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

Barons: 10-6-2, 99 GF, 74 GA, +25 Dif.
Wolfpac: 12-4-2, 88 GF, 55 GA, +33 Dif.
Barons
Top 5 Scorers
Wolfpac
Top 5 Scorers
Stan McClellan 18-25-21-46
Dan Molatore 15-17-16-33
Craig Houle 17-5-28-33
Rod Wardell 12-14-7-21
Ray Diesel 12-5-14-19
Brock Pierson 14-21-4-25
Tony Chohan 17-7-18-25
Justin Matai 14-12-10-22
Jonny Pal 16-4-17-21
Mike Sanghara 10-9-11-20

The Barons took out the Sharks in two games in round 1, but the series was anything but easy. The Sharks played the Barons even and had lengthy stretches of possession in their defensive zone, but in the end it was the Barons experience and finishing ability, as well as their goaltending, that made the difference in a pair of extremely close games. The Wolfpac had an interesting series themselves against a jekyl and hyde Eastside team that narrowly avoided a mercy in game 1, and then almost stole game 2, only to give it away to the Wolfpac in the dying minutes. The Barons and Wolfpac split their season series down the middle, each winning a game by 3 goals and tying the other. The Barons enter this series still not playing their best hockey while the Wolfpac come in with a 9-1-1 record in their last eleven games.

The Wolfpac offense got off to a great start in round 1 against an undermanned Eastside team that surrendered 19 goals in the two games. The big story in the playoffs so far has been the performance of Mike Hayer. His record setting feat of five goals in 51 seconds of stoppage-time play looks to be the stuff of legends. It also needs mentioning that the 'Pac were trailing by a pair of goals with just 2:27 remaining on the clock when he started pumping them in. The most interesting question this brings up is where do you deploy Mike Hayer in the next game? He has played much of the past two season on defense, yet he moves up last game and puts on an offensive show for the ages. Also on his line last game, Jonny Pal and Justin Matai deserve much credit as well. The top four scorers in the playoffs at the moment are Hayer (8-1-9), Pal with an impressive 8 assists, and the dynamic duo of Tony Chohan and Mike Sanghara with 7 points each.

The Barons scored more goals during the regular season than the Wolfpac did, yet the tight-checking first round series against the Sharks may have some Barons not feeling as loose as their Wolfpac counterparts at the moment, at least from a goal scoring point of view. Dan Molatore was the high man for the Barons with two goals and an assist, while the always underrated Jerome Drapeau chipped in with a 1-2-3 effort and numerous solid defensive plays in his own end. In an unusual move for the Barons, Craig Houle actually saw some time up front, playing center and even earning the GWG in game one. Edge: Wolfpac

It is unclear as to whether or not Houle will stay up on forward but the Barons do still have an abundance of solid defensemen to rely on. Dan Ko, Ed Silva, Jerome Drapeau, and Scott Rickards are all excellent defensively while Kyle "Weasel" Moyer will be the man to quarterback the offense. Another defensive forward that needs promoting on the Barons team is Jeff Hall who captured the "Best Defensive Forward" award last year, and provided great support in his own end during the first round.

Not too much to say about the Wolfpac defense I didn't already say in the first round previews. They are still one of the top teams in this category, but the Barons are always a handful to keep off the board. Edge: Wolfpac

Dean Salsnek was absolutely huge in round 1. He posted a 2.50 GAA and .912 save % in facing 57 shots and many of good quality. He was particularly good in the second game win over the Sharks, earning first star honours and making a remarkable buzzer beater save on Hashmat Mohammad that would have sent the game to overtime. 

Both Vince Mudaliar and Rick Baker saw action vs the Eastside proving that they are both still in play for the Wolfpac. Baker saw almost no action in his game as the Eastside managed a paltry ten shots during their sub-par game one effort. Mudaliar on the other hand, faced 26 shots as the Eastside looked rejuvenated with a deeper lineup and the return of Johnson Narcisse to drive their offense. Vince struggled from the start during the game and certainly wasn't at his best, but like a young Grant Fuhr, he made the big saves at the right time and allowed his team a chance to outscore the opponent, which they eventually did. Edge: None

This should be another good match-up as you would expect with an "A" division semifinal. The Barons entered the second season in the wrong way, having lost several games in the last two months. The opposite can be said for the Wolfpac who have been building momentum since the new year. One advantage the Barons may have is the tight playoff nature of their round one series as compared to the more open, "regular season" feel of the Wolfpac/Eastside series. Both teams are quite deep, but the Wolfpac seem to have the extra edge in that department and the fact remains that they are the defending champions for a reason. Edge: Wolfpac








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