By Carter Brooks
Photos by Ross Dettman
The Chicago Wolves are deep into the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs thanks to a handful of Manitobans leading the charge.
With the American Hockey League's second round of the postseason fully underway, only seven teams remain in the hunt for Calder. Winnipeg's Adam Brooks (five goals, six points in seven games) and the Toronto Marlies have gone undefeated en route to another appearance in the third round following 3-0 and 4-0 sweeps of the Rochester Americans and the Cleveland Monsters, respectively.
Strathclair's Morgan Geekie (five goals, eight points in seven games played) and Winnipeg's Stelio Mattheos (two goals in seven games) have the Charlotte Checkers up 3-0 over the Hershey Bears, while former Manitoba Moose forward Chase De Leo has four goals in six postseason games, helping his San Diego Gulls to 2-0 series lead over Saskatchewan's Ethan Bear and the Bakersfield Condors.
However, it is in Chicago where most of Manitoba's upcoming hockey talent has gathered. Brooks Macek and Cody Glass joined Keegan Kolesar late in the season to provide some additional offensive support for the Wolves - the Vegas Golden Knights' farm team - who are going up against the Iowa Wild after a three-games-to-two opening series win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Macek has two goals and three points in three playoff games, while Glass has three goals and five points in eight contests. Kolesar, the third piece of the Winnipeg-trio, has four goals and 25 penalty minutes in his eight postseason contests. Joining the Winnipeggers on defence is Sioux Valley Dakota Nation's Zach Whitecloud. With two goals and four points in the playoffs, Whitecloud continues to be a big-time minute-muncher for the Wolves on the back-end, while producing offensively when given the opportunity, as he has done all season.
After jumping ahead two-games-to-none with 3-2 and 4-3 one-goal victories in Chicago in very early May, the Wolves dropped their latest contest this past Sunday 2-0 on an empty-netter in Iowa, in their first of three-straight games at the Wells Fargo Arena. With it being a 2-3-2 seven-game series split, Kolesar, Glass, Macek and Whitecloud will look to gain traction in games four and five, scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Puck drop for both road contests is set for 7:00 PM central, and the games can be viewed live on AHL TV.