough and tough when he was with the San Antonio Rampage was one of the big goal scorers for the Wolves tonight. He scored the bookends in the third giving him six for the season. Selleck is one of those players that if you can’t beat him, trade for him. Michael Davies matched his jersey number with his 13th goal of the season wedging his score between Selleck’s.
The Three Stars of the game with the third star was Eric Selleck with two goals. Jake Allen was given the Second Star, and with the First Star with two goals and the game winner Ty Rattie.
Allen, on Thursday received the leagues Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the League’s most outstanding goaltender of the year after being named to the AHL First All-Star Team. With tonight’s shutout, he also becomes the second goaltender since 1984-85 to sweep in the three categories of wins (33), goals-against average (2.03), and save percentage (0.928).
Coach Anderson always believed that you need to play a full sixty minutes in a game to be successful and this season they were very consistent compared to most of his seven season with the team, “We got a few stinkers in there. But tonight that’s kind of what our team was tonight, you saw us play for sixty minutes. They played hard. They did the things that we asked them to do. And on top we took over the game right from the start. Jake had to make three to four real big saves. Other than that we kept them on their heels so we are good.”
The Wolves will start the Calder Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference Quarterfinals traveling to Rochester and facing the Americans for the first two games back to back starting on Friday, April 25th in a best of five series. Even though the Wolves have home ice, because of the over 300 mile travel rule, the better seed can choose whether to host the first two or last three games of the initial round. Game three comes to Chicago on Thursday, May 1st and if necessary games on the following Friday and Sunday.
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