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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Iowa fireworks send Wolves back to Allstate; Series at 3-2 Wolves favor

The Iowa Stars unlit some fireworks on the Chicago Wolves in game five of the Western Division playoffs in Des Moines Thursday night. Gaining a 5-1 victory and a game to trail the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in the best of seven series.

Iowa scored eight seconds into the game. Joel Lundqvist made two goals and Iowa held the Chicago special teams scoreless.

The first score occurred at eight seconds into the game when the Iowa Stars won the face-off. Junior Lessard fired on Michael Garnett. Garnett lost sight of the puck and the puck fell between his skates. While Garnett was looking around for the puck, Loui Eriksson skated up and poked the puck into the net. That all occurred in less time than it takes to pour a beer.

The wheels continued to come off of the Chicago game when Yared Hagos came up with the puck during a penalty kill. His rush down the ice found Garnett alone and Hagos easily scored, making the score 2-0.

The meltdown continued in the second period as the Wolves took an extended five on three penalty kill. The Wolves were able to kill part of the penalty, leaving them officially with a man down. However, the fourth player wasn’t active on the defense yet, a scrum occurred in front of the goal, Garnett fell down and Joel Lundqvist came up with the puck and fired it in for 3-0. Moments, later, the Wolves took another five on three penalty when Valabik, after making a beautiful save, lost his temper, drawing a penalty for roughing. Once again Lundqvist came up with the puck, this time while the two man advantage was still ticking, and lite the lamp to make the score 4-0.

When Iowa went on yet another power play at 13 minutes, it was the turn of Vojtech Polak to score on the Wolves, making the score 5-0. Chicago received a pair of five on three power plays, and although it finally scored a goal, it was not on either of the five on three power plays. The period ended with Mark Fistric shoving Andre Deveaux into Iowa goalie Dan Ellis. Some dancing between the teams occurred with some words about a coaches meeting in the parking lot. Deveaux was given a match penalty.

Although the Wolves had taken some quality shots on Ellis, a combination of good goalkeeping and bad bounces kept the Wolves largely off the scoreboard in the first two frames. Further, a high sticking call due to action on Brett Sterling was missed. Sterling took several field stitches due to the high sticking.

The third frame saw the Wolves pull Garnett in favor of Fred Brathwaite. Following the altercation, the Wolves were put on the penalty kill for five minutes. Iowa penalties that occurred both before and after the five-minute penalty kill were unconverted, and the whole of the third period didn’t have a single goal by either team.

Ellis received the win, stopping 36 shots, while Garnett received the loss. Garnett stopped 27 shots while Brathwaite stopped nine shots. Valabik’s temper has become an issue for the Wolves, in this game he was given two penalties, the first leading to an Iowa goal and the second causing him to receive a match penalty in the final frame.

Ellis was good and he had a horseshoe up his butt, four Chicago scoring chances in the final frame just missing the twine or being stopped somehow. In addition, Iowa has stalled the Chicago power play, which has been scoreless in the last two games, zero for sixteen. The weak Iowa power play came alive in this game. It was three for ten.

Iowa plays the Wolves Saturday night at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Any Wolves victory sends the Stars packing.

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