Monsters Hunt Down Wolves for Win

Eric Healey and Chris Stewart each scored their 20th goals of the season to help the Lake Erie Monsters to a 7-5 win over the Western Conference-leading Chicago Wolves Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Chicago right wing Jesse Shultz tossed a snap shot beyond Monsters netminder Mike Wall to begin the high scoring affair just a minute into the game. The assist was given to Grant Lewis at the 1:18 mark.

A tip in on the back door on the power play by Lake Erie’s Chris Stewart evened the game up at 1-1 early in the first period. Stewart’s 20th goal of the season was assisted by Eric Healey at the 3:46 mark. Stewart is Lake Erie’s first-ever 20-goal scorer. The tally was also assisted by T.J. Hensick.

Chicago hurried to take the lead back on a wrister from Jason Krog less than a minute later at the 4:20 mark. The helpers were given to Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling.

To make his home debut a lasting one, Monsters rookie and Parma native Tom Fritsche notched the first goal of his Monsters career on a pass from Brent Kelly. Fritsche’s first career pro tally was also assisted by Rob Drummond. The game-tying goal was scored at the 9:18 mark of the first.

“It’s surreal (to score his first career professional goal). I had a lot of friends and family here tonight so it was good to do it in front of them,” said Fritsche.

Mike Vernace caught Chicago on their heels in their zone as he turned and wristed a biscuit to the blocker side of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec that was tipped in by Wyatt Smith. Brad Richardson was also credited with an assist on Smith’s 12th goal of the season at 13:14 of the first.

Chicago’s Joey Crabb placed a backhand in the back of the net off a Joe Motzko pass at the 15:08 mark of the first to cap off the first period scoring. Steve Martins was also given an assist on the Crabb tally.

After a high-scoring first period, the goal didn’t pour back in until deep into the second as a pass in the slot from Healey resulted in a back hander on the doorstep from Brad Richardson at the 16:26 mark of the second. Richardson stopped the puck with his skate and put it home with his blade for his seventh marker of the season, giving the Monsters the lead. Dan DaSilva was given an assist as well.

Haydar tied the game back up at 4-4 for Chicago on a pass from Krog at 17:22 of the second period. Haydar’s 15th goal of the season was also helped by Chad Denny.

Healey cashed in a disc from Hensick on the power play to retake the lead at 5-4 with 4:10 gone by in the third. Defenseman Ray Macias was credited with the second assist. Healey’s goal is his 20th of the season, and he has now scored points in six consecutive games (10 points).

Centerman Kelly pushed the Lake Erie lead to 6-4 as he notched an unassisted goal at 4:51 of the third.

The Wolves tried to claw their way back into the game on a Jordan LaVallee goal with less than a minute remaining in the game. The helpers were credited to Haydar and Krog.

Brent Kelly provided some late insurance with just over :30 seconds remaining, scoring an empty net goal on a pass from Richardson for his 12th marker of the season. With his three-point effort on the night, Richardson has now scored 18 points in his last 10 games.

“We have a line-up right now that we’ve been looking for all year. We have been playing good hockey as of late. Hopefully we can gain some ground on the teams in front of us.” said Healey.

Monsters goaltender Wall was just that as he stopped 28 of 33 shots for his fourth win in his last five starts. Chicago’s goalie Pavelec turned away 33 of 39 that he faced on the night.

Chicago and their eighth ranked penalty kill gave Lake Erie nine opportunities on the power play, three of which they cashed in. The Monsters, on the other hand, denied all of the Wolves seven chances with the man advantage.

“Our power play has been real strong as of late. It gives us a lot of confidence. We have the players out there to make plays and make things happen. It’s really carried us offensively for the last several games,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.

With Lake Erie’s seven goals on Tuesday night, they tied for the most goals that Chicago has given up to an opponent in a game this season.

The Monsters return to action Thursday night at home against division foe Rochester Americans at 7:00 p.m. You can also catch the game on FSN Ohio.

Sights and Sounds
Eric Healey Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Three Stars
First Star
Tom Fritsche (LEM)
Second Star
Brad Richardson (LEM)
Third Star
Jason Krog (CHI)
Quote, Unquote

“When you have a lot of young players like we do you always need your veterans to step up. Healey has been doing a really good job lately, and putting up a lot of points on the board. Wyatt Smith has been a real consistent player for us. He does all the little things really well on the ice. With Jeff Jillson and Johnny Boychuk on the back end, we have some good veterans. The young players at this time of year, when you hit the 60 game mark, it wears on them because they haven’t had that tough schedule yet. You need your veterans to step up and perform for us like they have.” - Monsters head coach Joe Sacco

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