Monsters Bounce Back with Dominant Win

Ryan Stoa’s second-period goal made him the all-time Lake Erie Monsters goal-scoring leader with 40 tallies, and the Monsters (5-9-1-0) scored within the first 1:40 of each period en route to a 5-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage (4-7-0-0) at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday. The win snaps a three-game Monsters losing streak and marks the Monsters first home win over San Antonio since February 1, 2008. Five different Monsters scored in the game.

Justin Mercier netted his second of the season to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead at 1:40 of the opening period when he fired a puck toward the net from the left wing corner. The puck deflected over Rampage goalie Jacob Markstrom and across the goal line; the goal was unassisted.

Mike Carman intercepted an outlet pass, walked in, and beat Markstrom under the right arm at 8:24 of the first for his first goal of the season, unassisted, at 8:24 of the first period. After missing the beginning of the season with an injury, Carman was playing just his second game of the year.

Luke Walker drove to the net early in the second period and was denied by Markstrom, but Stoa followed Walker’s attempt and tapped in the rebound for his historic goal, which was also his first of the 2011-12 season; a tally that gave the Monsters a 3-0 lead.

Colby Robak put San Antonio on the board with 1:03 remaining in the second period when he followed an offensive rush into Monsters territory, received a pass in the high slot, and one-timed a shot by Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins to cut the Monsters lead to 3-1.

David van der Gulik regained a three-goal advantage for the Monsters when he received a pass from Evan Brophey in the slot and sent a puck past Markstrom to make the score 4-1 at 0:26 of the third period. The goal was van der Gulik’s fourth, which moves him into the team lead. Greg Mauldin also collected an assist on the goal.

After a scrum in front of the Monsters net and a lengthy review of a play at 12:52 of the second period, the Rampage was awarded a goal that cut the Monsters lead to 4-2. The goal was credited to Angelo Esposito.

However, the Monsters regained a three-goal lead for good when Brad Malone netted an empty-net tally at 19:03 from the neutral zone. The goal was his second of the season, and along with his second-period assist, gave him his first multi-point game of his professional career. van der Gulik assisted on the goal, giving him two points in the game as well; van der Gulik now has four multi-point efforts on the season, including three in his last four games played.

Desjardins stopped 22 of 24 San Antonio shots in earning the victory; he is 2-2-0. Markstrom is 0-1-0 for the Rampage; he stopped 24 of 28 shots.

The Monsters host San Antonio again on Friday night with the action beginning at 7:30 PM. The game will be aired on radio on AM 1220 WHKW, and on television on FOX Sports Ohio.

NOTES: Friday night’s game will be the final meeting between the Monsters and Rampage at The Q this season… the Monsters hadn’t beaten San Antonio since 3/27/10… Justin Mercier’s first-period goal snapped a string of 10-straight games without a goal… Evan Brophey’s third-period assist snapped a string of 10-straight games without a helper… San Antonio has dropped five-of-six games… The Monsters next four games are at The Q… The eight combined penalty minutes in Thursday’s game is the lowest total for a Monsters game this season… van der Gulik’s goal at 0:26 of the third period is the fastest goal to start a period for a Monsters player this season… Justin Mercier is now tied with Wes O’Neill for second all-time in games played as a Monster with 159.

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