IHL Playoff Update

By Andrew Bourgeois


IHL NEWS

STEVE LAROUCHE WINS JOHN CULLEN AWARD.

Chicago Wolves’ center Steve Larouche has been selected as the International
Hockey League’s Comeback Player of the Year. He will receive the John Cullen
Award, which is given annually to the player deemed to have been a key
contributor to his team, while overcoming injury, illness or other personal
setbacks. The award was voted on by a “blue ribbon” panel of general
managers, broadcasters and beat writers.

Larouche played in only 33 games last season, posting 13 goals and 25
assists for Chicago, before suffering a season-ending knee injury on
December 29, 1998. Larouche rejoined the Wolves for the 1999-2000 season,
where he tallied 88 points (31 goals, 57 assists). He was second in league
scoring, just two points behind teammate Steve Maltais. Larouche led the
league with 57 assists, and was tied for second overall with teammate Chris
Marinucci, netting 14 power-play goals. His efforts helped his team earn the
IHL’s Western Conference Championship, and a chance to compete in the Turner
Cup Finals for the second time in three years. Larouche has played admirably
for his team in the post-season, earning 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in
13 playoff games, including two assists in three games in the Turner Cup
Finals.

Larouche is in his ninth professional season and sixth in the IHL. He has
appeared in 26 NHL games, split between Ottawa, New York (Rangers) and Los
Angeles, where he posted nine goals and nine assists. He was originally
chosen 3rd by Montreal (41st overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
The renaming of the Comeback Player of the Year award to the John Cullen
Award was announced on December 8, 1998. Along with the award, a $1,000
donation will be made by the IHL in Steve Larouche’s name to the charity of
Cullen’s choice. Cullen entered professional hockey with a prolific rookie
season in 1987-88 when he compiled 157 points for the IHL’s Flint Spirits.
He earned Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors that season.
Cullen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that forced him to miss the
1997-98 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He returned last season after
intense rehabilitation to play in four games for the Lightning, and six for
the Cleveland Lumberjacks. His seven-point performance for the Lumberjacks
in a game on November 7, 1998 versus Chicago was an IHL season high. He
appeared in the last game of his 11-year career on November 14, 1998 and
announced his retirement a few weeks later.

IHL TURNER CUP FINALS RECAP FROM THURSDAY JUNE 1, 2000


Chicago Wolves 5
Grand Rapids Griffins 3

Chicago leads Turner Cup Final 3 games to 1 game.

TURNER CUP FINALS GAME RECAPS

GAME 1 RECAP:

CHICAGO 4, GRAND RAPIDS 3 (OT)

Steve Maltais scored the
game-winning goal with 2:26 remaining in the first overtime as the Chicago
Wolves edged the Grand Rapids Griffins, 4-3, in the first game of the IHL
championship series. Maltais, who netted the game winner on the
man-advantage, has tallied seven power-play goals in 11 playoff games. Derek
Plante’s shorthanded score 27 seconds into the middle stanza tied the
contest at 2-2 for Chicago. Chris Ferraro added his own shorthanded goal
1:20 into the third period to snap the tie for the Wolves. Derek King added
a power-play marker 6:47 later to retie the contest for Grand Rapids.
Wendell Young had 28 saves, including three in the overtime, to register his
fifth playoff win for Chicago. Jani Hurme turned away 23 shots, including
three in the extra stanza, for the loss.

GAME 2 RECAP:

CHICAGO 4, GRAND RAPIDS 0

Brian Noonan scored a pair of goals and Andrei Trefilov recorded 32 saves as
the Chicago Wolves blanked the Grand Rapids Griffins, 4-0, to claim a two
games to none lead in the Turner Cup Finals. Noonan gave Chicago a 2-0 lead
with under two minutes remaining in the first period and added his second
goal midway through the third. Trefilov stopped all 11 shots he faced in the
third period to preserve his first shutout of the playoffs. Bob Nardella and
Dan Plante each scored and Chirs Ferraro had three assists for the Wovles,
who won the first game, 4-3, in overtime. Jani Hurme made 27 saves for Grand
Rapids.

GAME 3 RECAP:

Chicago 3 Grand Rapids 5

Michel Picard scored a pair of goals as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated
the Chicago Wolves, 5-3, in Game Three of the Turner Cup Finals. Picard
notched a power-play goal midway through the first period and gave Grand
Rapids a 3-1 lead with a score at 13:00 of the second. Yves Sarault and Petr
Schastlivy each had a goal and an assist for the Griffins, who dropped the
first two games of the series. Jani Hurme made 25 saves, including 16 in the
second period, to earn the win. Scott Pearson registered a pair of goals for
Chicago, which was outshot, 35-28. Wendell Young stopped 30 shots for the
Wovles.

IHL FASTFACTS

Grand Rapids beat Chicago on Tuesday for the franchises first ever win in a
Turner Cup Finals game. Chicago leads the series 2-1. Griffin Michel Picard
scored twice on Tuesday, as did Chicago’s Scott Pearson both players tallied
one even strength and one power-play goal. Jani Hurme posted his ninth
post-season win, stopping 25 of 28 shots, including 16 in the second period.
The Griffins have outscored their opponents 20-7 in the third period this
post-season. Chicago is averaging 3.31 goals per game, second behind Grand
Rapids, which is averaging 3.5. Chicago’s Bob Nardella leads all defensemen
with 10 points (2G, 8A). Griffin Kevin Miller leads the league with nine
post-season goals. Chicago’s Steve Maltais is close behind with eight.

TODAY IN HOCKEY

On Thursday June 1, 1949 the NHL extends the regular season to 70 games from
60 games.

DID YOU KNOW

Sergei Makarov has won the most gold medals at the World Championships.
Sergei won 10 gold medals with the USSR.

IHL TRANSACTIONS

Milwaukee Admirals: Name Dave Allison as head coach.
Announce Claude Noel will return as assistant coach.

IHL TURNER CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Turner Cup Finals

Chicago Wolves (#1) vs Grand Rapids Griffins (#2)


Game 1: Friday, May 26 Grand Rapids 3 at Chicago 4 (Overtime)
Game 2: Sunday, May 28 Grand Rapids 0 at Chicago 4
Game 3: Tuesday, May 30 Chicago 3 at Grand Rapids 5
Game 4: Thursday, June 1 Chicago 5 at Grand Rapids 3 (Chicago leads 3-1)
Game 5: Saturday, June 3 Grand Rapids at Chicago (7:00)
Game 6:* Monday, June 5 Chicago at Grand Rapids (7:30)
Game 7:* Wednesday,June 7 Grand Rapids at Chicago (7:00)

* if necessary -- all times are local

UPCOMING TURNER CUP FINAL’S ACTION


Saturday June 3: Grand Rapids Griffins at Chicago Wolves 7:00pm Game 5
Chicago leads Turner Cup Final 3 games to 1 game.