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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wolves drop Rampage 7-2

The largest season crowd in the AHL so far, 14,927, saw the Chicago Wolves defeat the San Antonio Rampage 7-2 Saturday night at the Allstate Arena. Leading by one goal, at the end of the first frame, the game looked to be another nail biter for the Wolves. Two goals by the Rampage in the first five minutes of the second period even made it look like the Wolves might drop a game to the perennial cellar dwellers of the league.

But a missed goal by referee Conrad Hache seemed to light the Wolves fire. They responded with 27 shots in the final two frames of the game, producing six goals. It was the second win in a row by Wolves goalie Michael Garnett, who stopped 33 of 35 shots. San Antonio goalie Josh Tordjman stopped 28 shots in his loss.

Blue liner Mark Popovic scored the first goal, while Brent Sterling potted two. Brian Fahey, Cory Larose, Jordan LaVallee and Darren Haydar each scored one goal. For the Rampage, goals were scored by Bill Thomas and Yanick Lehoux. Only fourteen minutes of penalties were assessed in the fast-moving game. Just two of them to Chicago. The win leaves the Wolves in the lead in the West Division by two points over the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.

Wrist shots

1) Ever heard of the Florida Seals? A member of the Southern Professional Hockey League, the team had a walkout by the players and was locked out of the Silver Spurs Arena earlier this month when team checks began bouncing. ProhockeyNews has been following the story closely. Without housing, visas and possibly health insurance, the players may be in need of additional help. Stay tuned…

2) At least "two to three" NHL teams are interested in an affiliation agreement with the Norfolk Admirals, according to a story in the Virginian Pilot. The paper quotes owner Ken Young as saying the team is pursuing options and plans to meet with several teams during the AHL All-Star meeting later this month in Toronto.

"I think during all-star weekend, and the beginning of that week, we should have a feel for what we'll be doing," Young told the Pilot.

The Winnebago County Board meets January 25 to reconsider the approval of the $20 million Metro Centre bond package. A difference between the city of Rockford and the county approvals left the acquisition of the Rockford IceHogs up in the air. IceHogs ownership then lobbied the board to adapt the city measure. However, the county could not reconsider the measure until the 25th.

3) Here is more hy-jinks by the zebras with orange: Frederick L'Ecuyer was given a player list for the Rochester Americans versus Syracuse Crunch game January 13th. It didn’t include Mark Mancari. When Mancari was involved in a fight with Crunch Andy Canzanello late in the game, Mancari’s penalty wasn’t read aloud by the PA announcer. So, Mancari continued to play. Only it was totally illegal. He should have been ordered off the ice.

The league intends to discipline the on-ice officials.

4) The Crossbar broke the story of Mathieu Brunelle. Brunelle left the Bloomington Prairie Thunder December 15, reporting to the St. Jean's Chiefs of the LNAH. He is still carried on the Prairie Thunder roster injured reserve. He must be seeking that excellent socialized medicine.

5) John Awe, who played for a few games in Chicago Wolves colors last week, won the ECHL skills competition for the fastest slapshot. A burning 102.2 MPH, it broke the previous record of 99.3 MPH, a record that stood for eight years. Awe returned to the Gwinnett Gladiators.

6) Speaking of the Gladiators, the few games I’ve seen I’ve been entranced by the lovely Megan Guthrie, the Gladiators trainer. Half in jest, I’d asked for her autograph in Dayton last month. Megan gets her day in the sun in an article here: LINK

7) Over in IceHog land, a fan favorite, Robin Big Snake, has been in trouble off and on all season. His most recent problem on January 5th he passed up an empty-net opportunity near the end of the game in favor of passing to Paul Brown. Brown needed one more goal to obtain the team’s first hat trick performance of the season.

8) Michael Franke is one of the most successful minor league hockey owners anywhere. He is warning the United Hockey League that it needs to reconsider moves that make it more like the NHL and the AHL. Specifically, in a Fort Wayne News-Sentinel story, Franke says the fans want to see heavier hitting hockey in the minors. “Now you have no hitting. Players are afraid to hit because they will get penalties. We are telling our players to not hit one another. There’s no fighting any more. If you are an instigator, you’re going to get thrown out. We’re taking all the things the fans want to see away from them.”

9) The Atlanta Thrashers met the New York Rangers for the first time since the Rangers lifted Jason Krog off the waiver wire, preventing the Thrashers from sending him back to the Chicago Wolves. The Rangers lost the game 3-1. Krog was used in a number of face-offs, winning more than losing them.

10) The Chicago Blackhawks dropped another game last night, against the Nashville Predators, 6-3. The Blackhawks are now 1-7-2, meaning they have only won one game in regulation or overtime in ten outings. Any more talk of a post season on Madison Avenue is just hot air.

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