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Sunday, May 20, 2007

IceHogs one win from Colonial Cup championship; Down K-Wings 6-1

The Rockford IceHogs continued to dominate home ice, winning another playoff victory and edging closer to a Colonial Cup championship with a decisive 6-1 win over the Kalamazoo K-Wings Sunday at the MetroCentre.

Kevin Ulanski scored two goals. The IceHogs scored twice in the 151 seconds and the Hogs play forced the K-Wings to pull rookie goalie Ryan Nie. And Matt Gens and Jason Ralph each scored two points in the win.

Ulanski scored with less than 70 seconds on the clock of the first period, unassisted, when he intercepted a pass and put the puck past Nie. Less than 90 seconds later Rockford scored again. Mike Letizia putting a shot in the twine, his first of the playoffs.

Then the K-Wings, on the power play, put a pass from Tyler Kindle to Glenn Detulleo for a score. Later in the period the K-Wings killed a Hogs 5:3 power play, bringing the period to the last four and half minutes of play. In the final 42 seconds, Ulanski scored again, adding insurance and making the lead 3-1.

In the second period Gens made a long pass to Ralph at 2:08. Ralph completed the score, making it 4-1 Rockford. Then just 2:44 later, Bryce Cockburn scored on a Nathan Lutz rebound.

In the first two periods of play the K-Wings only put 15 shots on goal, compared to 27 shots on goal for Rockford. In the final period of play, although Kzoo had three power plays and put an additional 14 shots on goal, it was unable to convert anything to the scoreboard. Following the end of the second period, the K-Wings pulled rookie goalie Nie in favor of Tom Askey. Rockford, converted just one of its seven third frame shots, a power play goal by Preston Mizzi, to make the final score 6-1.

Nie received the loss, stopping 22 of 27 shots. Askey stopped six of seven Hog shots. The winner was Frederic Cloutier, who stopped 28 of 29 shots on goal.

Only three K-Wing players had more than three shots on goal in the contest, Kindle had five, Kory Karlander and Nick Bootland had three each. Among Rockford players, six registered at least three shots on goal.

The United Hockey League Colonial Cup is present at the contests and will be awarded on ice when the series is completed. If Kzoo wins, it would represent back-to-back championships for the K-Wings. If Rockford wins, it will be bitter sweet as the Norfolk Admirals will be displacing the players when it moves to the American Hockey League next season.

Rockford now leads the series 3-2. The series moves back to Kalamazoo for game six. Scheduled in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, that game is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:00 PM local (Eastern) time. If a winner take all game seven is held, it will be held Thursday in Rockford at 7:30 PM.

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