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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Wolves take down MAds 2-1; Hogs need better special teams, lose 4-1

The Chicago Wolves defeated the division leading Milwaukee Admirals 2-1 Saturday night at the Allstate Arena. In a low-scoring game marked by tripping, hooking, holding and slashing penalties, there was plenty of action in the sin bin and power plays on the ice. But the only goal outside of equal strength was a short handed goal, by Matt Anderson, to start the scoring at 12:56 of the first period.

Anderson, who received two points in the night, was also involved in the second and final Wolves goal, in the second period at 12:04. The MAds answered that, staying within one goal, just 19 seconds later.

Eleven power play opportunities were wasted by the two teams as it became a defensive battle won by Ondrej Pavelec, stopping 23 shots on goal, compared to Drew MacIntyre, who lost, stopping 27 shots on goal.

At the Wells Fargo Arena, the Iowa Chops chewed up the Rockford IceHogs 4-1. The power play continues to haunt the Hogs, who now rank 22nd in the American Hockey League. The team is making just 15.6 percent of power plays. It's penalty kill is 28th in the league, at 79.3 percent. Corey Crawford was the one left to defend the net, stopping 24 shots on goal. He also defended unsuccessfully against a 5:3 power play late in the second period.

The Chops, ninth in the league on the power play, took two power plays goals out of six opportunities during a decisive second period. The Hogs are giving up more than 4.8 power play opportunities per game currently. Or, on average, they are giving up .79 goals due to lack of discipline each game. That's a broad statement of the problem. It would be impossible to totally rid a team of penalties. Still, here is a look at the league stats for this issue. After we net out the gains from power play goals, the Hogs are near the bottom of the league. They are losing .25 goals on average per game due to the combination of failed power plays, failed penalty kills and time in the box.

They need to turn this around to be competitive in the post-season.

(The table is reprinted here: http://www.chitowndailynews.org/chicago_hockey_blog/Wolves_go_down_63_Hogs_downed_41,22288)

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