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Wolves power past IceHogs
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/2/2008 12:25 AM

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The Chicago Wolves have a potent power play and they showed it again Thursday night at Allstate Arena.

Three power-play goals and more great goaltending by Ondrej Pavelec was the recipe the Wolves used to beat the Rockford IceHogs 4-1 in Game 1 of their Calder Cup playoff West Division final series.

The Wolves had an astounding 22 power-play goals in 10 games against Rockford during the regular season and continued the dominance with goals from Joel Kwiatkowski, Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling.

"I don't know what it is," Wolves coach John Anderson said. "It's just one of those matchups that's good for us. Conversely, they had some good chances on the power play, too, but our goalie came up big for us."

Rockford was 0-for-6 on the power play, including a failed 5-on-3 for 69 seconds that started in the first period, which didn't sit well with IceHogs coach Mike Haviland.

"Our top guys have to show up and play and I don't think they did," Haviland said. "When you're counting on them on special teams, they have to show up."

Jack Skille got Rockford's only goal with 4:05 to play, after it was 3-0. Kwiatkowski added an empty-netter in the final minute for the Wolves.

Rockford's best offensive players -- Martin St. Pierre, Troy Brouwer, Dave Bolland, Petri Kontiola and even Skille -- were mostly quiet, particularly on the power play.

"We played great on the (penalty-kill)," Pavelec said. "It doesn't matter where you play, AHL or the NHL, if you play great power play and P-K you have a chance to win."

The series continues with Game 2 in Rosemont Saturday night.

Rockford goalie Corey Crawford had nothing to be ashamed of on any of the power-play goals, holding up his end of preseries hype that centered on himself and Pavelec.

Kwiatkowski's goal at 15:03 of the first period was a rocket through a maze of players and came with Colin Fraser serving a tripping penalty.

Haydar made it 2-0 at the 13-minute mark of the second period with his fourth goal of the playoffs. Haydar had an open net after a nifty passing play with Sterling and Jason Krog.

Hayder's goal came with Petri Kontiola serving a penalty for closing his hand on the puck.

Sterling's goal was on a rebound with Jim Fahey off for high-sticking.

"We had our chances," Haviland said. "We have to stay out of the penalty box."

Rockford's best chance came midway through the second period while short-handed, but Pavelec stopped Bolland in tight.

"The game could have gone either way," Anderson said. "We were a little fortunate on the power play and that was the difference in the game."