E-Mail Subscriptions to the Blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wolves lead 3-0 in series; Earn 4-1 win in Toronto

The Toronto Marlies, unable to exert discipline, dropped the third game in the Western Conference series of the Calder Cup tournament last night. The Chicago Wolves took advantage of the Marlies, winning easily 4-1 at the Ricoh Center in Toronto.

Only two teams have been able to come back from a 3-0 deficit, according to the American Hockey League. Any loss in the next four games ends the season for the Toronto Maple Leaf farm team and advances the Wolves to their third Calder Cup final since joining the AHL in the 2001-2 campaign.

The Wolves took advantage of four of the ten power plays presented by Toronto, earning all of their points with a man advantage. The Wolves, now, lead the league in power plays in both percentage and in raw number, being awarded 105 advantage opportunities in the post season, compared to 86 for the Marlies, the closest team in opportunities. 22.9 percent of the power plays are successful.

The Wolves lead successful power plays on the road by an even more dramatic 27.5 percent.

On the penalty kill, among active teams, the Wolves have given 100 power play opportunities to opponents, but lead the active teams in percent of kills with 89 percent. The Marlies place first, having given opponents 105 power play opportunities. They have the worst penalty kill among active teams, successfully stopping 77.1 percent of plays.

A key to the Wolves domination of the Marlies in this series is their ability to kill penalties and take advantage of their power play chances.

Another big component of the Wolves play is the dump and chase. The Wolves have used this method with abandon against the Marlies and the IceHogs, rarely carrying the puck across the line. While the Marlies have crumbled in the first three games, the first game and first period showed a determined forward defense by the Marlies that forced turnovers and the dump and chase.

However, the Wolves have successfully battled in the corners against the Marlies. The Wolves have taken possession of the puck from the Marlies corner, and beat the Marlies on their own side of the ice.

Finally, the Wolves have successfully used a cross ice passing plan that seems to demand that the player leading the charge pass to another player, even when they have an open shot on goal. You’d think this is a bit of madness, but it has led to a string of victories since the Wolves adopted it during the IceHogs series.

With everyone from the Canadian media to the coach of the Marlies noting the need to stop taking undisciplined penalties, you would assume the Marlies’ captain would be standing up telling his players to hold their tempers.

But it was a stupid penalty by Ben Ondrus in the final frame of the Tuesday game that lead to one of the Chicago goals.

No comments: