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First Regulation Loss to Toronto on FridayTweet
Lake Erie found itself down early as Toronto opened the scoring at the 4:13 mark of the first period. After tangling with a Monsters defenseman in the high slot of Lake Erie’s defensive zone, Marlies right wing Kyle Rogers was able to spring free in time to capitalize on a crossing pass from veteran center Mark Bell. Alex Foster was also credited with an assist on the goal.
The Monsters were not held short of chances early on, however, as Lake Erie found itself on the powerplay on five separate occasions in the first period, only to be turned away by Toronto netminder Adam Munro each time.
The Monsters emerged from the dressing room determined to test Munro in the second period. Lake Erie eventually found the back of the net at the 6:29 mark of the second on a shorthanded goal by defenseman Kyle Cumiskey, assisted by Monsters captain Nathan Smith. After a Toronto turnover near center ice, Cumiskey and Smith worked a give-and-go between two Toronto defenders before the left-handed Cumiskey received the puck on his off wing, held it for a moment to draw Munro to the right side of the net, and then beat the Toronto goaltender low to the left side to tie the game at one goal apiece.
“I just jumped up, made a pass to Smith, he made a nice pass back and I got a shot off and it went in. So it was a really nice pass by him,” Cumiskey said. Cumiskey’s goal was his seventh point (3G, 4A) in five games.
Lake Erie appeared to strike again later in the second as Smith stood in traffic in front of Munro and tipped a slap shot from the blueline into the Marlies net. However, the goal was subsequently disallowed as referee Jamie Koharski ruled that Smith’s stick was above the crossbar when it redirected the puck. According to American Hockey League rules, a goal does not count when it is directed by a stick raised above the height of a net’s steel crossbar.
Early in the third period, Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman faced a flurry of shots from all directions and Lake Erie struggled to break out of its own zone. At the 6:29 mark of the third, Toronto defenseman Staffan Kronwall received a pass from left wing Stefano Giliati, danced over the Monsters blueline, made a quick move to the outside through the stick of Lake Erie defenseman Ray Macias and fired a shot past Weiman to give the Marlies a 2-1 lead. Toronto would add to their lead at 11:15 of the third on a Todd Perry snapshot. Boyd Devereaux and Alex Foster were credited with the assists on Perry’s goal.
Late in the third, Lake Erie attempted to ignite some offense of its own with a barrage of shots on Munro that led to a Toronto penalty. However, the Monsters were unable to solve Munro on the powerplay and for the remainder of the game, despite outshooting Toronto, 32-28, overall.
Following the game, Monsters coach Joe Sacco was pleased with his team’s effort, but acknowledged the need for his team to capitalize on chances presented to them in close games.
“We’re getting shots, we’re getting opportunities. We really have to bear down in front of the net. We’ve got to do a better job of finding those pucks especially at our feet off of rebounds. It seems the puck is bouncing around sometimes and we can’t quite get a handle on it. But as long as you’re getting shots and you’re getting opportunities, hopefully they'll eventually fall in for you,” Sacco said.
Lake Erie fell to 11-13-1-5, while the Marlies improved to 15-13-0-3.
The Monsters return to action on Saturday night in Grand Rapids, where they will face another North Division foe, the Griffins, at Van Andel Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
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