Third-Period Woes Lead to Loss

Photos courtesy of Mark Newman
Playing their first game in a week, the Lake Erie Monsters game in Grand Rapids on Sunday was tied at one goal apiece until six minutes through the third period. The two teams then combined for six goals over the next 13 minutes, resulting in a 5-3 Griffins win. The four Grand Rapids goals in the third tied a season high for a Lake Erie opponent.

The Lake Erie loss came despite the Monsters outshooting the Griffins 34-16 in the game. The Monsters have now lost four straight and eight of their last nine. The team is 13-14-3-4 (33 points) overall this season and have fallen to seventh place in the North Division.

Lake Erie's defense held Grand Rapids to only three shots in the first period, but the Griffins were able to capitalize on one of them. Travis Ehrhardt put the Griffins on the scoreboard at 13:24 with a power play tally. Ilari Filppula and Francis Pare assisted.

The Monsters converted one of their nine first-period shots just a minute-and-a-half later to tie the game. Mark Olver scored his team-leading (tied) 10th goal of the season at the 14:54 mark, assisted by Matt Ford and Patrick Rissmiller. Olver's goal broke an eight-game pointless streak for the rookie.

The first period would end with the 1-1 tie, which would last until well into the third.

Lake Erie again outshot the Griffins in the middle frame, 11-7, however neither team was able to find the back of the net. The score remained knotted at one goal apiece after 40 minutes.

For the third straight period, the Monsters would outshoot the Griffins, posting 14 shots in the third period compared to six from Grand Rapids. Unfortunately for Lake Erie, that would not be enough.

Tomas Tatar finally changed the score at 6:18 of the third, assisted by Ehrhardt.

Three minutes later, Logan Pyett gave Grand Rapids a two-goal lead with his power play marker at the 9:18 point. Jan Mursak and Tatar were given the assists.

The Monsters answered a minute later when David van der Gulik scored his second of the season at 10:38, cutting the Grand Rapids lead to 3-2. Ben Walter and Julien Brouillette assisted. For van der Gulik, it was his first point with Lake Erie since returning to the Monsters from Colorado on December 14th. Playing his fourth game with Lake Erie, Brouillette's assist was his first point with the Monsters.

It would take only 21 seconds for the Griffins to re-establish their two-goal lead. Joakim Andersson scored at 10:59 off assists from Jordan Owens and Mursak.

The score would remain 4-2 for seven more minutes until Filppula notched an empty-net marker at 18:19. Brendan Smith and Owens were credited with the assists on Grand Rapids' fifth goal.

Lake Erie finalized the 5-3 scoresheet when Ryan Stoa scored his team-leading (tied) 10th goal with 35 seconds remaining. Rissmiller picked up his second assist of the night, while Talbot also earned the assist. It was the third multi-point game of the season for Rissmiller.

Monsters netminder John Grahame recorded 11 saves on 15 shots in the loss. Joey MacDonald posted 31 saves on 34 shots for the Griffins.

The Monsters will return home on Wednesday to host the Rochester Americans at 7:00 p.m.

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