Marlies next playoff test for Wolves

By Ross Forman
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/8/2014 7:57 PM

The last time the Chicago Wolves hoisted the Calder Cup as champions of the American Hockey League was in 2008.

Their road to the title ran through the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals -- and the Wolves prevailed in five games.

The Wolves are looking to repeat history.

The Wolves, who ousted the Rochester Americans in their best-of-five first-round playoff series, host the Marlies in Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Game 2 at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

The action shifts north of the border for the next three games, when the Marlies host the Wolves on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, May 14, 16 and 17, at 6 p.m. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be back in Chicago on May 19 and 21.

The Marlies, who were 45-25-2-4 during the regular season, are coming off a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round -- the third consecutive year that Toronto has swept its opening series.

T.J. Brennan and Spencer Abbott were the Marlies' offensive stars during the regular-season, collecting 72 and 69 points, respectively. Brennan finished tied for third in the league in points, and led all AHL defensemen.

Josh Leivo was second on the team with 23 goals, while goaltenfder Drew MacIntyre posted a 29-15-3-1 record and 2.53 goals-against average in 48 games.

Jerry D'Amigo has been the Marlies' top scorer in the playoffs, with 2 goals and 4 assists against the Admirals. Trevor Smith has 5 assists, while MacIntyre has allowed only 4 goals over nine periods.

"Their power play is really good," said Wolves coach John Anderson. "It's been really good all year -- top five in the league. And I think they scored a ton of power-play goals against Milwaukee in the first series.

"We take enough penalties skating around the ice. We don't to take penalties after whistles or high sticks. We want to move our feet so we don't take hooking penalties. That's one of the absolute keys to the series: keeping out of the penalty box."

Wolves rookie forward Dmitrij Jaskin leads the AHL in postseason scoring with 2 goals, 5 assists in five games -- including the game-winning power-play goal in Game 5 against the Americans.

Keith Aucoin, with 2 goals and 2 assists against Rochester, is seeking his third Calder Cup title to go with two he won with Hersey (2009, 2010).

Jake Allen, who won the 2014 Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL's top goalie, finished the first round with a 0.890 save percentage, including a shutout against the Americans in Game 3.

The Wolves and Marlies split the regular-season games, each winning on the road. The Marlies won 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 17, while the Wolves skated to a 2-1 victory eight days later in Toronto.

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