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Monsters Come From Behind to Win in ShootoutTweet
The story of the game would be Monsters rookie center Cedric McNicoll, who recorded his first points as a professional, with a goal and an assist, as well as notching Lake Erie’s third and final shootout goal.
“Cedric’s a crafty, smart player,” said Monsters head coach David Quinn. “He’s been hurt from the get go and he’s just starting to get his legs back. He gives us a dimension on offense and does a great job on the power play.”
Before the fireworks went off in front of 7,000-plus at The Q Friday night, the Monsters found themselves in an early hole, falling behind two goals in the first six minutes of the game.
At the 1:43 mark of the first, Rivermen forward Nicholas Drazenovic recorded his third goal of the season on the power play, banging home a rebound between the wickets of Monsters goalie Trevor Cann from right in front of the net. Derek Armstrong and Brendan Bell picked up assists on the goal.
Less than five minutes later, Lars Eller would put the Rivermen up by two with his third tally of the season. When Bell’s shot missed the net wide, Drazenovic collected the puck and dished it from behind the net to the slot to Eller, who had an open net to bury the one-timer.
Before the first frame would end, Matt Ford, who signed a professional tryout contract Friday with Lake Erie and got to The Q mere hours before the game, notched his first of the season at the 16:43 mark. After Marc Cavosie dropped the puck to Ford, the former Wisconsin Badger threw the puck to the net that Peoria netminder Ben Bishop watched flutter over his glove. Ray Macias picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
Five minutes into the second period, Monsters captain Darren Haydar would extend his point streak to six games with his fourth goal of the season, coming on the power play. Taking a feed from the point from Derek Peltier, Haydar patiently cradled the puck at the top of the circle before unleashing a slapshot that squeezed between the arm and rib cage of Bishop to tie the game.
Continuing the trend of power play scores, McNicoll notched his first as a pro on a highlight-reel type score at the 11:49 mark of the second. Coming in on a one-on-two, McNicoll toe-dragged the puck between both Peoria defensemen, breaking himself free. In on Bishop, McNicolll snapped a wrist shot short side, giving the Monsters their first lead of the game, 3-2. McNicoll’s score was unassisted.
Like McNicoll, rookie Brock Bradford would also pick up his first goal as a pro on the power play, netting his score only 20 seconds after McNicoll tickled the twine. Taking a cross-ice feed from McNicoll at the left hash marks, Bradford moved in and wired a wrist shot under the cross bar, short side past Bishop to give the Monsters a two-goal lead.
But the Rivermen would cut the Monsters lead in half before the second frame would end, when defenseman Jonas Junland recorded his sixth goal of the season at the 18:03 mark of the second. Holding the puck at the point sans pressure, Junland walked in between the circles, firing a wrist shot short side on Cann. Drazenovic and Eller picked up helpers on the goal.
Going into the third down by one, the Rivermen would tie the game on a goal that came with a little more than two minutes remaining in regulation. In Cann’s crease, the puck would deflect off of Armstrong after he bumped the Monsters goalie into his own net. Drazenovic and Eller picked up assists on the goal.
After the five-minute sudden death overtime session yielded the same result – a 4-4 tie – the Monsters went into their first shootout of the season.
Shooting first, Haydar flipped a wrist shot off the glove of Bishop and into the net. After Haydar, Cann denied Peoria’s Aaron Palushaj. Next for the Monsters was Bradford, who walked down the left-hand side and wired a wrist shot into the top corner past Bishop. The next Rivermen shooter, Julian Talbot, fired a wrister past Cann to make it 2-1.
Wanting to follow up his rookie teammate’s shootout score, Lake Erie’s third shooter, McNicoll, would put in the Monsters third shootout goal in as many tries. Dipping his shoulder and pulling Bishop from his crease with the fake, McNicoll pushed the puck into the net on the forehand.
After McNicoll’s score, Cann would deny Peoria’s Eller and Bishop would turn away Monsters alternate captain Marty Sertich before Cann stoned Drazenovic, giving Lake Erie a 3-1 edge in the shootout and a 5-4 win on the scoreboard.
“I thought we handled adversity well tonight, down 2-0, and had a really good second period and did a good job in the third,” said Quinn.
The Monsters turn around and play the Rivermen in only a matter of hours after the conclusion of Friday’s game, hosting their West Division foes at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at The Q. Tickets can be purchased by calling (216) 420-2000 or visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or by visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.
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