Special Teams Bring Home a Win

The Lake Erie Monsters posted a 3-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night in front of 11,013 raucous fans. The Monsters got revenge after falling to the Griffins on Friday night at home by the score of 4-1.

Lake Erie came out fast to take an early 1-0 lead when Jamie Lundmark tipped a shot from defenseman Johnny Boychuk just 1:48 into the game. Lundmark’s power play tally was also assisted by defenseman Mike Vernace.

“Coming out quick was a part of our game plan. We wanted to get a quick start and did. We came out with more energy and we were more assertive,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.

The score remained deadlocked at 1-0 following the Monsters first goal until midway through the second period.

The Griffins answered the Monsters tally with a goal by defenseman Evan McGrath on a loose rebound to the right of goaltender Mike Wall. Mattias Ritola and Mark Hartigan were credited with the assists on McGrath’s marker at the 11:41 mark of the second period.

Lake Erie fired back before the second period ended as Eric Healey found a rebound on the doorstep and wristed it into the net for a power play goal. The assists on Healey’s 10th marker of the season were credited to Vernace and Lundmark at 18:35 (2nd). Vernace’s two assists mark his 19th and 20th of the season, which leads the team. Vernace also had a pair of helpers in Friday’s contest.

Grand Rapids began the third period with a quick tally when center Mark Cullen posted his 13th goal of the season on a pass from Darren Helm only :27 seconds into the third set.

The Monsters looked to take the game over as they pushed the pace in the middle of the third. Their efforts were rewarded as center Wyatt Smith cashed in a short handed tally off a Mark McCutcheon pass with 14:52 remaining in the game.

Monsters netminder Wall turned away 40 of 42 shots on the night, 21 of which came in the first period. Grand Rapids goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 29 of 32 shots on the night.

“Part of my job, in being a goaltender, is to bring intensity each night. The more pucks that I see, the easier it is to get in the groove. I was able to stay focused the entire game,” said Wall.

Lake Erie returns to action on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14th, as the Hershey Bears come to town at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised live on FSN Ohio.

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Three Stars
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Eric Healey (LEM)
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Mike Wall (LEM)
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Jamie Lundmark (LEM)
Quote, Unquote

“Last night we allowed four special team goals. We were challenged in the first period with a few penalties, and the guys responded well. Many of the shots came from outside and I was seeing the puck well.” - Monsters goaltender Mike Wall

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