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Stewart's 3 Leads to 2 Straight for MonstersTweet
Facing the top team in their division and arguably one of the toughest teams in the AHL, the Monsters defended their home ice by handing the Marlies their first regulation loss of the season, 5-3.
Chris Stewart picked a great time to score his first goal for the Monsters, let alone a hat trick and an assist to boot. As a team, the Monsters scored the most goals in a game this season (5), scored the most goals in a period (3), and Stewart recorded the most points for a Monsters player in a game (4).
Stewart’s scoring onslaught began with a sweet deke on Toronto goalie Justin Pogge. Stewart made Pogge pay for moving to his left following a tight pass by Matt Hussey at the 6:17 mark of the first.
Toronto evened up the score at 1-1 with a power play goal by defender Jay Harrison, his third of the season.
The second period began with a bang as the Monsters skated hard and scored at will. Ray Macias notched his first as a Monster at the 5:29 mark.
To follow up Macias’ tally, Stewart scored his second of the night at the 13:19 mark to put the Monsters ahead, 3-1. Again, Stewart’s goal was assisted by Hussey, his fourth helper of the season.
A power play marker was just what the doctor ordered for T.J. Hensick, as right wing David Jones made a pass through the slot to Hensick, who was calling for the pass on the right doorstep. Hensick’s goal was his fourth of the year and it put him in double digit scoring with his 10th point of the season.
The Marlies answered with a power play goal of their own by left wing Robbie Earl at the 7:56 mark.
To cap off an already impressive scoring display, Stewart stunned the fans by scoring his third goal with less than 10 minutes remaining, recording a hat trick.
“Chris has a lot of talent, he’s a young player. It has been a big adjustment for him in the AHL. He makes a lot of plays and has a lot of skill. He’s learning everything as a first year guy. There’s a lot of upside for him and the potential for him is very promising,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.
For Stewart, the hat trick meant more than just a scoring outburst, it meant that he has arrived.
“It was a huge monkey off my back, I just tried to play my role on the team. I was able to use my hockey sense to get some goals, and achieve the hat trick,” said Stewart.
With the clock winding down, and their hopes fading, Toronto’s Alex Foster scored his fourth goal of the season at the 19:52 mark to cut the deficit to two goals, 5-3. Foster’s efforts were not enough to thwart Lake Erie’s monster effort to put a “W” on the board.
On the night, Goaltender Jason Bacashihua finished with 35 saves on 38 shots. His fellow netminder Justin Pogge stopped 22 of the 27 shots that he faced.
The Monsters face division foe Manitoba for the first time this season on Sunday at The Q. The puck drops at 5:00 p.m.
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