Wolves advance to Western Conference semifinal, close out Rochester
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media May 4, 2014 9:54PM
Updated: May 4, 2014 9:55PM
John Anderson said the Wolves expected to beat the Rochester Americans in their first-round series. They just might not have expected it to be as difficult as it was.
After falling behind by a goal in the second period, the Wolves scored three unanswered goals to beat the Americans 4-2 on Sunday at Allstate Arena and win the best-of-five series 3-2. Dmitrij Jaskin’s power-play goal with 26.8 seconds left in the second held up as the game-winner.
The Wolves will open their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal Friday at home against the Toronto Marlies.
Getting to that point was probably tougher than most expected. The Wolves entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the West and finished 15 points ahead of the Americans, but they needed Jaskin’s overtime goal to win Game 1 and were behind late in the second period of Game 5 before Brent Regner’s power-play goal tied the score at 2 with 2:32 left.
“I think we were playing really well, but then we took it into another gear,” Anderson said. “We got desperate, and we played harder and harder. I think we really pinned them in their zone for lengths of time there, and I think it kind of wore them down a little bit.”
Jaskin was one of the players most responsible for that. In addition to scoring the game-winner, he assisted on the equalizer.
He said the Wolves knew that if they kept doing what they had been doing for most of the game — they outshot the Americans 36-23 — things would turn in their favor.
They did, but not until the Wolves were staring at elimination.
“I just [felt] right from the first second when I got to the rink everybody was really focused and ready,” Jaskin said. “They knew what was going on here, and I think we knew we were better than the other team and we’ll just give 100 percent and win.”
Jake Allen (21 saves) recovered from the 7-2 loss Friday in which he was pulled late in the second.
The Wolves are headed to the second round for the first time since 2010. And it happened after they got desperate late in the second period.
“We have to at this time of year, right?” Regner said.