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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wolves within 1 of advancing; Iowa shell shocked

The Iowa Stars gave up six goals in a shell-shocked performance, losing 6-1 to the Chicago Wolves in Des Moines Tuesday night. Special teams played virtually no role in the game as neither team scored on the power play. Andre Deveaux and Jason Krog each scored two goals in the game, driving first string Iowa goalie Dan Ellis from the net after two periods.

Darren Haydar, Brett Sterling and Kevin Doell each recorded two assists.

The lightly attended mid-week loss puts the Stars against the wall, behind 3-1 in the best of seven series. The Stars must sweep the remainder of the series to advance. That hasn’t happened since the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks came back to win the Western Division Semifinals against the Milwaukee Admirals in 2005 and it has only happened 13 times total in the history of the American Hockey League post-season.

It seems unlikely again this year, when Iowa lost a shutout game one, 7-0 against the Wolves, then blew the opportunity to win game three against the Wolves Sunday and now, being beaten 6-1.

If the Wolves win the next game, it would also mark a sweep of the home team by the Wolves.

The Wolves went ahead early in the first period on a play by Haydar to Krog that was the first shot on goal against Ellis. Dan Hacker replied for the Stars about four minutes later, making the score 1-1. The second Wolves shot on goal of the period also found the twine, that was scored by Doell to Deveaux during the eleventh minute.

Deveaux scored another goal in the second period on a feed from Colin Stuart to put the Wolves permanently in the lead. A series of three Iowa power plays occupied the Wolves for the time between 9.51 and 15.18 of the second period. Boris Valabik lost his cool and almost removed the nose of an opposing player later in the period, but Iowa was undisciplined too, and managed to limit much of the Wolves exposure.

At the start of the third period Brian Fahey was credited with a goal off a feed from Niko Dimitrakos. Forty-four seconds later Cory Larose lit the lamp, both goals on four on four situations. That put the game out of reach at 5-1 for the Wolves. That goal drove Ellis from the net. A second goal by Krog near the six minute mark acted as punctuation for the final result.

Garnett faced only seven Iowa shots on goal in the first period, eight in the second period and 11 in the final frame. Ellis, who received the loss, only faced fourteen shots on goal. He let five goals in. Tobias Stephan, who replaced him, faced 11 shots on goal and stopped ten.

Ellis has now been shelled out of the net by the Wolves twice in the playoffs and once in the regular season. Only three Wolves players did not have a shot on goal, an assist or a goal in the effort. Chicago went zero for six on the power play and Iowa was likewise zero for eight on its power play. Iowa is four for 31 in the series on the power play, under 13 percent. Chicago is six for 22 on the power play, about 27.3 percent.

What could be the last game of the series takes place in Des Moines on Thursday night. If the Stars win, the series will move back to Rosemont for two final games.

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