Wolves’ third-period lapses continue in loss to Rampage
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media February 29, 2012 10:46PM
Updated: April 2, 2012 9:54AM
For most of the season, Wolves coach Craig MacTavish has maintained an even temper.
But after a third-period meltdown in a 2-1 loss to the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday at Allstate Arena, MacTavish was unrestrained in his assessment of the team.
“When the game gets on the line, we have failed miserably in the third periods,” MacTavish said. “We can do a few things, we’re semi-skilled. But when the pace gets up and the rubber hits the road when the game’s on the line, we’ve failed.”
The Wolves have lost four in a row. In the last three games, they have been tied or leading entering the third period.
Both Rampage goals came in the final period Wednesday.
The first came after Darren Haydar was called for a questionable unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. MacTavish was noticeably upset and said that the officials had mistaken Haydar for a Rampage player who had said something from the bench.
Nonetheless, the Wolves’ lack of execution exacerbated the situation.
“Notwithstanding that we got to kill a friggin’ penalty,” MacTavish said. “Kill a friggin’ penalty or get a power-play goal. So it’s not the call that was our undoing. It shouldn’t be the focal point of that failure.”
The power play has continued to be the Wolves’ downfall the last two months.
They were held scoreless on three power plays Wednesday. Entering the game, the Wolves were tied for the second-worst power-play unit in the AHL and have converted on two of their last 51 opportunities.
“We need to have our skill guys, everybody, stepping in and getting a body and working for that puck in the zone and taking care of it, especially on our power play,” forward Tim Miller said.