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Weiman Wins in SO on Bobblehead NightTweet
The win improves the Monsters to 26-24-0-4 and puts Lake Erie in the fourth spot in the North Division, a seed that represents the division’s final playoff seed. With the shootout defeat, Hamilton drops to 34-12-3-5. The Monsters are currently on a three-game winning streak and have won four of the past five games.
Phil Dupuis started the scoring for the Monsters, netting his 11th of the season four minutes into the game. Collecting Brian Fahey’s rebound in the slot, Matt Ford put a shot on net that Hamilton goalie Cedrick Desjardins kicked out in front to Dupuis. With a defender on his back, Dupuis battled through the coverage and pushed the puck into the yawning cage, giving the Monsters an early lead.
The Monsters held the lead for the next 15-plus minutes, but Hamilton would tie the game at one before the first period would end. On the power play, Brock Trotter wired a cross-ice feed from the wall over outstretched Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman. Ben Maxwell and Andre Benoit picked up the helpers on the goal.
Heading into the middle frame tied, captain Brian Willsie put the Monsters up, 2-1, with his 15th goal of the season on the power play at the 3:41 mark of the second. With the puck on the blueline, defenseman Tom Preissing released a laser that Willsie, from in front of the net, tipped into the top corner of the net past Desjardins blocker. Randy Rowe picked up the second assist on the goal.
Just a minute after Lake Erie took the lead, the Bulldogs responded, as the team pulled even with the Monsters on Maxwell’s 12th goal of the season. Cutting across the slot, Max Pacioretty let go of a wrist shot that Weiman initially stopped. With the puck just outside the crease, Maxwell pushed the disc past Weiman’s stick side to tie the game.
Twenty-seven seconds after tying the game, Hamilton pulled ahead for the first time, going up 3-2 when Shawn Belle put in his second of the season at the 5:16 mark of the second. When a rolling puck came out to the point, Belle collected the biscuit and fired into the top shelf past Weiman’s glove. Maxwell and Pacioretty assisted on the tally.
But the Bulldogs lead wouldn’t last long, as Willsie would even the game with his 16th of the year at 9:33 of the second. Coming into the Hamilton zone with the puck on edge, Willsie unleashed a rocket of a slapshot that found its way over the glove of Desjardins and under the crossbar, tying the game at three. Rowe and T.J. Hensick picked up the assists on the goal.
With the game tied, Lake Erie once again gained scoreboard supremacy at the second period’s 12:17 mark when Hensick put home his 14th of the season. Taking the puck on the wall from Willsie, Rowe threw a cross-ice pass that Hensick, who was cutting down the slot, deflected past the outstretched leg of Desjardins to put the Monsters ahead, 4-3. After Hensick’s score, the Bulldogs pulled Desjardins, replacing him with Curtis Sanford.
With the assist, his third of the game, Rowe has put up a point in the past five games, tallying nine points (3G, 6A) in that span. Adding two goals and an assist, Willsie put up his 11th multi-point game of the season and has notched nine points (4G, 5A) in the past six contests. The two points (1G, 1A) marked the 14th multi-point game of the season for Hensick, who has posted three consecutive multi-point games, tallying six points (4G, 2A) in that span.
Taking a 4-3 lead into regulation’s final 20 minutes, the Bulldogs would battle back and knot the game seven minutes into the third on Ryan Russell’s 11th goal of the season on the power play. Standing in front of the Monsters net, Russell deflected a point shot that found the back of the Lake Erie cage. Benoit and Trotter recorded the assists.
After Russell’s score, the final 13 minutes of the third would go by without any change on the scoreboard and the teams would head into a five-minute sudden death overtime. In the five-minute frame, the Monsters failed to convert on a power play, and Weiman turned away one shot, sending the game into the shootout.
Lake Erie’s first shooter – Hensick – would put the Monsters ahead, pushing a wrist shot through Sanford’s fivehole. But the resilient Bulldogs would tie it when their first shooter – Trotter – deked to the forehand and put the puck between Weiman’s leg and the post. The next three shooters for both clubs would be denied, and it would come down to two men to decide the game: Lake Erie’s Brock Bradford and Hamilton’s Pacioretty.
Shooting first, Bradford came in and fired a low wrist shot that beat Sanford. The fifth and final shooter for the Bulldogs, Pacioretty, would be denied by Weiman, giving the Monsters the 5-4 victory.
“We didn’t play as well as we have the past three games, but Hamilton’s a very good hockey team, they’re an elite American Hockey League team,” said Monsters head coach David Quinn. “I thought we were just a little bit off tonight, but we battled back and got some timely goals, and we just found a way to win.”
The Monsters finish up the weekend with a Saturday game in Rochester at 7:35 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena at War Memorial. Lake Erie won’t return to The Q until Wednesday, February 24th, when they host the Hershey Bears at 10:45 a.m. 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.
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