The Chicago Wolves' backs are against the wall as they now skate onto foreign ice.
The Wolves dropped both home games last week to the Toronto Marlies in the Western Conference semifinals of the Calder Cup -- the American Hockey League's top prize. The Wolves lost 5-2 on Friday, then fell 4-2 the next day.
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Game 3 is Wednesday, and what could be the deciding game of the series -- Game 4 -- is Friday night at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. Game 5 also is in Canada, while the final two games, if needed, would be back at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
"We've got to stop giving up Grade A chances," said Wolevs coach John Anderson. "Our goalie (Jake Allen) can stop the (normal) shots, but they're passing right across the crease to the wide-open net. I don't know who can stop those. They're very slick in front of the net. Fifteen feet in front, not only do they shoot well, they see people off to the side to pass to. They're very good at that."
The Marlies jumped out to a 3-goal lead in the first period of Game 2. In fact, the Marlies opened the scoring just 64 seconds into game when Toronto forward Peter Holland claimed possession to Allen's right and went to the backhand for his second goal in as many nights.
The Wolves cut the Marlies' lead to 3-1 early in the third period, and then made it to 3-2 at 17:21 during a 6-on-4 advantage when Dmitrij Jaskin scored off a pass from Keith Aucoin.
"We could have won both of those games against Toronto. We just can't fall behind 3-0," Aucoin said. "One goal is nothing in hockey. But when you get down 3-nothing at your home rink two nights in a row, the chances of coming back are not very good."
Aucoin certainly knows about comebacks -- and championships.
In the 2010 Calder Cup finals, when Aucoin was with Hershey, the Bears lost their first two games at home to Texas before sweeping the next four to capture the championship.
"They came out with a great push (in the second period)," Marlies center Jerred Smithson told Leafs TV on Monday after Toronto's practice, "I'll give them a lot of credit. it was a different hockey club after that first period,
"But a lot of credit to us as well. we stuck to the game plan and maybe gave up too many chances than we would have liked, but that happens."
The Wolves are 2-7 all-time when losing the first two games of a playoff series, and 1-2 when losing the first two games at home. Their last successful comeback came in the 2002 Western Conference semifinals against Syracuse.
"They gave us all we could handle last game," Marlies right wing Brandon Kozun told Leafs TV on Monday. "We were lucky to get those 3 goals early, and that's huge. Getting big starts is huge. It's hard for a team to come back."