Shootout Win Over Defending Champs

Photos courtesy of JustSports Photography
The Lake Erie Monsters trailed the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears for 59:19 of Saturday night's game before eventually pulling out a 3-2 shootout win. Ben Walter scored with 41 seconds left in regulation to push the Monsters into a 2-2 tie with the Bears, forcing overtime and then a shootout. Patrick Rissmiller notched the win with his successful shootout attempt, giving the Monsters their second straight win.

Lake Erie is in the middle of playing three games in three days, which started Friday night with a win in Rochester and will finish back in Rochester on Sunday. The Monsters are now 18-19-3-4 and in sole possession of fifth place in the North Division.

Playing the first of two meetings between Lake Erie and Hershey this season, Keith Aucoin gave the Bears an early lead with his power play marker at 4:50 of the first period. Former Monsters players Brian Fahey and Brian Willsie both assisted.

Although Hershey outshot the Monsters 15-8 in the opening frame, neither they nor Lake Erie would light the lamp the rest of the period.

Ashton Rome wasted little time in the second period building the Bears lead. His goal at 3:17 was assisted by Maxime Lacroix and Tyler Sloan, giving Hershey a 2-0 advantage.

Lake Erie would get on the board before the end of the second, cutting the Bears lead in half with Mark Olver's goal at 18:03. Olver has now scored in back-to-back games for the third time this season. Patrick Rissmiller assisted for his second helper in as many days.

The Monsters finished the second down 2-1 after posting 13 shots, compared to 12 from Hershey.

Despite outshooting the Bears 16-6 in the third period, it looked as though Hershey would hold on for the 2-1 win as they held the Monsters off the scoreboard until the final minute of play. That was until Walter scored with just 41 seconds remaining to tie the score at two goals apiece. Having just returned to Lake Erie from Colorado earlier in the day, Jonas Holos assisted on the tying goal, as did Olver. With a goal and assist on the night, Olver recorded his sixth multi-point game of the season.

The five-minute sudden death overtime period came and went with no score, as the Monsters posted two shots and the Bears with one.

It was on to the shootout, which would see Hershey start first. Their first shooter was not successful, but Lake Erie's was. Olver gave the Monsters the early advantage.

Hershey's second and third shooters were likewise unsuccessful, as was Lake Erie's second shooter Ryan Stoa.

The Monsters third shooter, however, would turn out to be the eventual winner. Rissmiller converted his attempt, which was followed by Aucoin punching in his as well.

Greg Mauldin, playing in his first game with Lake Erie since November after being returned to the Monsters on Friday from Colorado, missed his attempt.

Hershey's fifth and final attempt came up short, giving Lake Erie the 3-2 shootout victory. It was just the second shootout win out of six tries this season for the Monsters.

Lake Erie goaltender John Grahame recorded 32 saves on 34 shots, as well as stopping four of five in the shootout. It was Grahame's second straight win and fourth in his last six games.

Braden Holtby had 37 saves on 39 shots in the Hershey loss.

The Monsters will now finish their season-long seven-game road trip in Rochester on Sunday.

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