Monsters Lose to Crunch for First Time

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It took three games, but the Syracuse Crunch finally beat the Lake Erie Monsters this season, getting past Lake Erie at Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday night by a 3-1 final. Lake Erie is now 2-1 on the season against the Crunch, including a thrilling 3-2 overtime win at home Saturday night.

Crunch left wing Kevin Harvey started the scoring on Tuesday at the 7:51 mark of the first period. As Crunch center Trevor Frischmon drove wide into the Monsters zone, Harvey snuck in behind the play. With the puck on his back hand, Frischmon let go of a shot that Monsters goaltender Jason Bacashihua got a piece of. After hitting Bacashihua, it fell right to the trailing Harvey, who put home his third goal of the year. Mike York was credited with the second assist on the goal.

While the rest of the first period would remain scoreless, Syracuse wouldn’t wait long once the second frame began, as the Crunch scored a mere 31 seconds in. Breaking in from the blue line, Crunch forward Tom Sestito fired a shot from the high slot that hit the stick of a Monsters player, then deflected off the glove of Bacashihua and into the net, making it 2-0.

Before the second period would end, the Crunch would extend their lead by three when center Derek MacKenzie registered his eighth goal of the season at the 14:37 mark. Left wing John Vigilante’s shot from along the goal line deflected off Bacashihua, hit MacKenize in the mid section and fell to the ice, laying mere inches from the goal line, and waiting for the Crunch forward to push it into the net.

It would take another period of play before the score would change again. Lake Erie forward Chris Mueller would foil LaCosta’s bid to earn the shutout, beating the Syracuse goalie shorthanded at the 15:44 mark of the third. Stealing the puck at the blue line, Mueller attempted to get the puck to teammate Chris Durno, only to have the puck bounce off the skate of a Crunch defender and back to his stick. Determined, Mueller flew down the right side, ripping a wrist shot past the glove of Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta.

LaCosta made 24 saves on 25 shots in the game, while Bacashihua turned away 25 of Syracuse’s 28 shots. After the game, Lake Erie head coach Joe Sacco knew his team didn’t give their best effort, but also acknowledged the performance of the visiting Crunch.

“I think Syracuse deserves a lot of credit,” said Sacco. “They played a good game and they did a good job of eliminating our chances and we just really couldn’t generate much offense tonight. Syracuse played a good game tonight, and they deserve credit.”

Added Mueller, “They were more ready to play than we were from the drop of the puck. They took it to us early in the game and that was the difference.”

The Monsters return to the ice on Friday, when they travel to Ontario to play the Hamilton Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. Both teams will travel back to Cleveland to complete a home-and-home, meeting at 7:30 p.m. at The Q Saturday night. Lake Erie finishes three games in three days, hosting the Philadelphia Phantoms at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Sights and Sounds
Chris Mueller Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

"We just have to get back on track and put a string together. It’s only January but time is running down for us to get in to the playoff hunt. We have to put a string of games together, play the right way and win hockey games.” - Right Wing Chris Mueller


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