The Chicago Wolves were back in action Wednesday night in the Central Division Finals against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Wolves came back down 2-1 against the Checkers to advance to round two of the 2017 AHL Calder Cup playoffs. Wolves goalie Ville Husso had a great series in his first AHL playoff action of his career. Rookie Adam Musil scored three goals in the opening series, two being the game-winner (game 2 and clinching game 5).
The Wolves edged the Griffins for the Central Division title. So there was no question there was going to be some bad blood coming into this series. . Coming into this series, I expect a high-scoring, physical series. Both of these teams have experience and youth on their side, so it would be nothing short of entertainment.
The Griffins got things going just forty seconds into the contest. RW Martain Frk, who did not play in round one, shot a backhand past Husso’s glove to put the Griffins on the board.
Later in the period, Frk scored on the powerplay for his second of the night putting the Griffins up 2-0. A shot from the point squeezed right past Husso given the screen in front by Matthew Ford. Not an ideal start for the Wolves.
The Wolves would cut the deficit close to midway through the first period with a goal from Kenny Agostino, his third of the playoffs. Ty Rattie found Agostino with a pass from behind the net to give the Wolves some life.
Period two was scoreless, despite a lot of chances from both teams. At one point, the #Wolves powerplay had the puck in the zone for 1:35 but could not capitalize. At the end of two, Griffins were ahead 2-1 and led the SOG 28-22.
The Griffins extended their lead to two goals at 3:48 in the third period. Tomas Nosek beat Husso glove side for his third goal of the playoffs. The Wolves had some work to do.
The Wolves would get a powerplay opportunity shortly after the goal from Nosek but failed to do anything with it. The Wolves powerplay in these playoffs has not been all that successful. And not having Wade Megan, who has been out with injury, creates a big hole to fill on the top PP line.
Ben Street added the empty net goal at 18:09 to seal the deal in game one.
The Wolves going 0/5 on the powerplay was not something that can happen again this series. Wolves coach Craig Berube does not change the lines a whole lot, so I expect no change come game two. He believes in his guys, just have to execute even vs a top penalty kill in the Griffins.
Husso kept the Wolves in this one, especially in the second period stopping 19 shots. I expect him to be back in goal for game two.
Game two will be Friday at the Allstate Arena. Puck drop set for 7 p.m.