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Monday, March 26, 2007

Peoria losses another by multiple: 6-1

One night after a shoot-out loss to the Peoria Rivermen in Peoria, the Chicago Wolves finished the regular season series against the Downstate team, winning 6-1 at the Allstate Arena Sunday afternoon. Peoria struggled all season against the Wolves, ending the season dropping eight games, one in a shoot-out.

Chicago got on the board early with a 1.22 score. Six different Chicago players scored goals, none by the top line. The game saw two short-handed goals and two power play goals scored. Peoria is struggling to enter the post-season, its hopes slowly fading, it faces Iowa in DesMoines next, currently posting a losing away record.

For the Wolves, every game is a must win as they have slipped to just one game in front of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, with the Knights having three more games in hand than the Wolves to play. If Chicago slips into second place, it would likely face the Milwaukee Admirals in the playoffs round one. The Wolves have a losing record this season against the Admirals and would probably face elimination. If the Wolves hung on to first place and the Rivermen managed to take fourth place, then the Wolves would face a team it has largely owned this season in the first round.

In the game, the first goal was scored early when Niko Dimitrakos intercepted a pass along the boards. He passed the puck up to Cory Larose near the hash marks who drop it to Jordan LaVallee for the first score on Chris Beckford-Tseu. The Rivermen evened the score up a little over ten minutes later after winning a face-off, the puck was raced up the boards by Jon DiSalvatore. At the circle he snapped a pass that ricocheted off of Wolves Nathan Oystrick and into the net for a short-handed goal.

In the second period a delayed penalty saw the puck centered by Andre Deveaux to Kevin Doell who maneuvered it passed Beckford-Tseu for the game-winner.

The third period was a penalty filled, ice-covered pugilistic battle that kept the penalty time keepers on their toes. In total 53 minutes were called in the game on the Wolves, 43 of which were in the third period, and 69 minutes on the Rivermen, 55 of which were in the third period. Ignoring the minor penalties, here’s how the period went, Colin Stuart followed a penalty with a short-handed shot that bounced off of Rivermen blue liner Jamie Rivers onto the stick of Kevin Doell for an easy open net shot. Less than two minutes later Doell led a breakout into the Rivermen defensive zone. Brian Sipotz had penetrated behind the Rivermen defenses and redirected the shot past Beckford-Tseu.

The first fight of the period, shortly after that, Guillame Desbiens dropped the gloves with Ryan Ramsay. Hans Benson, Rocky Thompson and Deveaux then received penalties at 9.03 for fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct. Mark Popovic then scored off of a power play pass from Brett Sterling. Then in the last minute, Brian Fahey gave the Wolves another power play goal, after which the two teams celebrated with a fight between Deveaux, again, and Patrick Wellar and Ramsay, again.

Beckford-Tseu had 25 saves in the fight, while Michael Garnett faced a pathetic 21 shots on goal, stopping 20. As a measure of the weakness of the Peoria team, there were only four shots on the Chicago goal in the third period, Just seven in the first period. Lack of discipline and a lagging offense is crippling the Rivermen this season. Plus, the team is letting their blue line be penetrated time after time, putting their goalie under pressure to stop to many offensive attacks.

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