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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Iowa v Chicago and hockey breaks out

Let’s give Jeff Smith a round of applause. Seriously. Smith was the on-ice official for the Chicago Wolves 3-1 victory over the Iowa Stars Sunday at the Allstate Arena. He appears to have had a tough match to referee too. There were four fights, three goals called back and a major that didn’t erupt into a fight.

Despite all of that, I think the game was well called.

There must have been unfinished business from the Iowa v. Chicago game at the Wells Fargo Arena on Friday night, because it took just three seconds for Boris Valabik and B.J. Crombeen to drop the gloves this afternoon. Seeing as how the hockey game was dominated by the Wolves play, let’s look, instead at the fight cards.

In this corner is Valabik, 6’7” and 248 #. A native of Nitra, Slovakia, Valabik is 22 years old and has 151 PiM in 44 matches. His +/- is +17. A lefty, Valabik played juniors on the Kitchener Rangers. He has a long reach.

In Iowa’s corner, Crombeen is 6’2” and 210#. A Canadian from Newmarket, ON, he is 22 and has 155 PiM in 55 games. His +/- is –4. His juniors were played at the Barrie Colts. Advantage to Valabik, who has 38 pounds and 5 inches on Crombeen. What was Crombeen thinking?

Second match, Brian Fahey versus Marius Holtet. Fahey, of Glenview, IL is definitely the home town favorite here. At 6’1” and 216 #, this rightie once played on the Iowa Stars with Holtet. He has registered 98 PiM, 25 points and a +/- of +10 this season.

Holtet, 6’1” and 190# is also a rightie. Now 23, it is likely he doesn’t have the muscle mass of the 27 year-old Wolves player. Holtet has 14 points this season, a +/- of –21. The advantage here, again, is Fahey, with 26 pounds on the younger Holtet.

Match number three features Nathan Oystrick and Mark Bomersback. Oystick, 5’11” and 216# is a native of Regina, SK. The 25 year-old throws a left, sports a fight beard, has 72 PiM and 31 points. With a +/- of 0, Oystrick joined the American Hockey League from Northern Michigan University.

Bomersback is 5’10” and 187#. A graduate of Ferris State, this match up between two collegiate southpaws is also a mismatch on the ice. Bomersback has just taken to the ice with the Stars. With 18 games played, he has a PiM of 9, has scored 7 points and has a +/- of +4. The Wolves again have a substantial weight advantage, 29 pounds, and an inch to boot.

Match four. This match featured two contestants, but only one showed up for the fight. Andre Deveaux pulled a penalty after he checked a player into the boards outside the Wolves bench. Brett Westgarth took offense to this and wanted Deveaux to examine the floor of the Wolves bench. Deveaux didn’t react and Westgarth was given a misconduct. Here are the vitals, in case it had gone to the dance. Deveaux just turned 24 yesterday, happy birthday. He is 6’4”, 217# and throws right. A native of Welland, ON, Deveaux played in the juniors. He has recorded 132 PiM this season, with 10 points and a +/- of +4.

Westgarth throws right, is 6’2” and 215#. The 26 year old native of Amherstburg, ON played in the NCAA. He has recorded 56 PiMs and 2 points with a +/- of –7. Perhaps one of the several reasons this fight went no where was that these two players didn’t have a history together. Deveaux had 2 inches, 2 pounds. This probably would have been the best match of the evening.

The last bout of the night, it’s a rematch. Crombeen v Valabik again. They really look mismatched out there, but you have to admire his pluckiness for taking on the Slovakian giant.

It was sort of like the Stars and the Wolves. Just like on Friday night, the Wolves outshot the Stars, nearly 3:2 tonight. They took a definite lead and held it. Iowa threatened to come back, but poor defense, allowing too many rebound shots on goalie Tobias Stephan and not being able to retain control of the puck all added up to an evening that was two more points for the Wolves.

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