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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Krahn shutout 3-0

The Chicago Wolves played the best game of the season Saturday as they out fought and out played the Houston Aeros in a knuckle biter 3-0 shutout at the Allstate Arena Saturday night.

Mike Hoffman and Matt Kassian started the fireworks early with a bare knuckle fight less than 90 seconds into the game. On their next shift together the two heavy weights began jawing at each other and were sent back to the sin bin to cool themselves off for another two minutes.

After Krys Kolanos was added to the sin bin at 15:10, the Wolves, with the first power play of the game, passed the puck to Riley Hozapfel at the point. He fired a rocket past goalie Nolan Schaefer seconds into the power play, giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead.

Hoffman and Kassian celebrated the goal by having yet another fight and spending five more minutes in the sin bin. Although there were two Aeros power plays for most of the last five minutes of the period, it was the Wolves who dominated the first period. The Wolves put 11 shots on goal for just six for the Aeros.

In the second period Joey Crabb used a power play to do the same thing to Schaefer. At the point, a pass and a rocket into the net. He even used the same two players to set the shot up: Jamie Rivers and Grant Lewis. A two goal Wolves lead going into the final frame. This time the Wolves shots were eight compared to just seven for the Aeros.

The final period of play. With 5:57 left to play, Kevin Constantine pulls Aeros goalie Schaefer, giving the man advantage to the Aeros on the attack. The shots on goal begin to pile up and the pressure on the Wolves is made worse when Brett Sterling is called for a hooking penalty.

With 6:4, Brent Krahn became a wall. It really reminded me of a playoff game from two years ago, the grace and pressure that he was under as he stopped everything. Yes there were pucks that the Wolves cleared towards the empty Aeros net, but it was relentless pressure. Arturs Kulda, with 1:07 remaining in the period and the power play ended, cleared the puck and raced in with the puck to put the puck in the net.

An empty net goal, it brought Schaefer back on the ice. The Aeros had admitted they lost.

This was the first shutout for Krahn since the 2007 season. In the third period he stopped 17 shots on goal. In fact, during that period, only two shots were credited to the Wolves, and of course one of those scored. The Aeros dominated the third period. Krahn was a wall.

Krahn's win was 30 shots stopped. Schaefer stopped 18 shots for the loss. Three points were awarded to Grant Lewis for assists. Two points were awarded to Rivers for his assists. This was a game in which the defense and the offense played well and they were backed by a solid goalie. It was a great turnaround from the disappointment in Milwaukee on Friday night.

For the Aeros, mention must be made of Krys Kolanos, who put five shots on the goal. And, of course Hoffman and Kassian were each awarded 12 penalty minutes for their pugilism.

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