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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wolves back on track; Beat Peoria 7-4, Iowa 10-2

The Chicago Wolves overpowered the Peoria Rivermen 7-4 at the Allstate Arena Wednesday night as Darren Haydar joined fellow Atlanta Thrashers prospects Jason Krog and Brett Sterling in a relaunch of the 2007 first line. The line was responsible for six of the Wolves goals on Wednesday, with Krog scoring five points in the contest.

The game marked the return of Haydar, the Wolves Captain, from the Thrashers. The 2007 MVP joined a line that was already familiar to him. On a line with Sterling and Krog, he posted a franchise record number of consecutive goals in the previous season. Although Krog did not play in Atlanta this season, he played 23 games in the NHL last season.

Sterling played ten games in Atlanta this season. Other Wolves who have returned from Atlanta this season are Ondrej Pavelec, the top goalie prospect for the Thrashers, who played seven games; and Bryan Little, who played 29 games. Kari Lehtonen was assigned to the Wolves by Atlanta for a brief three game conditioning assignment following an early season injury.

Upheaval in the goaltender ranks may have led to the Wolves to drop three games earlier this month, culminating in a 4-3 loss against the league leading first-place Providence Bruins. However Pavelec who only lost one of the three games, got his feet under him and came back to keep the Wolves in a game against the Rochester Americans on the 13th in a 5-3 win in Rosemont, breaking the losing streak.

An unexcited Wolves turned around the next day and lost 4-1 to the Peoria Rivermen with Robert Gherson in net. Then, with Pavelec back in net, pounded the Iowa Stars 10-2, with Kevin Doell putting up a hat trick the next night.

That loss may have been enough for the Wolves to slip out of first place. Although the Chicagoans have two games in hand on the first place team and remain just two points behind in the standings.

It is the on and off nature of the Wolves this month that leaves fans wondering what is next. Wednesday’s game was no different, with the Wolves out playing the Rivermen, but unable to put the game away until late in the third period. Defensive faux pas are putting to much pressure on Pavelec, while the lines are juggled to handle the numerous veterans and top prospects being sent down by Atlanta, leading to big scoring games and still, close games.

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