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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rampage over the Wolves 5-3

The Chicago Wolves fell 5-3 to the San Antonio Rampage Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena. It was the fourth loss in a row for the Wolves, and their sixth loss in the last seven games. As in seasons past, the Wolves are in a post-holiday slump.

However the loss to the Rampage must be especially galling. First, the Chicago Blackhawks spanked the NHL affiliate Phoenix Coyotes 6-0 earlier in the week. But even just in the AAA, the Wolves have given more points to the Rampage than any other team, with a record of 3-3 this season. The Rampage would be circling the drain if it weren't for the Wolves. Their record is 28th out of the 29 teams. The win on Wednesday allows them a four point cushion on the league last place Rochester Americans.

The Wolves chance to take the game was probably blown during a 5:3 power play late in the first period. Granted that Rampage goalie Josh Tordjman is a worthy opponent, the opposition he faced in the bottom of the first frame was like the Keystone Cops.

Joe Motzko, who really is an on-ice leader, had two bad minutes on the ice that seemed to seal the deal for the Rampage, starting with a broken stick, then two whiffs that puttered behind the net. Finally, after his teammates gave him yet another chance to redeem himself, he put a pass to... well his own goalie, from behind the San Antonio goal.

It sailed clear down ice from one goal line nearly to the other. It was dismal.

And while the Chicago power play was 0 for five, the Rampage power play was three for seven. An empty net goal, was the final insult.

If we continue to beat the horse a bit, I'll note that while Alex Brooks was tough in front of the Wolves goal, refusing entry to Rampage probes, veteran blue liner Brian Sipotz didn't seem to mind having Rampage players insert themselves between him and his goal. His checks were lack luster, I've been struggling in the past month to identify what Sipotz is adding to the game.

On a positive note Brett Sterling had a spectacular goal in the third frame. It put the team within one and held the promise that something could be rescued from the game.

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