Healey and Monsters Too Sweet for Hershey

The Lake Erie Monsters outlasted a 28-win Hershey Bears team in a shootout, 5-4, on Valentine’s Day at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Monsters started off the scoring when forward Philippe Dupuis cut into the left side of the Bears zone and deked a defender right to left to beat veteran goaltender Federic Cassivi blocker side. Wyatt Smith and Johnny Boychuk were credited with the assists on Dupuis’ power play marker at the 13:02 point of the first.

The Bears notched the game up at 1-1 just as the second period began on a Grant Potulny goal at the 1:37 mark. Potulny’s 17th goal of the season was assisted by Sami Lepisto and Andrew Gordon.

Monsters defenseman Mike Vernace found an answer for the Bears tally as he let loose a slapper from the top of the right circle at the 7:28 mark of the second. Jamie Lundmark and David Jones were given the power play assists on Vernace’s second marker of the season.

Hershey tied the game for the second time on a marker from Lepisto at the 8:54 marker of the second. Josef Boumedienne and Jason Morgan were each credited with an assist on Lepisto’s marker.

Hershey took the lead in the third period at the 5:23 mark on a wrister from the left circle by All-Star Joe Motzko (19). Credited with the helpers on the Motzko tally were Lepisto and Boumedienne.

To tie the game back up at 3-3, Monsters center Brent Kelly cashed in the disc at the 13:56 mark of the third. Vladimir Denisov and Eric Healey each pitched in for helpers on Kelly’s fifth goal of the season.

Hershey took little time to digest Kelly’s game-tying tally as Jason Morgan posted his 11th goal of the season at the 15:37 mark of the third, shifting the scoring balance in favor of the Bears.

Not to be outdone, Monsters forward Dan DaSilva took it upon himself to tie the game up on the power play with less than a minute remaining in the game. Smith and Healey were both responsible for the assists on DaSilva’s goal at the 19:36 mark of the third.

The two teams then headed into overtime with the score tied at 4-4, but neither could post a marker in the extra set, as the game spiraled into a shootout.

In the shootout, Hershey began the scoring on a tally from Ben Clymer. In their next four attempts, Hershey would only manage one additional marker. The Monsters, however found the veteran scoring touch of Eric Healey to be the difference as the left wing scored the third tally for the Monsters on the team’s fifth and would-be final attempt. The final shooter for the Bears, Andrew Gordon, was unable to bury the biscuit as the Monsters topped Hershey in the shootout, 3-2, leaving the final score at 5-4 in favor of the home team. The Monsters received tallies from Dupuis and Stewart prior to Healey’s game-winner.

“In the shootout I just watched the goalie’s tendencies. On the first four shooters he left the five-hole wide open. I just took my shot and didn’t think of anything else. I just made sure I put it right where I wanted to,” said Healey.

Mike Wall made 26 stops on 30 shots in addition to denying three of the five shootout attempts that the Bears threw his way. Hershey’s Cassivi stopped 21 of 25 shots in regulation but was only able to deny two of the Monsters shootout discs.

Walls’ win is his second straight and fourth in his last seven starts. In addition, he has started the last seven consecutive games between the pipes for Lake Erie.

“It is a good feeling winning and being a part of the win is always important. Dan DaSilva scored one of the biggest goals of the year. We really haven’t had too many of those goals (this season) and it was good to see the guys pick me up after that fourth goal. That is definitely one I would like to have back, but Dan gave me a chance in overtime and the shootout to redeem myself,” said Wall.

The Monsters were 3-9 on the man advantage against Hershey Thursday and have now scored at least one power play goal in 12 of their last 13 games, totaling 19 tallies over that span. Out of the 76 power play opportunities over that stretch the Monsters succession rate is 24.7% (19 of 76).

The Monsters had 10 different point scorers in Thursday’s game – Boychuk, Vernace, Denisov, Kelly, Smith, Healey, Dupuis, Lundmark, Jones and DaSilva. In each of the five games that the Monsters have had 10 or more point scorers this season, they are undefeated (5-0-0-0).

“We knew we were playing one of the better teams tonight and we wanted to get a good start on our road trip. Tonight’s win against one of the elite teams in the AHL is huge for us. The boys never quit, they were very resilient and we had some gutsy performances,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.

The Monsters now head to the road for five consecutive games before returning home on February 27th, as they face the Houston Aeros for the first time at The Q at 7:00 p.m.

Sights and Sounds
 
Eric Healey Interview
 
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Three Stars
First Star
Eric Healey (LEM)
Second Star
Jason Morgan (HER)
Third Star
Sami Lepisto (HER)
Quote, Unquote

“It is a good feeling winning and being a part of the win is always important. We played a really good game tonight. Our power play chipped in big time. Dan DaSilva scored one of the biggest goals of the year. We really haven’t had too many of those goals and it was good to see the guys pick me up after that fourth goal. That is definitely one I would like to have back, but Dan gave me a chance in overtime and the shootout to redeem myself.” - Monsters goaltender Mike Wall


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