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Physical play takes bite out of Wolves

Updated: March 27, 2012 8:29AM

Word might be out among Western Conference teams on how to beat the Wolves.

Teams have been ratcheting up their physical play, throwing the Wolves off their game. The Abbotsford Heat had that in mind Saturday, and it worked as the Wolves lost 4-1.

“It has become increasingly evident that teams want to come at us physically, and that taxes our power play to be more productive, to make them pay the price for taking as many penalties as teams have taken,” Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish said.

While it would help if the Wolves improved their checking, they’d be best served to develop some consistency on the power play.

The Wolves’ lone goal came on the power play when Antoine Roussel scored at 14:08 in the second period. But it was the first power-play goal at home since Jan. 18 for the Wolves, who had gone eight consecutive home games without a power-play goal.

This was the first game Roussel played on the power play.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, and he’s a guy that has taken advantage,” MacTavish said. “There isn’t anybody in our group that has worked harder on his game than Roussel, and it’s good to see him get rewarded for it.”

MacTavish put him on the power play to win battles and get the puck back. MacTavish said he plans to stick with Roussel.

“If you told me I would have gone on the PP tonight, I would have laughed in your face,” Roussel said.

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