Three in the Second Nets Win

In their first game of a three-game homestand this week, the Lake Erie Monsters held off the Rochester Americans, 3-2, Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena to improve to 23-23-0-4. The Americans drop to 29-18-2-0 with the loss. After surrendering the first two goals of the game, the Monsters would score three unanswered goals in the second period en route to the victory. With the win, the Monsters move into fourth place in the North Division, a position that represents the final playoff spot up for grabs in the division.

Monsters center Phil Dupuis added to his lofty totals against the Americans this season with his sixth multi-point game of the year (1G, 1A) on Wednesday. The native of Laval, Quebec, has recorded eight points (7G, 1A) in five games this season against Rochester.

Jimmy Bonneau started the scoring for the Americans, notching his second of the season eight minutes into the first. Chipping the puck up the boards to Kenndal McArdle, Bonneau followed the puck, received a drop pass from McArdle in the middle of the left circle, and fired a low wrist shot past Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman. Jamie Johnson picked up the second assist on the goal.

With three minutes left in the first, the Americans would push their lead to two on David Brine’s 10th of the season. After Rory Fitzpatrick’s shot caught Weiman in the chest and popped up in the air, Brine circled behind the net and batted the puck out of midair on his backhand past Weiman. Viktor Oreskovich registered the secondary assist on the Brine score.

Headed into the middle frame down two, the Monsters would waste no time in their comeback effort. Less than two minutes into the second, Darren Haydar picked up his 17th of the season, cutting the Americans lead in half. When a Rochester defender attempted to leave the zone with the puck, Tom Zanoski caused a turnover that fumbled into the slot. Standing 10 feet from the net, Haydar swept the puck in from the top of the Rochester crease and through goalie Alexander Salak’s fivehole, putting the Monsters on the board. Dupuis notched the second assist on Haydar’s tally.

Two-and-a-half minutes later, captain Brian Willsie tied the game for the Monsters, netting his 14th of the season on a 5-on-3 power play. After defenseman Derek Peltier’s point shot bounced off Salak, Matt Ford attempted to put the rebound back on net. Instead of getting a shot off, Ford whiffed and the puck rolled in the slot to Willsie, who buried it into the open cage.

Keeping the offensive machine firing, Dupuis would give the Monsters a 3-2 lead just 45 seconds after Willsie’s tally, adding another power play goal on the board for Lake Erie. On the half wall, defenseman Brett Skinner set up Brian Fahey for a one-timer from the top of the point. Sending a laser toward the Rochester net, Salak kicked out Fahey’s drive right to Dupuis, who, from Salak’s right, buried the puck over the sprawled out goaltender.

After Lake Erie’s third goal, the Rochester and Lake Erie goaltending would bend, but not break, and the teams would head into the third with the Monsters still up by one.

Hanging on to a one-goal lead with 20 minutes left in regulation, Weiman turned away 13 shots in the third period on the way to preserving the win. By game’s end, Weiman made 36 saves on 38 shots while Salak stopped 34 of 37 in the loss.

“We’re fighting for the final playoff spot and we moved past Abbotsford tonight, but there’s still a lot of hockey to be played,” said Weiman. “We feel that it’s in our hands and all we can do is go out and work each and every time and address what we did in this game and try to get better for the next.”

The Monsters return to the ice Friday when they take on the Rockford IceHogs at Quicken Loans Arena at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (216) 420-0000, by or by visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

Sights and Sounds
Head Coach David Quinn Interview
Tyler Weiman Postgame Interview

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