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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wolves drop another Shoot Out; END THIS FORMAT!

A tired Chicago Wolves came from behind to tie, but were unable to finish off the Toronto Marlies in a game Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum. The extra period game was decided by a shoot out that Chicago lost. Chicago has lost five of six shoot outs this year, and two of its six over time games.

The shoot out is not a format that has been kind to the Wolves. In the previous season, the team engaged in 11 shoot outs, winning only three of them.

Justin Pogge held the Wolves at bay, stopping 11 shots on goal in the first period. Boris Valabik, who returned to play Saturday for the first time since a December injury, was called for roughing at 4.23. That set up a power play opportunity for Erik Westrum. Firing from the boards, the puck ricocheted off of Aleksander Suglobov and past Fred Brathwaite. Brathwaite faced just four other shots in the period.

The second frame saw the Wolves answer the goal when they had a power play opportunity of their own. With just under two minutes into the start of the period, Alex Bourret cross passed to Mark Popovic at the top of the circle who top-shelved it past Pogge. Pogge stopped 14 Wolves shots in the period. Brathwaite shut the Marlies down, stopping seven shots in the period.

In the final frame of regulation play, Jeremy Williams, returning to the Marlies from his own injury, passed the puck up the ice to Westrum. Westrum, on a breakaway, took an off-angle shot that went through Brathwaite’s legs, giving the Marlies a 2-1 lead. With less than a minute to go, Brathwaite was pulled from the goal, giving Chicago a man advantage. Jared Ross found the puck loose in front of Pogge. He hammered on it until he scored.

In the shoot out, Cory Larose and Brett Sterling scored for the Wolves, while Westrum, Colin Murphy and Suglobov scored for the Marlies. It was Brathwaite’s first loss in six starts. In the American Hockey League, shoot out losses are not counted against the goalie. Brathwaite stopped 33 of 35 shots on goal. Pogge, who has not won his last four starts, stopped 26 of 28 shots on goal.

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