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Monsters Mash: You Can Almost Taste Playoffs

John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Two weeks ago, the playoffs seemed far out of reach for the Monsters. This week, destiny is in their hands. The playoffs are so close you can almost taste it.

They started the week with a big Tuesday win over the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves got on the board first but the Monsters fired back with four unanswered goals.

The two would meet not even 24 hours later and end up in a shootout. The Monsters would prevail thanks to Brad Thiessen stopping 45 of 46 shots and Zac Dalpe scoring both goals.

Next up for the Monsters was a must win series over the Iowa Wild.

Nick Moutrey and Anton Forsberg stood tall during the first meeting on Friday. Forsberg would stop a career high 51 shots while Moutrey scored two of the Monsters' five goals. The Wild only managed to find the back of the net once.

They met again in a Sunday matinee game. The Monsters would shutout the Wild, 4-0, thanks to Markus Hannikainen's three points.

After all was said and done, the Monsters ended the week on a five-game win streak.

Transactions

On March 22nd, the Monsters signed Scott Savage and Hayden Hodgson to ATO contracts. Savage just finished his collegiate career at Boston College where he notched 71 points over the course of 154 games. Hodgson had spent the past five seasons playing in the OHL for the Erie Otters, Sarnia Sting, and Saginaw Spirit.

After being out with injuries for over a month, Nick Moutrey and Justin Scott finally returned to the ice over the past few weeks.

To make room for all the players who were activated off of injured reserve the Monsters had to let go of the bulk of their PTOs. Throughout the week they released Kyle Thomas, Alex Petan, Akim Aliu, and Joe Devin.

Rankings

Record: 32-27-3-4, 71 points, .538 win percentage, 5th Central, 9th West

The Grand Rapids Griffins became the first Central division squad to clinch a 2017 playoff spot. What was once four is now three. Currently, ahead of the Monsters sit the Griffins, Wolves, Admirals, and Checkers.

The Monsters have one more point and the same win percentage as the Checkers. However, the Checkers sit above the Monsters because they have played one less game.

To hop into the fourth spot, the Monsters must beat the Checkers in regulation on Tuesday and Thursday.

Team Leaders

*note: Since Oliver Bjorkstrand can no longer be sent down to the Jackets his stats are not included in this post. While with the Monsters, he had 14 goals, 12 assists, and 26 points.

Point Scorers

  1. Sonny Milano, 36
  2. T.J. Tynan, 34
  3. Daniel Zaar, 27

Goal Scorers

  1. Sonny Milano, 16
  2. Markus Hannikainen, 15
  3. Justin Scott, Jordan Maletta, 11

Assists

  1. T.J. Tynan, 25
  2. Sonny Milano, 21
  3. Daniel Zaar, 19

Penalty Minutes

  1. Brett Gallant, 102
  2. Oleg Yevenko, 64
  3. John Ramage, 61

Weekly Stats

Shots For 123
Shots Against 156
Goals For 15
Goals Against 3
Penalties/Minutes 23/49 minutes
Penalty Kill 20 for 20
Power Play 3 for 13

Thiessen Forsberg
1 Games Played 3
1-0-0-0 Record 3-0-0-0
21 Shots Faced 110
20 Saves 108
65:00:00 Time On Ice 180:00:00

Around the AHL

Leaders

Point Scorers

  1. Kenny Agostino, 76
  2. Taylor Beck, 62
  3. Travis Boyd, 58

Goal Scorers

  1. Wade Megan, 29
  2. Pontus Aberg, 28
  3. Rocco Grimaldi, Byron Froese, 27

Assists

  1. Kenny Agostino, 55
  2. Taylor Beck, Travis Boyd, 44
  3. Andy Miele, Christian Djoos, Chris Mueller, 41

Penalty Minutes

  1. Mike Liambas, 143
  2. Tyler Lewington, 142
  3. Sena Acolatse, 141

Goaltenders

  1. Zane McIntyre – 1.99 GAA, 18 wins, 47 GA, .932 sav%
  2. Troy Grosenick – 2.08 GAA, 27 wins, 82 GA, .927 sav%
  3. Garret Sparks – 2.08 GAA, 18 wins, 52 GA, .927 sav%

Suspensions

Former Monster and current Toronto Marlie, Kerby Rychel, was suspended for one game. During the final five minutes of the third period on March 18th, Rychel received an instigator penalty.

Rule 46.22

Fines and Suspensions – Instigator in Final Five Minutes of Regulation Time (or Anytime in Overtime) - A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime (see 46.12), shall automatically be suspended for one game. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. This suspension shall be served in addition to any other automatic suspensions a player may incur for an accumulation of three or more instigator penalties

When the one-game suspension is imposed, the player’s Coach and Club shall each be fined five hundred dollars ($500) – a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.

Stu Bickel of the San Diego Gulls and Alex Gallant of the San Jose Barracudas were both suspended for one game due to an infraction which occurred on March 22nd.

Player Awards

Anton Forsberg of the Cleveland Monsters was named the CCM/AHL Player of the week for the week ending March 26th.

In three games last week, Forsberg faced 110 shots only allowing two to turn into goals. This gave him a 0.67 gaa and .982 sv%. The 51 shots Forsberg stopped on Friday was his career high, as well as, the highest in the league this season.

Story Lines

Here's a nice little story about the Calgary Flames and the importance of having a passport while playing for their farm team.

Jonas Gustavsson of the Bakersfield Condors became the 12th goaltender to score a goal in the AHL.

Mike McKenna is playing on his 15th team in 12 years. Annie Maroon of MassLive.com speaks with McKenna and his wife about what the constant uprooting has been like for them.