Goal Outburst Lifts Monsters Against Penguins

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Coming off back-to-back one goal losses at home, the Lake Erie Monsters were searching for the franchise’s first victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sunday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena. They got it by scoring four unanswered goals in the second period on the way to a 4-2 win over the Penguins.

Before the Monsters would go on their second period scoring tear, Pens forward Jeff Taffe scored just 29 seconds into the game, putting the puck past the glove of Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman.

Like its start, the first period wouldn’t end well for the Monsters. Chris Minard scored his league-leading 16th goal with less than three minutes left in the first frame. From below the goal line, Pens forward Janne Pesonen threw a behind-the-back pass in front of the net, right to the stick of Minard, who put the puck over the shoulder of Weiman to give the Pens a 2-0 lead.

But the second period would be the polar opposite of the first as the Monsters tied a season-high four goals in a 20-minute span. The scoring started just over four minutes in, when Phil Dupuis raced down the right side of Pens goalie Adam Berkhoel, banking the puck off his right arm, fitting the disc just inside the goaltender’s post. Nathan Smith and Aaron MacKenzie were credited with the assists on the goal.

Rob Drummond would keep the team on their offensive pace, registering his second goal of the year two minutes after Dupuis got on the board. A Darcy Campbell point shot went wide and careened to the side of the net to Chris Mueller, who fed the puck to a wide open Drummond in front of the net. Drummond wired the puck past the low blocker of Berkhoel, tying the game less than seven minutes into the second frame.

It would take almost nine minutes, but the Monsters would take their first lead of the night on MacKenzie’s third tally of the year. After a Chris Durno shot was blocked by a Penguins defenseman in front, the puck came right to MacKenzie’s stick. Above the hash marks to the left of Berkhoel, MacKenzie unloaded a bullet past the blocker of the Pens goalie. Chris Stewart earned the second assist on the goal.

Before the Monsters ended the middle frame, they would pad their lead thanks to Chris Durno, who broke out of his six-game goalless streak. Patiently holding onto the puck behind the net on the man advantage, Marty Sertich threaded the puck through a slew of sticks and skates to an idle Durno parked in front of the net. Durno took the pass and quickly wristed it past the outstretched right pad of Berkhoel, giving the Monsters a two-goal lead.

The third period would be 20 minutes for Weiman to shine. By the time the third was over, Weiman made 18 saves, the most by a Monsters goalie in a period so far this year. The netminder also helped the team kill a 31 second 5-on-3 power play early in the period. But the Pens would battle to the end, pulling Berkhoel in favor of a sixth attacker in the last 1:50 of the game. Both Weiman and the team shut down numerous scoring chances in that time span, giving the Monsters their first win at home since November 9th.

“Tyler has been a rock back there and nothing really seems to faze him,” said MacKenzie. “The first goal could have got him off his game, but he put it behind him and kept playing hard. He is a battler and he did a good job for us tonight.”

The Monsters will travel to Rochester, New York, on Friday, to play the Americans. The team will return to The Q on Saturday, November 29th at 7:30 p.m. to play host to the Toronto Marlies.

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"It gives us some momentum on our next few games and we're just looking at one game at a time and we are just going to put our hard hats on and go to work every night and now just get ready for Rochester.” - defenseman Aaron MacKenzie


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