After a 3-0 win in game six over the Stockton Heat, the Chicago Wolves are into the finals of the Calder Cup playoffs. If you remember the last time this trophy was awarded, they were defeated in the final by the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate at the time, the Charlotte Checkers. Now, with some of the same players that beat the Wolves all those years ago, they look to avenge their loss and win their 3rd Calder Cup.
We await their opponent but it will be one of the Springfield Thunderbirds, the AHL affiliate of the St Louis Blues, or the Laval Rocket, the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate. This should be an entertaining and tense final for the Wolves. Four more wins and the AHL’s best regular-season team will have converted their success into the playoffs. It won’t be easy, but this Wolves team is impressive.
A few people will remember in mid-December, a lot of the Wolves’ forwards were called up to help the team when a COVID-19 outbreak caused half of the forward core to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, meaning they were ineligible to play. A lot of the Wolves forwards were called up for two games, and they won both of them with meaningful contributions from the Chicago players.
I’ve made this joke a few times this season, saying that the Chicago Wolves are an NHL-caliber team in the American Hockey League, but the Canes AHL affiliate really has been the best team in the AHL to this point. They await their final opponent of the season knowing that they are just four wins from the AHL’s most prestigious prize. They were denied in 2019 by the Checkers and now, some of those same players look to bring the Calder Cup to the Windy City.
If you think back to that 2019 Charlotte Checkers team that beat the Wolves in the final, you’ll remember that Andrew Poturalski had 2 goals in game 5 that clinched the cup, including the series winner, and led the AHL playoff scoring. Yes, Andrew Poturalski who is the captain of this Wolves team and accepted the trophy on behalf of the group. A former thorn in the Wolf is now the leader of the pack.