When we left off last week, the Chicago Wolves had won three straight games, with the hot play of Matt Climie leading the way. Last week was a tough one for the Wolves, as they attempted to grow on their winning streak against the top-seeded Abbotsford Heat and the Grand Rapids Griffins. Going into the week, the Wolves were tied for ninth place in the West, with a 12-9-2-1 record.
Wednesday, Dec. 19: Abbotsford @ Chicago
The Wolves opened the week at home against the Abbotsford Heat. The Calgary Flames' farm team entered the week as the top team in the West, presenting a difficult speed bump for the Chicago Wolves' impressive win streak.
Darren Haydar opened the scoring 10 minutes into the first on a feed from Jordan Schroeder, and Matt Climie took it from there. The 30-year-old from Leduc, Alberta saved all 27 shots the Heat threw at him, leading the Wolves to a 1-0 victory.
Climie was awarded the first star of the game, while Haydar secured the third. The second star was awarded to Abbotsford's goalie, Barry Brust.
Saturday, Dec. 22: Chicago @ Grand Rapids
The Wolves final game before the Christmas break was against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings farm team) on Saturday.
The game was another defensive battle, as the first two periods passed with neither team breaking the stalemate.
Darren Archibald netted one on the power play to put Chicago on top early in the third, but the Griffins answered just 10 minutes later with a power-play marker themselves.
Goaltenders Matt Climie and Tom McCollum shut the door for the rest of the game, bring the two teams to overtime at a 1-1 tie.
Just over half-way through the frame, defender Brian Lashoff gave the home crowd an early Christmas present, winning the game on the Grand Rapids' first shot of extra time.
All three stars of this matchup went to the Griffins, with Lashoff, Landon Ferraro and McCollum earning recognition. Climie had another solid performance, saving 26 out of 28 shots. Climie has been a savior for Chicago, as Eddie Lack's "minor" hip flexor injury is appearing a bit more serious.
Despite picking up three out of four possible points, the Wolves slipped in the standings. They are now tied for 10th in the conference with the Peoria Rivermen—not to worry, though, as the season is still young and Chicago has games in hand against every team in the West.
The Vancouver Canucks' affiliates have a busy schedule following the holiday, playing the Rockford IceHogs on the 27th before back to back home games against the Abbotsford Heat on the 29th and 30th. The IceHogs are currently tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, while the Heat have slipped to fourth with Chicago contributing one of three consecutive losses last week.
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