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LAST-MINUTE GOAL ELIMINATES WINGS

Arturs Kupaks' power-play goal with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter ended the Buffalo Wings' season in Major League Roller Hockey.

The Columbus defenseman hit the net with a shot from the high slot to give the Hawks a 6-5 victory over the Wings in their Great Lakes Division playoff at Battelle Hall before around 900 fans.

The Wings, who never led, had tied the game on Mark Major's third goal of the game with 36 seconds left after removing goalie Kevin Kreutzer in favor of an extra attacker. However, with 18 seconds left in regulation a tripping penalty against Buffalo's John Vecchiarelli gave Columbus an opportunity to win. Kupaks' only goal of the game sent the Hawks on to next week's MLRH Final Four in Anaheim, Calif.

Columbus led, 2-0, after one quarter and 3-1 at halftime but coach Lou Franceschetti's team rallied to tie it in the third.

Vecchiarelli started the rally with a short-handed goal at 3:27. Fifty-nine seconds later, Kory Karlander scored unassisted to put the Hawks back in front by two, but Major scored with his own rebound off the goal post at 5:21 and Ken Blum tallied after a pretty pass from Chris Palmer at 6:48.

After Yanick Evola had put Columbus back in front, Palmer tipped in a James Richmond shot at 3:30 for another tie. Defenseman Tim Green scored his second of the game to put Columbus back in front with 5:47 left. That lead held up until Major's extra-man goal in the final minute.

Kreutzer had 35 saves in goal for the Wings. Blum had four assists and Palmer three for Buffalo.

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