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Saturday, May 12, 2007

IceHogs chase first and last UHL Colonial Cup; 1-0 series lead vs K-Wings

The Rockford IceHogs are entering the last series they will play in the United Hockey League this weekend. The series against the Kalamazoo K-Wings will determine the winner of the Colonial Cup Championship of the UHL.

If the IceHogs win the championship, they will be hanging the banner next year while part of another league, the American Hockey League, and under the affiliation of the Chicago Blackhawks. In the franchise's history in the UHL, it has never won a Colonial Cup.

The IceHogs lead the best of seven series 1-0 versus the K-Wings. Undefeated in the 2007 playoffs at the MetroCentre, the IceHogs have home ice advantage in the 2-2-1-1-1 series and play game two on Sunday.

Game one featured 41 Rockford shots on goal and an overtime period. The IceHogs had finished a 4-1 series victory over their cross state rivals, the Quad City Mallards and then a 4-1 series win over the Fort Wayne Komets May 5th. It took till May 9th for the Muskegon Fury to fall to the K-Wings 4-3.

The IceHogs needed the rest after the physical series against the Komets. According to the Kalamazoo Gazette Rockford coach Steve Martinson promised a physical game against the K-Wings. “We have a little rink and big forwards who like to hit,” Martinson told the Gazette.

However, the first game only had 18 minutes of penalties. One was against the K-Wings in the overtime for too many men on the ice. The resulting power play put the game in the bag for the IceHogs when Jason Noterman , Nathan Lutz and Matt Gens played the puck along the edge of the offensive zone till Gens had a clear shot at the goal, just four minutes into the overtime. His shot into the upper left of the goal lit the lamp.

Frederic Cloutier received the win, stopping 23 shots, one in overtime. Ryan Nie received the loss. He stopped 38 shots. The K-Wings were one for three on the power play and the IceHogs were one for six. The Michigan minor league sports blog run by Matt Mackinder reports that the K-Wings have lost Jason Lawmaster for the remainder of the season due to a 15 game infraction received during the series against the Fury.

The two teams meet again on Sunday, 7.05 PM. The next two games are played in Kalamazoo Wednesday at 7 PM and Saturday at 7:30 PM. The remaining schedule, if necessary is Sunday the 20th at 6:05 PM in Rockford, Tuesday the 22nd at 7 PM in Kalamazoo and finally Thursday the 24th at 8.30 PM in Rockford.

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