Monsters Come back & Win in Shootout 4-3

Rookie forward Michael Sgarbossa scored the tying goal in the third period then tallied the shootout winner with a highlight-reel move to propel the Lake Erie Monsters (5-3-0-0) to a 4-3 shootout win over the Abbotsford Heat (4-0-0-2) Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena.  With a goal and an assist in regulation, Sgarbossa picked up his third multi-point effort of the season, while Bryan Lerg and Geoff Walker also recorded two-point games.  Lake Erie rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard earned the win in net after stopping five-of-six Abbotsford shootout attempts.

Brad Malone deflected a puck in off his body at 3:46 of the first period- his second goal of the season- to give the Monsters an early 1-0 lead.  Mark Olver sent a pass from below the goal line to Bill Thomas in the circle, and Thomas’ shot skipped off Malone for the game’s first goal.

Abbotsford answered less than four minutes later when Dustin Sylvester tapped in a centering pass across the goal crease from Sven Baertschi at 7:32 of the first period.

Lerg regained a one-goal lead for the Monsters at 11:34 of the first period when he one-timed a Walker pass from the left circle over the  outstretched left pad of Heat goalie Leland Irving for his fourth goal of the season, and fourth goal in as many games.  Sgarbossa also assisted on the goal.  

With 36 seconds remaining in the period, Krys Kolanos sent a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Pickard to tie the game at 2-2.

Abbotsford took a one-goal lead after Ben Street backhanded a loose puck in the slot by Pickard at 3:58 of the second period; the only goal of the period for either team.

Sgarbossa tied the game for the Monsters at 12:20 of the third period on a shot from the right circle that saw the first-year forward fake a slap shot, and quickly send a snap shot behind Irving for the tally that forced overtime.  The goal was Sgarbossa’s third of the season, and was assisted by Walker and Lerg.

After overtime failed to yield a winner, the Monsters and Heat ventured to a shootout.  Lerg gave the Monsters a 1-0 lead in the shootout when he varied his speed on the way to the net, hesitated, and faked to his backhand before sending a puck to the top-portion of the net that beat Irving to his glove side.

Roman Horak, the AHL’s leading goal scoring with six entering the night, tied the shootout in the fourth round, forcing extra frames of the shootout, which regularly includes five rounds.  In the sixth round of the shootout, Sgarbossa’s shootout-winning goal brought the crowd at The Q to its feet, and Pickard finished the job by denying Abbotsford’s Street on a last-ditch opportunity.

Pickard (3-2-0) stopped 17 of 20 shots in regulation and overtime for the Monsters.  Irving (0-1-0) stopped 29 of 32 for Abbotsford in his first action of the season.  

The Monsters begin a seven-game stretch of road games Thursday night in Peoria, before heading to Milwaukee on Friday and Rockford on Saturday.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night’s action can be heard live beginning at 8:00 PM Eastern each night on AM 1220 WHKW.

NOTES: Sgarbossa now has a four-game point streak; he has three goals and three assists for six points over the last four games… Andrew Agozzino and Thomas Pock each had five-game point streaks snap Saturday night; their streaks are tied for the Monsters season-long at five games… The Monsters even their home record at 2-2-0-0 with the shootout win over Abbotsford… The victory over Abbotsford was the first for the Monsters since 2/6/11; the Monsters were 0-4-0-0 against the Heat last season, and fell to Abbotsford Friday night by a 5-3 score… The Monsters improve to 4-1-0-0 this season when Brad Malone registers a point… The Monsters are now 4-0-0-0 when Bill Thomas picks up a point… With an assist, Mark Olver is now tied for the Monsters team lead in assists with six on the season… Abbotsford remains the only team in the AHL that hasn’t allowed a power play goal; the Monsters were 0-6 on the power play Saturday night… Abbotsford remains the only team in the Western Conference without a regulation loss… The shootout was Calvin Pickard’s first as a professional.

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