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Saturday Night Shootout Victory Over GriffinsTweet
Goalie Jason Bacashihua also kept up his winning ways, as the Monsters netminder added to his own franchise record, winning his sixth game in a row.
The scoring started out at the 14-minute mark of the first, when Matt Hendricks registered his eighth goal of the season on the power play. Taking a pass from below the faceoff circle, Chris Durno one-timed a feed from Phil Dupuis. Instead of getting through to the net, Durno’s shot deflected off a Griffins stick and fluttered five feet in front of Griffins goalie Daniel Larsson. With his back turned to the puck, Hendricks did a 360, turning around and pushing the puck in between the right pad of Larsson and the post to put the Monsters up, 1-0.
With the goal, Hendricks has posted eight points (4G, 4A) in the past eight games, including picking up a goal in the past three straight. Assisting on the goal, Dupuis has put up a point in four straight games, and has tallied eight points (3G, 5A) in that time.
The next goal would have to wait until the second frame, but it would be from the stick of the resurgent T.J. Hensick, who has put up three points (1G, 2A) since returning to Lake Erie on Friday on a conditioning stint from the Colorado Avalanche. Hensick has registered a point in nine straight AHL games, and has recorded 16 points (6G, 10A) in 12 games with Lake Erie this season.
Receiving a pass from Durno, defenseman Derek Peltier fired a shot that missed wide. Standing on the goal line, Hensick pulled the puck from his backhand to his forehand from behind the goal and put it up and over the outstretched pad of Larsson to give the Monsters a two-goal lead. The pair of assists gave Durno his seventh multi-point game of the season.
Grand Rapids wasn’t prepared to pack it in, despite being down by two with 20 minutes left in regulation. At the 11:10 mark of the third, forward Cory Emmerton registered his seventh goal of the season. Streaking down the slot, Emmerton took a pass from below the goal line and fired the puck short side past the glove of Bacashihua. Darren McCarty and Evan McGrath picked up the assists on the goal.
Just more than three minutes later, the Griffins would even the score, when Francis Pare recorded his 18th goal of the season. With the puck in the corner, Aaron Gagnon centered a pass to Pare, who was tangled with a Monsters defenseman. Breaking free, Pare turned around and tapped home Gagnon’s pass past the glove of a sprawled out Bacashihua. After the goal, the last five minutes of regulation would go scoreless, sending the game into an overtime frame.
When the five-minute overtime yielded no difference in score, the Monsters and Griffins would take it to the shootout. Shooting first, Dupuis was turned away by Larsson, while Haydar faked a shot and buried the puck between the legs of Bacashihua to put the Griffins up, 1-0, in the shootout.
The second round of shooters would keep the score 1-0 in Grand Rapids’ favor, as Hensick and McCarty were turned away. In the third round, Hendricks would begin the rally for the Monsters. Coming in on Larsson, Hendricks faked a shot and deked forehand, roofing the puck over the blocker of Larsson and tying the shootout.
T.J. Galiardi and Gagnon would miss in the fourth round for both of their teams and push the shootout to the fifth shooters: Durno and Garrett Stafford. Shooting first, Durno swung in wide right, taking Larsson off his angle, before firing it low blocker side. Now, all that stood between the Monsters and the win was defenseman Garrett Stafford. Coming straight in on Bacashihua, Stafford fired the puck for the top corner. Bacashihua got a piece of the shot, and the crowd of more than 8,800 watched it ring off the post and careen wide, as the Monsters mobbed their goalie in jubilation.
“You have to give our guys a lot of credit,” said Bacashihua. “Everyone in that locker room is playing great hockey and they know how important these points are. We know every game from now to the end of the season is a playoff game.”
The Monsters end their weekend on Sunday when the Hamilton Bulldogs come to The Q for a 5:00 p.m. tilt.
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