ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Chicago Wolves wrapped up a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 triumph over the Iowa Wild on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Center Pat Cannone scored the lone goal while rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington rejected 16 shots to earn his third shutout of the season. The Wolves (39-27-6-1) will learn their Western Conference quarterfinal opponent and schedule next Sunday after their regular-season finale against Toronto.
Chicago has won 10 of its last 12 games to move from 11th to seventh in the Western Conference race. With three regular-season games remaining, the Wolves have a chance to rise as high as the No. 5 seed.
“We had to win a lot in a row,” said Wolves head coach John Anderson. “I give our guys a lot of credit. They had to really dig down. They weren’t easy games. We deserve to be there now. We’d like to finish with a good push toward the playoffs and hit the ground running.”
Cannone’s goal at 6:47 of the second period stood up as the game-winner. Defenseman Mathieu Brodeur claimed a bouncing puck at the top of the right circle, skated to its bottom and flipped a backhand pass to Cannone waiting at the far post to knock it home.
Iowa (23-46-2-2) pulled its goalie with just under a minute to go in an effort to earn the equalizer, but the Wolves were equal to the task to clinch the franchise’s 17th playoff bid in its 21 seasons.
Iowa goaltender John Curry (13-21-2) was stuck with the loss despite stopping 32 of 33 shots. Binnington (24-14-4) earned his fifth win in his last six starts.
“There was a pretty low point in the season a couple weeks ago,” Binnington said. “Most teams have a low point in the season. Thankfully ours was then and not now. I’m feeling good. I’ve been working hard on and off the ice with (goaltender coach) Stan (Dubicki).”
The Wolves enter the final week of the regular season with two home games to go: a 7 p.m. Amtrak Rivalry clash against Milwaukee and a 4 p.m. game on Sunday against Toronto. To get the best ticket specials for the regular season or Calder Cup playoffs, visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.