Wolves Take 3-2 Series Lead with 5-2 WinMay 25, 2019
The Gulls fell to the Chicago Wolves 5-2 tonight at Pechanga Arena and now trail 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals.]
“This is nothing new for our team. Whatever it was, mid-November or late November, we were in last place,” said San Diego head coach Dallas Eakins. “We didn’t have a playoff spot going into the last two games of the season. We didn’t have home ice in Round 1. We didn’t have home ice in Round 2. We don’t have it now. I just don’t think our guys give a damn about that. They’re going to dig in. It doesn’t matter to them. They’ll do their best to show some resolve.”
Adam Cracknell scored the first goal of the game and has recorded at least one point in 10 of his last 13 games. Cracknell now ranks second in scoring (7-9=16) and third in goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Simon Benoit picked up an assist on his goal.
Trevor Murphy recorded two assists and now has 1-3=4 points in his last three games played. Murphy’s two assists marks his second multi-point game of the Western Conference Finals and his fifth career multi-point playoff game.
San Diego got on the board early after Cracknell deflected a puck past Chicago netminder Max Legace 4:47 into the game. Before the puck found the back of the net, San Diego circled the puck in the offensive zone and then to the blueline. Simon Benoit fired the initial shot, but the puck changed direction after hitting Cracknell and it trickled into the net for the game’s first score.
Chicago evened the game as a result of an unfortunate bounce for San Diego. Zach Whitecloud took a long shot from just inside the blue that hit Gulls defenseman Josh Mahura in the face and bounced directly to Tomas Hyka, who beat Boyle with a wrist shot, tying the game at one goal apiece at the 11:24 mark of the first period. Mahura returned to the game at the start of the second period.
The Wolves then took the lead as Cody Glass buried a rebound off a shot by Whitecloud with 6:01 remaining in the opening period. Whitecloud gained his second primary assist on the goal and Tye McGinn also picked up a helper.
After 20 minutes of play, the Wolves held a 2-1 lead and outshot the Gulls 13-7. San Diego was unable to score on the only power play of the period.
Two minutes into the following period, Sam Steel was sent to the penalty box on a two-minute interference minor. San Diego was successful on the lone penalty kill of the period and has now killed 12 consecutive opposing power plays. In seven home games this postseason, the Gulls are 24-27 (88.9%) on the penalty kill and have added two shorthanded goals.
There were no goals scored in the middle frame and the shot total remained in Chicago’s favor for a combined 21-14.
The score was tied up 3:57 into the third period following a Wolves turnover. Trevor Murphy intercepted the puck in the neutral zone on a missed pass by Chicago. Jacob Larsson took a pass from Murphy and brought the puck down the left wing of the ice. An untouched wrist shot from far away beat Legace’s glove side for the score.
The tied score didn’t last long as an errant shot bounced off the boards behind the net and right to Carr on the backdoor. Carr scored on the rebound to put Chicago ahead 3-2 with 14:36 remaining in regulation.
A fortunate break for Chicago extended the lead to two. With a delayed penalty against the Wolves, Gulls netminder Kevin Boyle headed to the bench for an extra attacker. As the Gulls controlled the puck in the neutral zone, Isac Lundestrom’s pass split two Gulls defenders and rolled into the vacated net, putting Chicago ahead 4-2 with 9:11 left in the third period.
Tye McGinn sealed the victory for Chicago with an empty-net goal with 2:09 left in regulation.
“Obviously, this isn’t the position we wanted to be in leaving three games at home, but that’s where we’re at,” said Gulls forward Adam Cracknell. “We have to embrace the opportunity and move forward, not dwell on this one. Fly tomorrow and get back at it Monday. Hopefully, we’ll be playing two games by the end of this week.”
The Western Conference Finals will resume with Game 6 on Monday night, May 27 (7 p.m.) at Allstate Arena in Chicago.