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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Krog hat trick; Wolves 4, Marlies 1

Jason Krog scored a hat trick and a point to lead the Chicago Wolves to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Marlies in the first game of the Western Conference finals of the American Hockey League Calder Cup championship, Friday night at the Allstate Arena.

Krog’s hat trick was the ninth hat trick by a Chicago Wolves player in post-season play. Darren Haydar scored a goal and an assist in the win. Joe Motzko scored a pair of assists. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 26 shots on goal for the win.

The Marlies held the Wolves scoreless in the first period. A fierce defense of the blue line largely prevented the Chicago team from penetrating the offensive zone, even during power plays. Chicago was held to just eight shots on goal in the first period, compared to nine shots on goal by the Marlies, this despite three Chicago power plays to the Canadian team’s one in the period.

In the second frame, the Chicago team scored on a power play with just a minute and a half into the period. Krog’s first goal, at 7:15 into the period was matched 21 seconds later by the sole Toronto goal of the game.

Scott Clemmensen, who stopped 28 shots in the game, does not have a butterfly save, looking more like a Catholic kneeling in prayer when he closes his five hole. His rebounds were beautifully deflected away from the action. However, as shown against Pavelec in the Rockford series, the better players can anticipate this and we can expect Chicago to park a Sterling, Motzko or Steve Martins on the weak circle waiting to rebound on the empty net.

Krog’s final two goals came with less than two and half minutes remaining. His final goal was a short-handed and empty net score. The best of seven series continues on Sunday with a 3 P.M. game at the Allstate Arena.

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