Chicago Wolves Win Calder Cup Title
After losing two straight games on the road to the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Chicago Wolves came home to the Allstate Arena, hoping to clinch their 2nd Calder Cup title and fourth championship in team history.
The Penguins started the game strong, but Chicago got the game's first goal on a late first period power play. Defenseman Nathan Oystrick fired one past goalie John Curry from the blue line for his third of the playoffs.
League MVP Jason Krog increased Chicago's lead to two after picking off an errant Penguins pass and beating Curry 2:05 into the second period.
The Pens wouldn't give up, as they tied the game before the end of the second period. Luca Caputi poked a loose puck in the crease over the goal line, and later in the second, Mark Ardelan scored just after a 57 second 5-on-3 advantage expired.
But 4:44 into the third, Krog picked up his second of the night, finishing off a perfect feed from Jesse Schultz on a 3-on-2 odd man break. That would prove to be the winning goal, as Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves on 27 Penguin shots.
Krog finished off his second hat trick of the post season, and effectively sewed up playoff MVP honors by scoring on a breakaway at 15:23 of the third.
Brett Sterling scored another insurance goal a few minutes later to wrap up the scoring, and start the party for the 9,808 in attendance.
The championship ended a six year title drought for the Wolves, the longest stretch without a league title in the team's 14 year history.
They won their first championship in their fourth season of operation, in 1998, winning the International Hockey League's Turner Cup. Two years later, they won their second Turner Cup.
After losing in the 2001 Turner Cup Finals, the club moved to the American Hockey League and wasted no time winning that league's championship. The Wolves claimed the 2002 Calder Cup title in their inaugural AHL campaign.
The team would return to the Calder Cup Finals in 2005, only to be swept by the Philadelphia Phantoms.
The title also makes the Wolves the only pro hockey franchise to win both the Turner Cup and Calder Cup more than once each.
Head Coach John Anderson became the 12th coach in AHL history to win multiple Calder Cup titles.
The championship capped one of the most successful seasons in club history for the Wolves. They finished the regular season with 53 wins and 111 points, earning them the top seed in the Western Conference.
They defeated the Milwaukee Admirals in six games in the first round, the Rockford IceHogs in seven games in the Division Finals, the Toronto Marlies in five in the Western Conference Finals before defeating the Penguins in six to claim the Calder Cup.
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