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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

2-1 Loss to Griffs = Playoff Berth!

Another loss for the Wolves, who have been cold in the second half of the season, 2-1 overtime against the Grand Rapids Griffins in Grand Rapids on Saturday. The one point game and a loss by the Peoria Rivermen, however, placed the Wolves into a playoff berth.

The game winning goal came after Michael Garnett stopped 37 shots on goal. The power play blow was delivered by ex-Wolf Kip Miller with just 54 seconds remaining before a shoot out.

Chicago took the lead in the first period of the contest. Mark Popovic’s loan goal stood till about 3.37 left in the game, despite 39 shots on Jimmy Howard by the Wolves offense. At that point Scott Parse put a rebound in off of a Matt Ellis shot, 1-1 and overtime.

In the overtime period, only one shot (the game winner) was registered. Nathan Oystrick took a hooking penalty at 3.35 giving the Griffins a 4 on 3 advantage for the remainder of the overtime. Miller’s goal was his 25th of the year. Howard received the win with 34 saves.

Omaha also received a berth despite its loss to the Manitoba Moose on Saturday. The Knights trail the Wolves by two points and have three games in hand. They play Iowa tonight in Des Moines. The Iowa Stars are in a race for the final Western Division playoff spot with the Peoria Rivermen. Iowa has been on a surge lately, and has six points on the Rivermen with the Rivermen having one game in hand. Peoria plays the fading Houston Aeros tonight in Texas.

The Wolves next game is against the Milwaukee Admirals in Milwaukee, Friday. Milwaukee is making a late run at first place. They could overtake both the Knights and the Wolves, they are currently four points behind the Wolves, two points behind Omaha, with Omaha holding three games on the Admirals.

In the North Division, the Griffin win helps it put distance on Peoria, which has the opportunity this year to hop over to the North Division for the playoffs. The Griffins have five points on the Rivermen. The Manitoba Moose also gained a playoff berth in the post-season, despite their loss to the Stars.

In the Atlantic Division the Manchester Monarchs were the first to gain a playoff berth. They defeated the second place Hartford Wolfpack for the berth. With three berths already gone in the East Division, there is a very interesting race for the final playoff spot developing. Both the Albany River Rats and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have 74 points and 73 games played for the final spot.

Both teams play weak opponents tomorrow: Albany at Springfield and Bridgeport at Philadelphia. The two teams face each other of Saturday in Albany.

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