Grand Rapids Griffins (1) at Cleveland Monsters (4)
Sonny Milano put the Monsters on the board with a little under five minutes to play in the first period. In typical Milano fashion, after forcing a turnover, he backhanded a shot top shelf.
Martin Frk tied the game up for the Griffins seven minutes into the second. He fired a wicked shot from the point which could not be stopped.
Twenty-five seconds later, Joe Pendenza scooped up Dillon Heatherington's rebound and slammed it home for the 2-1 lead.
The puck got spit up the neutral zone. Heatherington got it. He skated in the zone. We knew one of the keys was to get pucks on net. So, I put my head down, went to the net, and got a rebound. - Joe Pendenza
The Monsters extended their lead eight and a half minutes into the third. Newcomer, Zac Dalpe fired off a shot from the right circle which Ryan Craig deflected into the net.
Three minutes later, Pendenza would score his second goal of the night on a breakaway through the five hole.
When I first got the puck I was more worried that the puck kept bouncing. It wasn't the greatest ice at that point. I went down, saw a little spot, and put it in. - Joe Pendenza
But Wait! There's More
- After a rough start to the season and an injury, Sonny Milano is finally back to his true form. Not only did he score the first goal on a turnover, Milano had multiple breakaways and powered through traffic to break up plays.
- When Zac Dalpe took the opening faceoff, I wasn't quite sure what Coach Madden was doing. By the middle of the first period, I knew Coach Madden had made the right decision. Dalpe crashed the net and constantly planted himself in front of the crease. He forced turnovers, created plays, and won multiple faceoffs. When Dalpe was claimed off of waivers, I wasn't quite sure where he would fit into the Monsters. Now I know, he is everything the Monsters want and need in a player.
What a welcome addition he is. If he keeps playing like that, I don't know if we'll see him around much longer. - John Madden
- Game after game this season, Joe Pendenza has continued to become a presence on the ice. He never quits and he takes every chance given to him seriously.
His hockey IQ is off the charts. He's got great speed, he's hard on pucks, and he competes every night. - John Madden
- The Griffins have the number one power play in the league. This fact didn't scare the Monsters one bit. Quite frankly, this was the tightest the Monsters' power play has been all season. It didn't matter if the Griffins were in their zone or our zone, the Monsters were not going to let them score. To top it all off, the Monsters scored their final goal of the night on the penalty kill. The number one power play in the league didn't stand a chance tonight.
1st - Joe Pendenza
2nd – Anton Forsberg
3rd – Sonny Milano
Dean Kukan scored his 25th AHL assist on Joe Pendenza's second goal of the night.
The Monsters have a few days off before they head out on a five-game road trip. When I say “days off”, I really mean “game days off”. There will be a few practices before Saturday to help the Monsters keep the positive momentum going. The guys know what is at stake for here on out.
We are going to have two hard practices that’s for sure. Coach will run us through a good practice the next few days too. It's just a mindset knowing that we have to keep this going. It's a playoff push for us so we can't have any set back for us right now. - Joe Pendenza
Their first stop on the road trip is Chicago against the Wolves on Saturday, March 4th.