The Monsters eight-game point streak came to a halt tonight thanks to their division foe, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Right off the bat, the Monsters headed to the power play thanks to an interference call on Robbie Russo. Their power play looked a bit shaky and ended with the Monsters heading to the penalty kill. Twenty seconds into the Monsters' penalty kill, Matt Lorito fired a shot off of the backboard that Tomas Nosek popped into the net before Joonas Korpisalo could grab the puck.
A few minutes later, Daniel Zaar fired a rocket of a shot through traffic but Pasquale kicks it out of play. The net is knocked off of the posts before anyone could scoop up the rebound. Mere moments later, Mitch Callahan would trip Alex Broadhurst giving the Monsters their second power play of the night.
The Monsters played as a more cohesive unit that attacked the net and rebounded often during this power play. Everything came together for the Monsters in the final 50 second of the power play. Marc-Andre Bergeron fired through traffic towards Pasquale who knocked the puck away. Ryan Craig swooped in and took a few jabs at it up front before Milano tried to poke the puck in from the side. The puck didn't go in and was cleared away from the nets by the Griffins. Seconds later, Markus Hannikainen rushed up the ice and sauced the puck to Milano who was sitting on Pasquale's doorstep. Without hesitation, Milano slammed the puck into the net past Pasquale tying the game.
With a little over three to play in the first, Nosek tried to extend the lead but was stuffed by Korpisalo. The first period ended with the Griffins and Monsters tied at one.
During the first half of the second period, players from both sides would put Korpisalo and Pasquale to work. However, a goal wouldn't manifest until the 10:45 mark of the second period when the Monsters had 14 seconds left in their power play.
Broadhurst passed to Kukan at the point. Kukan passes the puck back to Broadhurst who fired it in to give the Monsters the 2-1 lead over the Griffins.
Mitch Callahan would tie things up with 3:25 left in the second off of his own rebound.
The Griffins came out strong in the third period firing three shots on their first shift. After a few minutes of docile play from the Monsters, things began to heat up.
With 11:01 left in the game, Korpisalo blocked a puck but it popped over his head into the crease. Stanton spots the puck and pounces on it moving it away from Korpisalo. A few minutes later, Korpisalo put on a show as he scuttled across the crease to deny Callahan a chance at another goal.
Tangradi and Stanton even got in on the fun when they traded pushes and aggressive words with 8:04 to play. No penalties were called but children sitting on the glass learned a few new words.
In the final five minutes of the game, Bergeron was called for holding after he was caught tugging Lorito's jersey. Shortly into the penalty, Moutrey almost scored on Pasquale. Maletta tried to rebound the puck but couldn't get to it before one of the Griffins took off with it. Seconds later, the puck would bounce off of Heatherington's stick and fall behind Korpisalo into the net. Ben Street would be credited with the goal.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Korpisalo darted for the bench giving the Monsters a man advantage. The extra traffic around the net gave Milano a chance to duck around back and try to score. Pasquale stopped Milano's shot and the Monsters descended upon the puck. Time would run out before the Monsters could convert any of their shots into a goal.
The Monsters will have their shot at revenge on Thursday, December 30th at 7pm in Cleveland.
*** Alex Broadhurst
** Mitch Callahan
* Ben Street