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SALO OVERSHADOWED, OVERWHELMED

A strange thing happened Monday night in Game 1 of the IHL Western Conference finals - Tommy Salo was not the best goaltender on the ice.

After carrying the Grizzlies on his back through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Salo finally had on off-night. Make that an awful night.The Thunder punished Salo for six goals on 37 attempts in their 6-2 thrashing of the Grizzlies to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The Swedish goalie had been spectacular in 12 playoff games coming into the conference finals. He allowed just 1.74 goals a game and had a sparkling 0.935 save percentage in the two series against Kansas City and Peoria.

But it looked like somebody had put some kryptonite into Super Salo's pre-game meal Monday.

"He's not going to be Superman every night," said Utah coach Butch Goring.

It was just the second time all season that Salo had allowed six goals in a game. But he said he's not going to fret about it.

"We've got to forget this game and come back tomorrow," said Salo, last season's IHL MVP. "That's the way it must be - it's not over."

Though he wanted to put the game behind him, Salo was still upset about one particular goal in the game afterwards.

With the Thunder ahead 4-2, Las Vegas defenseman Ruslan Salei hit a slapper at Salo. Salo made what appeared to be a good block but the puck trickled off his pads and onto the goalline. The red light flashed and the goal was allowed, but Salo didn't believe it actually crossed the line. He then continued to nag at the goal judge and was slapped with a 10-minute game misconduct.

"I was (upset) to lose the game that way, because three refs missed the goal. The game was over after that goal and they didn't see it," Salo said.

Salo fell to 7-6 in the playoffs, while Las Vegas goalkeeper Pokey Reddick picked up the win to improve to 7-2. Reddick finished making 32 of 34 saves.

"Reddick had a good game, there's no question. He made a lot of saves, some he didn't even see," Goring added. "Tonight he had his night and hopefully tomorrow Tommy Salo has his night."