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Monsters Crunch Syracuse in ShutoutTweet
Goaltender Jason Bacashihua came up huge for the Monsters, making 19 saves and picking up his first shutout of the season. With the win, Bacashihua has also set a Lake Erie franchise record, as he has posted a “W” in his past four consecutive starts. As a team, Lake Erie won its third straight for the first time this season, which also ties the franchise high for most consecutive wins.
The Monsters also combined with the Crunch to post 128 penalty minutes in the chippy affair, a season-high, with the Crunch posting 84 PIMs, the most time a Lake Erie opponent has spent in the box this season. “It was a good effort from everybody. We got contributions from up and down the lineup tonight,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “It was a good win against a good team.”
The scoring started for the Monsters early on, as forward Matt Hendricks notched his sixth of the season on a 5-on-3 power play at the 1:55 mark of the first period. Playing catch with defenseman Darcy Campbell, who was at the top of the point, Hendricks one-timed a feed from Campbell from the right faceoff circle and past the glove of Crunch goalie Dan LaCosta.
The Crunch came closing to tying the game on two occasions, but Monsters goalie Bacashihua shut the door. With Bacashihua holding down the fort with 10 saves in the first period, the Monsters would push the pace and go up by two at the 18:29 mark of the first on Codey Burki’s seventh goal of the season. Standing on the boards with two men draped on him, captain Chris Durno flipped a pass to a streaking Mark McCutcheon. Flying down the slot in prime shooting position, McCutcheon instead decided to pass off to Burki, who angled the pass in from the left side of the net over the pad of LaCosta.
Up by two headed into regulation’s middle frame, the second period would go scoreless until the 18:28 mark, when McCutcheon would put up his second point of the game with his fourth goal of the season. As forward Per Ledin came into the zone, he dished a pass off to Chris Mueller. Pulling up above the faceoff circle waiting for options, Mueller pushed a cross-ice pass to McCutcheon, who pasted the puck to the top of the net over an outstretched LaCosta. Picking up the goal and the assist on Wednesday, McCutcheon also notched his third multi-point game of the season.
Leading by three heading into the final frame, things would only get worse for the Crunch, as the Monsters dumped some salt in the wound. The Monsters would put up three more goals in the third, with former Syracuse Crunch-turned-Monster Phil Dupuis netting two of the goals and assisting on the other. The three points would mark the second consecutive game the French-Canadian forward has accomplished that feat and also marked his eighth multi-point game of the season.
At the 4:26 mark of the third, Dupuis scored a goal sure to be seen on the highlight reel. Picking up the puck at center ice, Dupuis spilt two Crunch defensemen, and was in all alone on LaCosta. Deking to the forehand, Dupuis settled down a bouncing puck and put it between the post and the outstretched pad of LaCosta. Hendricks and Nigel Williams picked up the assists. With the pair of assists, Hendricks tallied his fourth multi-point game of the year and has put up six points (2G, 4A) in the past six games.
Less than five minutes later, Dupuis would get back on the scoreboard, only this time it would be in the form of an assist. Breaking in on a two-on-one with forward Mike Bartlett, Dupuis came into the zone with the puck closing in on the net. Just when LaCosta was convinced he would shoot, Dupuis slid the puck to Bartlett, who one-timed it past the helpless Syracuse netminder, putting the Monsters up, 5-0.
To cap off the scoring, Dupuis would put in the sixth goal of the night at the 14:06 mark of the third while Lake Erie was down a man. Streaking down the right side of the Syracuse zone, Dupuis had the puck in tight on his forehand, only to turn it over on the backhand and flip it past LaCosta for the sixth and final tally of the game.
After Wednesday’s win, the Monsters will stay at home, playing three games in just as many days this weekend. Lake Erie hosts Toronto on Friday, the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday and the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday. “Tonight was the most important game of the year, and Friday is the next most important game,” said Sacco. “All of our games are against divisional opponents and we don’t want to overlook anything. The whole weekend is huge.”
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