Wolves rout Admirals to win Midwest Division
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media April 19, 2014 11:04PM
Game 1: 6 p.m. Friday at Rochester.
Updated: May 21, 2014 6:22AM
On Jan. 18, the Wolves were 13 points behind the Grand Rapids Griffins for the Midwest Division lead.
Today, they are Midwest Division champions.
Ty Rattie and Eric Selleck scored twice, Sebastian Wannstrom added a short-handed goal and Jake Allen made 20 saves for his league-leading seventh shutout to give the Wolves a 6-0 victory Saturday over the Milwaukee Admirals (39-24-6-7) in the regular-season finale.
Combined with the Griffins’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters, the Wolves (45-21-5-5) won their second division title in three years and clinched the ninth first-place finish in team history, beating out the Griffins by a point (100-99) for the crown.
“[The Griffins game] ended right near the end of the second intermission, and these guys, it’s like they’ve got Twitters and whatever the heck else they’ve got, and I heard a roar in the room, and I knew the guys knew,” Wolves coach John Anderson said. “I think we came out and really buckled down in the third and played hard, too.”
They did, turning a 3-0 lead into a 6-0 win that matched their biggest margin of victory. It also finished their chase of a Griffins team that spent the last 167 days in first place.
“We knew we had the right team in the dressing room to do it,” said Rattie, who finished with 31 goals. “As long as you have faith in the team and you have confidence in the team and [we]play the way we’re supposed to, I think we can beat any team in the league.”
For starters, the Wolves have to beat the Rochester Americans in a best-of-five first-round matchup that starts Friday in Rochester and shifts to Allstate Arena for Game 3 on May 1.
The Wolves are in that position after a run of 25 victories in their last 38 games to end the season.
“There’s no easy way to do it,’’ Anderson said. ‘‘Wait until the last day, and we had to have some help. God bless Lake Erie.”