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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Last minute Bulldogs goals force overtime. Wolves pull it out 4-3

A last minute come from behind effort sent the Chicago Wolves into overtime against the Hamilton Bulldogs Wednesday at the Copps Coliseum. But the Wolves hung on to win the game 4-3.

Led by Fred Brathwaite in goal, the Wolves and the Bulldogs had a quiet first frame, marked by just two minor penalties. Brathwaite stopped seven shots on goal in the period. With less than three minutes remaining in the period Brett Sterling captured a turnover in the Bulldogs defensive zone. Sterling’s shot was wide, but Steve Martins shoveled the puck into a wide open net giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead. Jaroslav Halak, who leads the list of American Hockey League goalies stopped eight Wolves shots in the first frame.

A more active second frame provided Martins his second goal of the night on a power play. A shot by Cory Larose from the slot deflected off of Sterling to Martins who scored. Hamilton blue liner Danny Groulx shot a wrister at Brathwaite three minutes later. It was deflected in by Jonathan Ferland through Brathwaite’s five hole.

Nathan Oystrick returned the Wolves to a two goal lead with only 38 seconds remaining in the period. Stripping the puck from the Bulldogs at the redline, Oystick’s slap shot scored. Brathwaite stopped ten Bulldogs shots while Halak stopped six Wolves shots in the period.

A quiet third frame seemed to spell the end of the Bulldogs. Three minor penalties, and 12 Wolves shots on goal was the story for people leaving up to the nineteen minute and 37 second mark. Then, the Bulldogs scored twice in 23 seconds, the last goal occurring with just four seconds left to play, putting the game into over time. Andrei Kostitysn, who fired a bullet from the circle to score through Brathwaite’s five hole, scored the first of the goals. Then, Kyle Chipchura was working the boards. He lost and then regained the puck. He passed the puck to Mathieu Biron who fired at Brathwaite. Ferland then deflected the puck past Brathwaite to score.

In the overtime, Brian Fahey’s shot was deflected for the game winning goal by Mark Popovic. Brathwaite stopped four Bulldog shots in the overtime period. His win, the 17th this season, leaves him among the top ten active goalies in the league. Brathwaite stopped a total of 30 Bulldog shots. The Wolves were one in six on the power play.

The Bulldogs, a possible post-season opponent of the Wolves, stopped 27 shots on goal for Halak’s loss. They were one for five on the power play. The Wolves play Hamilton again on Friday night before ending the Canadian road trip with a game against the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.

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