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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tired Wolves thrash last place Crunch 6-2

The Syracuse Crunch were beaten soundly by the Chicago Wolves Sunday afternoon at the Allstate Arena, losing 6-2. Newly acquired Wolves Andy Delmore and Andre Deveaux each notched a goal while Colin Stuart had a short-handed goal.

Delmore, acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers in a trade February 1, from the Tampa Bay Lightning, had his second goal in Wolves colors to start the scoring with just 36 seconds on the clock. He currently leads American Hockey League blue liners with 14 goals. The Wolves continued to pressure the Crunch with ten more shots on goal during the period. The Crunch replied with just five shots of their own, all of which were stopped by Wolves goalie Fred Brathwaite. AHL referee Brian Pochmara called 16 minutes of penalties in the period.

In the second frame Crunch winger Darcy Verot took a pass in the slot from Marc Methot and fired it past Brathwaite, putting the score at 1-1. Chicago replied on one of its several second frame power plays when rookie Jordan LaVallee received a pass from Alex Bourret. Splitting two defenders, he beat Crunch goalie Dan Lacosta to put the Wolves in the lead 2-1.

Deveaux received a penalty at 9.31 leading to a Crunch power play. However, Colin Stuart and Delmore made a break for the Crunch net with Stuart potting a short handed goal for a 3-1 score. Deveaux, Steve Martins and Joey Crabb increased the Wolves lead to 6-1 in the third frame. Mid-way through the period Derek MacKenzie received a five minute major penalty for high sticking. A further two minutes was given as the penalty wound down to Braydon Colburn, leading to roughly six minutes of advantage before the Crunch were able to convert that into a goal.

Chicago was two for nine on the power play, while Syracuse was one for nine. There were a total of 39 minutes of power plays in the game. Thirteen different Wolves players had points in the game. Brathwaite received the win with 26 saves on 28 shots, while Lacosta, who was named player of the week last week, received the loss with 23 saves on 29 shots.

The Crunch continue to stew in the basement of their division, with just 43 points this season, the team is tied for 25th out of 27 teams in points, 25 out of 27 for penalty minutes and 26 out of 27 for goals allowed on the road. Unless a miracle occurs in Syracuse, the Wolves will not meet the Crunch again this season.

The win gives the Wolves an 11 point lead on their nearest rival in points in the West Division, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. The Wolves are tied for second place in the league, trailing the Chicago Blackhawk affiliates, the Norfolk Admirals and tied with the Manchester Monarchs. The team starts another road trip this week, playing the Houston Aeros on Saturday and Sunday and the San Antonio Rampage a week from Friday before returning to the Allstate Arena on February 24.

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