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Friday, October 27, 2006

Iowa Stars scouted

The Iowa Stars travel to Chicago Saturday to take on the Wolves Saturday. Coach Dave Allison returns again to coach the team. The experienced Allison has seen time in Grand Rapids and Milwaukee prior to coaching the Stars. Plus three of the big hitters from last season are returning again, Junior Lessard with 58 points, Loui Eriksson with 60 and Toby Petersen with 73. So, in general, we could say that an Iowa team that got into the playoffs last year is returning with much the same team this year, except it appears there may be even more muscle to deal with. That includes Marty Sertich, a rookie who scored 64 points last season at Colorado College and Marty Wilford, a veteran defense man from the Manchester Monarchs who posted 41 points last season.

New to the league are Joel Lundqvist from the Swedish Elite League; Dan Hacker, up from the ECHL Idaho Steelheads; Mark Fistric and John Lammers, both up from the WHL; and Tobias Stephan in goal, a 2nd round draft pick in 2002.

Mike Green is returning to the North American ice after two years in the German Elite League where he breathed new life into his career. However, he was most recently playing in the AHL for the Rampage in 2004 when he scored 23 points in 45 games.

Michael Smith’s presence in goal will be missed by this team, though Dan Ellis with a .911 save percentage and 2.78 goals against average, spent 34 games in the net for the Stars last year.

The Stars had the Wolves number last year. The Wolves won only two games, both in over time. (Originally, this sentence said the Wolves never won a game against the Stars.) The same group is back, with more experience. If the Wolves are going to show they’ve changed, they can start by winning against these guys for once. The Stars enter the contest fresh off an over-time loss to the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights on Thursday. The loss snapped a six game win streak for the Stars, who are 6-1-0-0 for the season and dropped to second place behind Omaha.

The Wolves enter the arena fresh from their first home game victory over the Philadelphia Phantoms on Thursday. They are 5-3 for the year.

The on ice contest on Saturday is masking another: the battle of attendance. This is the first of several dates this season when the Wolves and the Chicago Blackhawks go head to head for the hockey dollar in Chicago. Although the Wolves have not beaten the Blackhawks in season attendance, they often beat them in the head to head competition.

Former Wolf Karl Stewart was picked up on waivers by the Blackhawks from the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. Stewart played with the Wolves for three seasons out of the minors and has played 16 games in the NHL. Although you can still find lots of Wolves fans in Stewart jerseys at the Allstate, one thing you won’t find is a mention of the Chicago Wolves in the Chicago Blackhawk press release about Stewart.

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