On Saturday evening, in front of 8,535 Chicago Wolves fans, the Checkers put together yet another highly offensive performance, shutting down the hometown Wolves 5-3 in Game Five of the Calder Cup Championship, finishing off Chicago four-games-to-one. Despite falling behind the Wolves 1-0 after the first game of the series, Charlotte stormed back with four-straight victories, including the final three on Chicago ice.
Saturday’s fifth game once again saw the Checkers score early, while the visitors continued to add to their lead throughout the contest. Charlotte scored their first goal no later than 5:21 into any of the five Calder Cup Championship games (Game 1 – 2:19, first period, Game 2 – 3:50, first period, Game 3 – 1:51, first period, Game 4 – 5:21, first period, Game 5 – 1:31, first period).
On Saturday, it was Calder Cup MVP Andrew Poturalski who got things going for the Checkers. Strathclair’s Morgan Geekie picked up the second goal of the game (his eighth of the postseason), before fellow Manitoban Brooks Macek (Winnipeg) found his fifth playoff marker, brining the Wolves to within one goal of the Checkers in the final minute of the second frame.
Geekie picked things back up rather quickly for Charlotte in the third period, as he collected a helper on an early-period Trevor Carrick strike. Winnipeg’s Keegan Kolesar then assisted on Gage Quinney’s goal for Chicago, coming with just three minutes left to play. With Oscar Dansk on the bench for the extra attacker, Poturalski sealed the deal with his 12th goal and league-leading 23rd point of the playoffs… or so he thought.
With 39 seconds to play, Kolesar got the puck to fellow Winnipegger Cody Glass, who once again cut the Checkers’ lead to one goal. But that was as close as the Wolves would come. Zach Nastasiuk scored Charlotte’s second empty-netter of the game, finishing off Chicago 5-3, and claiming the franchise’s first Calder Cup.
Despite falling to AHL champions Morgan Geekie (Strathclair) and Stelio Mattheos (Winnipeg), Chicago’s Brooks Macek (Winnipeg), Cody Glass (Winnipeg), Keegan Kolesar (Winnipeg/Brandon) and Zach Whitecloud (Sioux Valley/Brandon) each put together postseasons to remember. Their respective statlines follow:
Geekie – 8 goals, 10 assists, 18 points, 6 penalty minutes
Glass – 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, 6 penalty minutes
Whitecloud – 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points, 11 penalty minutes
Mattheos – 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points, 4 penalty minutes
Kolesar – 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, 48 penalty minutes
Macek – 5 goals, 1 assist, 6 points, 8 penalty minutes
The Checkers will host a championship celebration open to the public on Monday, June 10th at the Bojangles Coliseum. Doors open to the public at 6:30 PM, with the procession beginning at 7:00 local time.