The Chicago Wolves kicked off their Midwest Division schedule with dominant wins over the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday (4-0) and Saturday (7-2), remaining unbeaten in regulation with a 3-0-1-0 record and 7 points, good for second in the league; the only team with more points than Chicago is its Midwest Division rival and next opponent, the Milwaukee Admirals, who have collected a perfect 4-0-0-0 record to start their season.
The Chicago Wolves earned three of a possible four points during their weekend doubleheader against Charlotte at Allstate Arena, improving their record in home openers to 13-6-1-1 (.667) and 5-1-1-0 (.786) when opening the season at home; on Friday and Saturday the team will host its newest Midwest Division opponent, the Lake Erie Monsters, who the Wolves went 3-0-1-0 against last season when they were members of the North Division.
The Chicago Wolves return to action this weekend with a home-opening doubleheader against the Charlotte Checkers. Head coach John Anderson will resume his duties behind the bench and will be flanked by two new additions in assistant coaches Mark Hardy and Brad Tapper. The Wolves are 12-6-1-1 (.650) in home openers, including a 4-1-1-0 (.750) mark when they begin the season in their own barn.
The Wolves dropped the opening two games of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Marlies at Allstate Arena last week and now hit the road to Toronto for Games 3-5 (if necessary) looking to shrink the 2-0 deficit; Chicago is 2-7 all-time when starting off a postseason series with consecutive losses and 1-2 when doing so on home ice, with the pair of series victories coming in 2000 and 2002, both championship seasons.
Starting off the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs strong, the second-seeded Wolves closed out the Western Conference Quarterfinals with a 4-2 win over Rochester in a decisive Game 5 on Sunday and move on to the Western Conference Semifinals to face third-seeded Toronto; this will be the 13th time in 16 postseason appearances that Chicago has made it to the final eight teams, posting an 8-4 series record in the first 12 instances and 8-2 under head coach JOHN ANDERSON.
After going 1-1 in Rochester to open the Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Wolves return to the comfort of Allstate Arena looking to capture two more games and the first round against the Americans; Chicago has not split on the road to open a postseason series since 2002 and is 4-3 all-time when doing so, including three rounds during the 2002 Calder Cup playoffs during which they posted an .857 winning percentage (12-2) at home to claim the championship.
The Wolves, the Western Conference’s 2nd seed and Midwest Division champions, finally learned their playoff fate on Saturday night and will face the 7th-seeded Rochester Americans in the best-of-five first round; Chicago has never faced Rochester in the postseason, but split this season’s two-game series and are 6-7-1-0-0 all-time against the Amerks.
The Wolves close out their regular-season schedule this week with three games against division opponents while continuing to chase Grand Rapids for the Midwest Division title, sitting 4 points back with a game in hand; Chicago clinched the 16th playoff berth in team history on April 5 and needs 1 point to ensure home-ice advantage for the Calder Cup playoffs.
By claiming three points against Milwaukee last week (1-0-0-1), the Wolves clinched the 16th playoff berth in the team’s 20-year history; additionally, Chicago reclaimed the Amtrak Rivalry trophy from the Admirals for their fourth win in five seasons since its inception in 2009-10.
With two wins last week, the Wolves now need just three more points to clinch their 16th playoff berth in franchise history; Chicago has nine games (5H/4A) remaining in the regular season and plays all of them against Midwest Division opponents as they sit six points behind Grand Rapids with two games in hand for the top spot.
Chicago continued to gain ground in the Midwest Division last week by earning five of six points, including two on Sunday against first-place Grand Rapids to split the season series 5-5-0-0; following Wednesday’s and Saturday’s contests against Lake Erie, the Wolves will exclusively face intra-division opponents to finish the regular season as they play Milwaukee four times and Rockford and Iowa each three times.