Cleveland Monsters (2) at Grand Rapids Griffins (5)
The Monsters started things off on a positive note scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of play.
Alex Broadhurst banged one in off of the post 22 seconds into the game.
Around nine minutes later, Carter Camper chopped up Miles Koules' rebound and chipped it over Jared Coreau's shoulder.
With six minutes left in the first period, Dylan McIlrath fired a shot from near the blueline to put the Griffins on the board.
McIlrath's goal didn't take the wind out of the Monsters' sails. After the first period, they headed to the locker room with heads held high and a pep in their step.
Once the second period started, the Monsters were determined to keep the lead. Unfortunately, the Griffins had other plans for this game. Over the course of 52 seconds, they scored three goals. Not one, not two, but three.
Two minutes and 13 seconds into the second period, Matis Kivlenieks made a beautiful stick save on Eric Tangradi. Matt Puempel was able to pick up the rebound and fire it into the net to tie the game at two.
The Griffins took the 3-2 lead 41 seconds later when Matthew Ford fired a wrister off the post from the faceoff circle.
After letting in two quick goals, Coach John Madden made the decision to replace Kivlenieks with Ivan Kulbakov.
Eleven seconds after the goalie change, the Griffins extended their lead to 4-2. Corey Elkins tossed the puck to Tangradi who tapped it into the net.
A little under two minutes into the third period, the Griffins would score their fifth and final goal of the night. Robbie Russo launched a shot towards the net which Tangradi tipped in past Kulbakov.
The Griffins ended the night on top of the Monsters scoring five unanswered goals.
But Wait! There's More
- The Monsters looked great in the first period. Their passing and penalty kill was on point. They came out strong and confident.
- In the second period, the Monsters began to play frantic hockey which led to botched passing, fumbled pucks, and turnovers. They have to learn to keep it together when momentum isn't in their favor.
- Justin Scott and Andre Benoit tried their hardest to create offense for the Monsters during the second period. They were also two of the calmer players on the ice.
1st – Eric Tangradi (2g, 1a)
2nd – Matt Puempel (1g, 1a)
3rd – Dylan McIlrath (1g, 0a)
If I gave out stars, Joe Pendenza would receive first star honors tonight. With a little over four minutes to play, Dominick Shine ran Ivan Kulbakov. Pendenza immediately went after Shine in defense of his goalie. Unfortunately, he was dropped by Shine within seconds of the fight starting and was assessed an instigator penalty.
Even though he picked the wrong guy to go toe-to-toe with, good on Pendenza for standing up for Kulbakov. You can't run the goalie and expect to get away with it.
Coach John Madden made a few changes to the leadership crew this week. Andre Benoit continued to wear the “A”. While Alex Broadhurst and Carter Camper were replaced by Zac Dalpe and Brett Gallant.
After the game, both teams began their travel towards Cleveland. They will play again on Saturday, December 30th at 7pm est.
The Monsters will be wearing “Captain America” jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game, in arena and online.
There are a lot of fun fan-friendly events going on throughout the night. Check out the Monsters' fan guide for more details. Here.