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Playoff Previews - "A" Division
(3) Wolfpac @ (2) Thrashers

Wolfpac: 11-7-0 (.611), 97 GF, 70 GA, +27 Dif.
Thrashers: 11-5-2 (.667), 86 GF, 65 GA, +21 Dif.
Wolfpac
Top 5 Scorers
Thrashers
Top 5 Scorers
Tony Chohan 18-17-24-41
Mike Sanghara 14-16-12-28
Herman Sunner 9-15-10-25
Mike Hayer 14-9-10-19
Justin Matai 13-8-11-19
Dave Fisher 17-19-27-46
Bobby Grewal 6-14-5-19
Jeff Heer 14-10-9-19
Jay Dove 15-8-9-17
Inder Mann 10-4-8-12

The Wolfpac had a roller coaster ride of a season with several winning and losing streaks, but they did manage to finish strong winning five of their last six games. The Thrashers were more consistent throughout the season, which in the end was responsible for them gaining the higher seed, but it was the Wolfpac that actually took the season series, winning two of the three contests between these teams. The Wolfpac and Thrashers have met twice in the playoffs before with the decided edge going to the 'Pac. Both series were in the finals with the Wolfpac taking home the NWBHL championship in both 07/08 and 09/10 by a combined four games to one.

The Wolfpac are one of the most offensively stacked teams around. They finished just shy of the 100 goal plateau in the 18 game season, good for an average of 5.39 goals per game, a total that was best in the league. The amazing Tony Chohan put up another remarkable season, finishing with 41 points in 18 games to finish second only to the Thrashers' Dave Fisher. His long time partner-in-crime, Mike Sanghara, also hit the two points-per-game mark, finishing with 28 points in 14 games. Another great shooter rounds out the top three in scoring on this team as Herman Sunner, renowned for his blistering slapshot, fired 15 goals in just 9 games. Though his attendance was sporadic throughout the season, that shouldn't be a problem come playoff time. This team basically has three first lines when you factor in players like Justin Matai, Steve Mulholland, Mike Hayer, and the experienced duo of Jonny Pal and Rob Sangha, who always know where to find each other out on the floor.

This is the first occasion that I have ever listed the Thrashers as underdogs in the offense category as they have always had a terrific collection of scoring talent. This season is no exception, however the team missed several key players due to injury and other commitments this year and didn't gel at times when everyone was there. The result is a 4.78 GF average that stands as their lowest in their 14 season existence and the first time they have scored under five goals per game. Still, there are a bunch of weapons at their disposal and the list starts with Dave Fisher. The newfie has been one of the most prolific scorers in the province for the past decade and added another scoring title to his impressive resume this season as he posted league highs in goals (19) assists (27) and points (46). The Thrashers' twin towers on defense, Jay Dove and Jeff Heer, are still as dangerous as ever, despite their numbers being somewhat down this year. Other than Fisher, the man that had the most positive impact on the lineup this season was Bobby Grewal, who was only able to participate in six games, but put up staggering numbers of 6-14-5-19. Sanjeev Haer and Inder Mann also played part-time roles during the season, but will be counted on heavily for playoff production. The injured Jason Hineman will be a key loss to the team as he adds much in the way of speed and ball pursuit. To fill in for him the team will need veterans like Tony Hoonjan and Pinder Gill to step up. Edge: Wolfpac

If the Wolfpac do have an achilles heal, it could be their defense. They have been a little short on natural defenders this season and have had to convert some forwards to fill the role. This is nothing new for the team which was still successful in previous seasons when players like Mike Hayer and Gary Chohan were moved back and excelled at the position. This season the Pac have sent Gary Chahal to the blueline for much of the season, which allows him to use his great wheels to carry the ball out of the zone and on the offensive. Lately the team has even tried sharpshooter Steve Mulholland on the back end which gives the team yet another different look. The team was unable to qualify Jordan Chowsen who would have benefited the team greatly, but Faez Kanji (another converted forward), was able to get in the six required games. The team does have some veteran defensemen that will carry some playoff minutes in the form of the always steady Davinder Chohan, Gopal Powar and Raj Kaila. The latter two appeared in just eight games each this season, but may factor greatly in what should be a physical playoff series.

The Thrashers finished the season behind only the Barons as far as fewest goals allowed in the "A" division this season. The duo of Jeff Heer and Jay Dove are better known for their offensive attributes, but don't overlook what they bring to their own end. Dove is one of the league's best shot-blockers and Heer's tremendous reach and positional play make him one of the hardest defenders to beat in the league. The team will start the postseason a little shorthanded as stay-at-home defenseman Gurpal Siekham still has a game remaining on a suspension he picked up down the stretch, but the Thrashers still have Onkar Bhandher and Paul Kang to rely on as defensive d-men. Roy Cabrita, though not playing at 100% due to some recent injury issues, still has a tremendous battle level and can be effective whether used on forward or on the blueline. Edge: Thrashers

This should prove to be a great goaltending battle between these two teams, and the tenders will definitely be tested by a couple of great offenses. The Wolfpac had turned to Rick Baker before in the playoffs, and now that they have replaced Vince Mudaliar with Baker full-time, the team can rest easy knowing he has their net covered. He posted an impressive 10-5 record with a decent 3.73 GAA. Only the man at the other end in this series, Justin Faykosh, had more wins on the season.

Though the team in general has some demons to exorcise, no single player wants to defeat the Wolfpac more than Thrashers keeper Justin Faykosh. He put in a another solid season with a record of 11-3-2 and numbers of 3.33 GAA and .859 save percentage. For the first time in club history, there is also a second option as the Thrashers qualified veteran Troy Buswell towards the end of the season. Though Buswell lost both of his starts, the fact is he played well, earning 2nd star honors in the Thrashers' last game as he faced a barrage from the Barons. Edge: None

If history has taught us anything, it's that the Wolfpac play the Thrashers hard, particularly in the playoffs where they have taken both series between these clubs, though one can't overlook the motivation the Thrashers have because of that very statistic, as well as the fact that the Thrashers have been the more consistent team all season long. However, I think there is an intangible quality to the type of game the Wolfpac play that seems to give the Thrashers trouble. This should be a close series, most likely going the distance, and expect a lot of fireworks as there are a plethora of big shooters in both lineups, but my gut instinct is to take the Wolfpac by a hair in this one. Edge: Wolfpac








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