Wolves enter must-win territory
And just like that, the Chicago Wolves have their backs up against the wall.
A third period rally fell short for the Wolves as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the San Antonio Rampage in Game 2, and now find themselves in a 2-0 hole in the best-of-five opening round AHL series. Kevin Doell scored his first and second goals of the playoffs, and Darren Haydar also tallied for Chicago, who will now have to win three straight games on home ice to advance to the second round.
Prior to the game Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish took a page out of the Alain Vigneault handbook by switching goaltenders with the hope to spark his club. After Eddie Lack allowed five goals in Game 1 and fell to 0-5 against the Rampage this season, the Wolves bench boss turned to veteran Matt Climie between the pipes.
The Wolves did not get the spark they looked-for and found themselves in a 2-1 deficit after the first period, despite out shooting the Rampage 15-9. After Bracken Kearns made it 4-1 Rampage with just over six minutes left in the second period, MacTavish had seen enough and turned to Lack to backstop the team the remainder of the game.
With the Rampage finding them selves in penalty trouble in the third period, the Wolves were able to net two quick goals, 41 seconds apart on the man advantage to make it a one-goal game. The Wolves continued to pressure the Rampage defenders and goaltender Jacob Markstrom, but could not find the equalizer they needed to send the game to overtime. Markstrom made 36 saves including 13 in the final frame.
The two teams will now make their way to Chicago for the duration of the series. Game 3 goes Tuesday night at the Allstate Arena.
-Clime allowed four goals on 24 shots before being replaced by Lack who would stop all seven shots he faced
-Taylor Matson picked up an assist on the Wolves first goal of the game, his first professional post season point
-Mark Mancari (2x), Matson, Brad Hunt, Kevin Connauton, and Haydar picked up assists for the Wolves
-After taking a puck in the face on the first goal, Wolves center Steve Reinprecht left the game bleeding and did not return
-Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen took a big, high hit from Rampage defender Alex Petrovic midway through the first period, Jensen was slow to get up but did stay in the game, Petrovic was giving a minor penalty for elbowing on the play
-The Rampage went 3-for-5 on the power play, while the Wolves went 2-for-7
-Matson was the only Wolves player to finish with a positive plus/minus, at plus-1
-Mancari had a team high 6 shots for the Wolves
3 Stars: 1. SA, Jon Matsumoto 2. SA, Mark Cullen 3. SA, Bracken Kearns