Back at Allstate Arena for the first time in three weeks, the Chicago Wolves (9-6-0-1) seem like a new-look team. Solid goaltending was a key during the Wolves’ annual circus trip in which Chicago went 5-1-0-0. Jake Allen started all six games, allowing just 10 goals total. However, head coach John Anderson gave the nod to Matt Climie Saturday night in a 4-3 Wolves victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins (10-4-1-1). Climie has been struggling early in the season, entering the game winless in his first three starts.
“You know, I’ve been whipping Jake and he’s just been playing and playing and playing,” said Anderson. “We were playing a really good team and I figured it would be a good chance for (Climie) to come up and he made some real big saves at the end there. I think he feels way better about himself.”
Climie stopped an onslaught of shots in the final 30 seconds of the game with the net empty for Grand Rapids.
“I knew the guys had battled hard for me all game and I just had to do my job and keep the puck out,” said Climie.
Despite giving up two goals to tie the game at 3-3 in the third, Climie seemed to gain confidence after a short-handed goal by the Wolves’ Taylor Chorney. It was Chorney’s first of the season and one of two shorties for the Wolves on the night.
“It’s a great feeling when the guys are battling hard for you,” said Climie. “Especially on the PK when guys are doing that extra bit, and you score a couple short-handed goals because of it.”
The Wolves will now take a well-deserved break before traveling to Milwaukee to face the Admirals on Friday. Riding a five-game win streak, they have plenty to be happy about, as does Climie.
“He’s such a wonderful kid, always smiling,” said Anderson. “I’m really happy for him.”
Climie kept 23 of 26 shots out of the net to get his first win of the season.
“It feels really good to get the first win out of the way. It’s been kind of a tough start for the team and for me personally, so it’s nice to continue that momentum and continue the win streak.”