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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Two more Chicago win; Wolves in 1st place of Western Conference

The Chicago Wolves won two games this week, jumping into the lead in the Western Conference of the American Hockey League. Steve Silverthorn, discussed here LINK made his Allstate Arena debut, relieving Tobias Stephan and making four saves in a 6-4 win over the Iowa Stars on Wednesday.

Then, on Friday, the Wolves won their 27th game of the season with a 6-2 win that extinguished the Quad City Flames at the I Wireless Arena in Moline, IL.

The Wolves opened a two-goal lead over the Flames in just 21 seconds of the first period, including a short-handed goal, one of two goals that night by Alexandre Giroux. Although the Flames kept the heat on the Wolves all night, out shooting them 40 to 33, the early Wolves goals chased starting Flames goalie Brent Krahn from the net after Giroux’s second goal. Reliever Matt Keetley, who received the loss, stopped six shots, letting three in.

Ondrej Pavelec was credited with his 10th win in his last 11 starts. Robert Gherson relieved him in the final 4:04 of the contest. Gherson, who has seen mostly losses, stopped all five shots he faced.

Wednesday’s win over the Iowa Stars marked one of the few appearances of Silverthorn in the AHL and his first in net at the Allstate. Normally stopping for the Idaho Steelheads, he has an ECHL GAA of 2.53, compared to the shelling he is receiving in the Iowa uniform of 5.32, according to statistics from hockeydb.com.

The game was lightly officiated by referee Nygel Pelletier, with just 10 minutes of penalties, just two minutes assigned to the Chicago Wolves. And although the Chicago first line was prominent on the scoreboard, it was the depth players who pushed the team over the top, with four goals. Pavelec faced 32 shots on goal, stopping 28 in the winning effort.

Saturday games regionally: The Chicago Wolves face the Toronto Marlies, allowing fans to see the top two scorers of the league face each other. The Marlies, the affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, are dominating the North Division, and trail the Wolves by just one point in the Conference standings. A lower scoring team, overall, Wolves fans may see a post-season preview at the Allstate.

In Milwaukee the Rockford IceHogs will visit the Bradley Center for the first time. Once affiliated with the Admirals, the Hogs have seem many of their best players called to the Chicago Blackhawks to cover injuries there. They received Troy Brouwer while Sergei Samsonov was traded by Chicago. His only appearance in a Hogs sweater was against Chicago, earlier this month. The Admirals, meanwhile, flounder near the bottom of the league, an unaccustomed standing for them.

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