Wolves' playoff hopes still alive
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Chicago Wolves kept their playoff hopes alive Friday night with a 5-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena.
Defensemen Jim Vandermeer, Danny Groulx and Brad Hunt and forwards Darren Archibald and Andrew Gordon scored for the Wolves (37-28-5-4), who netted a season-high 3 power-play goals. Goaltender Matt Climie (24-24-3) stopped 40 shots to keep the Wolves in the chase for a Western Conference playoff berth.
With two games to play, the Wolves sit in 10th place with 83 points. They are among five teams chasing three available playoff spots, but they don't control their destiny because Milwaukee (85 points, two games left) defeated Charlotte 6-4 at home while Rockford (85 points, one game left) won 9-4 at San Antonio.
Rochester, which has 86 points with two games left, also is within the Wolves' reach. If the Wolves win their home games todayy and Sunday, they will finish with 87 points and reach the playoffs as long as two teams in the Milwaukee-Rockford-Rochester troika don't reach the 87-point mark. Oklahoma City (87 points) is beyond Chicago's grasp.
The Wolves took control Friday 12:27 into the first period. With Monsters goalie Sami Aittokallio well-screened, Vandermeer blasted a point shot through traffic and into the goaltender's mesh to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Moments later on the power play, defenseman Danny Groulx found a loose puck in the slot and slammed his shot off Davies in front of the net to make it 2-0 at 14:11.
But the Wolves failed to carry a 2-goal lead into the first intermission, as Monsters right wing Tomas Vincour scored on a redirect at 19:16.
The Wolves regained control when Archibald whacked a puck out of midair past Aittokallio at the 2:50 mark in the second period. Hunt followed by firing home a slap shot at 6:18 for a 4-1 lead as Aittokallio departed.
After Lake Erie's Paul Carey dumped a goal into an empty net following a scramble, Gordon accepted a Darren Haydar pass in the slot and rifled it past backup goaltender Calvin Pickard for a 5-2 lead at 17:11 of the second.
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