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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lack of discipline, defense out of position and no shots. Iowa wins

The Iowa Stars downed the Chicago Wolves 3-2 Friday night in Des Moines. The Wolves remain just two points ahead of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in the standings. The Knights have 13 games remaining to play, while the Wolves have just ten.

The Stars victory was earned despite not capitalizing on eight power play opportunities and giving up a penalty shot to the Wolves. Chicago had one power play light, but only put 19 shots on goal, the fewest the team has put on a goal this season.

Iowa scored first. Scott May broke away to grab a puck steaming behind the Wolves goal line. May, who just returned from a 25 game lay-up, passed it out to Star Mario Scalzo who took an off-speed shot before the Wolves defense had even set-up. Garnett was fooled completely and the game was 1-0.

Darren Haydar helped the Wolves reply less than three minutes later, crossing the blue line with Jason Krog on his left, Haydar dished a pass cross ice to Krog who fired a shot which caught Dan Ellis flat-footed to even the score.

In the second frame, the Wolves were attempting to clear a puck out of their zone. Several Wolves were out of position when the puck was turned by Mark Fistric who fired toward the net. Junior Lessard, who was off to Michael Garnett’s right, tipped it in for another easy goal. Then the Wolves first line moved quickly from near the Wolves goal line across the Iowa blue line, passing cross ice several times quickly Haydar found open space and beat Ellis to even the score again.

The third stanza once again saw Iowa serve a heaping, once again seeming to catch a sleeping Wolves defense the puck crossed the goal line, appearing to be an icing, however Iowa Konstantin Pushkarev picked it up and fired a shot that was deflected in by Francis Wathier. Chicago had an opportunity to even the score again when a penalty shot was awarded to Brett Sterling with just 2.14 left in the game. However, Ellis stayed with Sterling’s fake and had a nice save.

Beside for the defensive problems, the paltry 19 shots on goal for the game, and the 18 minutes of penalties versus just eight for Iowa, it was a barn burner for the Wolves. Garnett received the loss, stopping 29 shots on goal. Ellis received the win, stopping 17 shots, including the penalty shot.

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