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2nd Straight Shutout for Bacashihua and LEMTweet
For the second consecutive game, goalie Jason Bacashihua blanked the opposition. The Monsters netminder added to his franchise record by winning his last five starts. He has yielded just five goals in those games. “The guys are playing great, and tonight was a great game,” said Bacashihua. “It’s playoff-type hockey and we have 19 games to go. We just have to keep battling and see what happens.”
The win also keeps the Monsters in the ultra-tight race for a place in the Calder Cup Playoffs as the team sits just seven points out of a playoff spot.
The first two periods would remain scoreless thanks to superb play from Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua and Marlies netminder Justin Pogge. Through the first 40 minutes of regulation time, Bacashihua had turned away 22 shots while Pogge denied all 18 of Lake Erie’s chances.
Heading into the third period with two goose eggs on the scoreboard, Matt Hendricks broke the tie with his seventh goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play at the 10:22 mark. Receiving a pass from between the hash marks from Phil Dupuis, center T.J. Hensick ripped a wrist shot that hit Pogge and dribbled behind the Marlies netminder. Laying on the ice to Pogge’s left and just inches from the goal line, Hendricks poked it home, putting the Monsters up by one.
With the goal, Hendricks has recorded seven points (3G, 4A) in his past seven games, while Dupuis has put up points in the past three consecutive games, and has registered seven points (3G, 4A) in those three contests. Friday’s was Hensick’s first game back with Lake Erie after being returned from parent club Colorado.
Although Hensick hasn’t played with the Monsters since November 1st, also against Toronto, the center has put up points in eight straight games with Lake Erie, recording 11 points (5G, 6A) in those games. This season with the Monsters, Hensick has recorded 15 points (6G, 9A) in 11 games. Friday night also marked the fourth multi-point game of the season for Hensick.
But Hensick wasn’t done setting his teammates up. Less than four minutes later, the University of Michigan alum would pick up the primary assist on Mark McCutcheon’s fifth goal of the season. With the puck at the top of the circle, Hensick backhanded a pass to McCutcheon, who stood idle at the top of the slot. Receiving the pass, McCutcheon wired a one-timer through the legs of Pogge to put the Monsters up by two and seal the victory. Aaron MacKenzie picked up the second assist on the goal. With the goal, McCutcheon has put up five points (2G, 3A) in the past four games. “I’m happy for the players since they worked so hard tonight,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “I told the guys to enjoy the win but to get ready since we’re back at it tomorrow night against a very good hockey team.”
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