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Monday, May 28, 2007

IceHogs win Colonial Cup in 3-1 game 7 victory

Game seven of the Colonial Cup finals. On the line for the IceHogs was their first Colonial Cup ever and also their last as the team was decamping for the American Hockey League in the next season.

On the line for the K-Wings in addition to the Cup was the first road victory in the playoffs in the MetroCentre by an opponent and back-to-back wins of the Colonial Cup by the K-Wings. Since it was first awarded in 1992, three teams have won back-to-back Colonial Cups, including the Muskegon Fury in 2004-5 under current Wolves assistant coach Todd Nelson and the Quad City Mallards in 1997-8 under current Wolves coach John Anderson.

A predecessor to the IceHogs, the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Senators won back-to-back Colonial Cups in the 1994-5 seasons.

Kevin Ulanski scored the first goal of the game, an unassisted steal that scored at 2:47 of the first period. Nick Bootland replied for the K-Wings with a power play goal close to the ten-minute mark of the period. A 5:3 power play by Rockford was unconverted leaving the first period score tied 1-1.

K-zoo never had more than nine shots on goal in a period. In the second period the K-Wings fell to a low of seven shots on goal and failed to score. A power play early in the period failed to generate traction for the K-Wings. A Rockford goal at 6:11 and two second half power plays kept the momentum in Rockford’s favor throughout the period and gave the team a 2-1 lead on Jason Noterman’s goal going into the final frame.

You’d expect a close championship game in the United Hockey League to be a brutal affair in the final period. However the last 20 minutes, instead, went unmarked by any penalties. The K-Wings put just nine shots on goal in the period, compared to nine for the IceHogs.

An insurance goal by Nicolas Corbeil with 1:33 remaining seemed to take the steam out of an already sputtering K-Wings engine. Pulling the goalie from the net seemed an empty gesture. The final score, IceHogs 3, K-Wings 1.

Ryan Nie received the loss, stopping 29 shots. Frederic Cloutier received the win, stopping 24 shots. The Most Valuable Player award was given to Rockford’s Ulanski. He scored 21 points in the playoffs, leading his team, plus his crucial game seven goal.