Monsters Score Convincing Win

The Lake Erie Monsters registered a franchise-record 49 shots en route to a convincing 6-3 win over the Toronto Marlies Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena on Olympic Tribute Night. The team received multi-point efforts from four players and improved to 22-21-0-4, while the Marlies dropped to 17-21-5-4 in the defeat. Wearing Olympic-inspired jerseys with “LEM” stitched across the front of the jerseys, the Monsters were paying homage to the 30-year anniversary of the 1980 USA gold medal-winning hockey team. The goalie of that “Miracle on Ice” team, Jim Craig, was in Cleveland for a pregame autograph session and for the ceremonial puck drop.

Despite allowing the game’s first goal, Lake Erie responded with a monster middle frame, recording four goals in eight minutes to break away from the Marlies.

Toronto’s Christian Hanson started out the scoring, netting his 11th of the season six minutes into the game on the power play.

Coming into the slot, Hanson used a Monsters defender as a screen and ripped a wrist shot past the blocker of goalie Tyler Weiman. Brendan Mikkelson and Kyle Calder assisted on the goal.

It would take almost the entire period for the Monsters to respond, but Marty Sertich would tie the game at one, netting his ninth of the year at the 18:15 mark. Standing off to the left of Toronto goalie Joey MacDonald, Sertich took a cross-ice feed from Brian Willsie and put the puck over the outstretched MacDonald. Brock Bradford picked up the second assist on the goal.

Before the period would end, Toronto would take back the lead on Greg Scott’s fifth of the season. Streaking down the middle of the Monsters zone, Scott took a pass in stride from Tim Brent and, alone on Weiman, ripped a wrist shot over the Lake Erie goalie’s glove. Viktor Stalberg tallied the secondary assist on the goal.

Heading into the second down a goal, the Monsters would go on a scoring rampage, netting four goals on 20 shots in the middle frame, and recording their four tallies in an eight-minute span.

Matt Ford would begin the scoring spree, netting his eighth of the season at the 8:09 mark of the second period. Holding the puck behind the net, Mike Bartlett threw a pass out in front of the net to Tom Zanoski. One-timing the puck, Zanoski’s shot hit MacDonald and trickled behind him and into the crease, where Ford poked home the rebound.

Forty-seven seconds later, the Monsters would take their first lead of the game on Travis Gawryletz’s first career goal in the AHL. When an errant pass from Phil Dupuis hit the half wall and bounced into the faceoff dot, Gawryletz came down from his spot at the point and fired a slapshot over the blocker of MacDonald. Brett Skinner recorded the second assist on the goal.

Six minutes later, at the 14:50 mark of the second, Justin Mercier padded the Monsters lead to two with his seventh goal of the season. Making a straight dash toward the Marlies net on a break, T.J. Hensick deflected a pass from Darren Haydar that caught MacDonald’s shoulder and bounced out into the slot, where Mercier put home the rebound.

Ninety seconds later, Bartlett pushed the Monsters ahead, 5-2, with his fourth of the season. Coming in the Toronto zone on a two-on-one break with Mercier, Bartlett took a pass from Mercier and put a shot on net. Following his shot, the puck bounced off MacDonald and then off Bartlett and into the net. The goal marked the third multi-point game of the season for Bartlett and fourth multi-point game for Mercier this year. After yielding the fifth goal, MacDonald was pulled from the Toronto crease and Andrew Engelage came in.

Before the second would end, Toronto would cut the Monsters lead to two on Stalberg’s 11th of the season. With the puck in the left circle, Brent put a shot on net that deflected off a Monsters defenseman and to Stalberg, who was off to Weiman’s left. With the Monsters netminder out of position, Stalberg deposited the astray puck into a yawning net with a minute left in the second.

With a 5-3 lead heading into the third, the Monsters would add one more goal en route to the 6-3 final. Standing off to the left of the net, Hensick buried a cross-ice feed from Haydar on the power play past an outstretched Engelage at the 6:32 mark of the third. Tom Preissing picked up the assist on the goal, which marked Haydar’s 12th multi-point game this season and Hensick’s 11th multi-point performance of the year.

“We’re playing well and I like the direction we’re going in,” said head coach David Quinn. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself because a lot can happen at this level, but Abbotsford got beat, so we’re one point out of fourth place in the North Division. We have to enjoy this for an hour or two because a very good San Antonio team is coming in tomorrow (Saturday) night.”

Weiman ended the night making 23 saves on 26 shots while MacDonald turned away 29 of 34 shots and Engelage stopped 14 of 15.

The Monsters return to the ice in less than 24 hours for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the San Antonio Rampage at The Q on Saturday. Tickets are still available, and can be purchased by calling (216) 420-0000, by visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or by visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

Sights and Sounds
 
Head Coach David Quinn Interview
 
Mike Bartlett Postgame Interview


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