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Brett Sterling’s hat trick lifts Wolves to victory over Monsters

Updated: May 1, 2013 3:50PM

All too often this season, the Wolves have blown third-period leads, largely because they have played passively.

But for a large portion of the season, they have been without left wing Brett Sterling, their most potent scorer.

Against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday at Allstate Arena, Sterling proved just how valuable he can be to the Wolves in the third ­period.

After his team took a one-goal lead into the second ­intermission, Sterling scored all three of his goals in the third and helped the Wolves to a 5-2 victory.

“If you sit back and just play defense all night, they’re eventually going to get a bounce, and that’s what’s happened to us a lot of the time,” Sterling said. “So we made an effort to really come after them.”

The Wolves are tied with the Milwaukee Admirals for seventh place in the Western Conference by virtue of the Admirals’ victory over the IceHogs in Rockford. The Wolves and Admirals play Saturday at Allstate Arena.

In outshooting the Monsters 10-6 in the first period, the Wolves (32-23-5-4, 73 points) seemed to carry over the defensive intensity they showed in the overtime period of Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory against the Oklahoma City Barons.

Wolves forward Michael Davies broke a scoreless tie when he scored on the power play at 1:19 in the second period, knocking in a rebound of a slap shot by Brad Hunt. The goal broke a streak of three games in a row without a power-play tally by the Wolves.

The Monsters tied the score when Joey Hishon scored at 9:08 in the second period. Wolves defenseman Jim Vandermeer answered with a goal 11 seconds after a power play for his team ended at 13:07. That gave the Wolves a 2-1 edge after two periods.

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