Charlotte Checkers (2) at Cleveland Monsters (3) - Overtime
The Monsters were the first to strike 11:45 into the game. Dean Kukan passed to an open Ryan Craig who backhanded the puck into the net.
The Checkers struck back three minutes later. Dennis Robertson launched one towards the net past a struggling Ryan Stanton. Aleksi Saarela grabbed a piece of the puck before it entered the net.
Four minutes into the second period, the Checkers would take the lead. Patrick Brown shot off down the ice on a breakaway. It looked as though he was going to take the shot. At the last moment, Brown passed the puck to Patrick Dwyer who popped it past Anton Forsberg.
With three minutes left in the second period, Markus Hannikainen backhanded a beauty of a shot top shelf. The score was now tied.
The third period came and went without a score from either team. This game would be decided in overtime.
With 2:21 seconds left in overtime, Dean Kukan passed the puck to Zac Dalpe who fired it into the net behind Tom McCollum.
The Monsters won and they took the fourth place spot from the Checkers.
But Wait! There's More
- The Monsters may have one of the worst power plays in the league but tonight they had the best in the Q. They turned three of their four power plays into goals. A power play as crisp as tonight's will prove beneficial down this stretch towards the playoffs.
- After being out since March 18th, Daniel Zaar was back in the fold tonight. He grabbed one assist and had three shots on goal.
“I thought he played well. For a first game back, I thought he did some good things.” - Coach John Madden
- Markus Hannikainen keeps trying to muster some of that Sonny Milano Magic. Tonight he backhanded a shot top shelf. If trying to emulate your teammate puts pucks in the net, I'm all for it.
- The Monsters were only able to fire off three shots on goal in the first. Shots tripled in the second period but only one goal was scored. They then dropped back to three shots in the third. While I'm glad their accuracy is getting better, I would like to see a few more pucks on net. It will help in tight situations such as tonight's game.
- Jaime Sifers did work on the Oleg Yevenko penalty kill in the third. He threw his body up, down, all around just to stop the puck.
- There were a lot of kerfuffles in the first period. I really thought the whole game would turn into one big, bench clearing brawl but both teams got it together before the start of the second.
- Coach Toby Peterson drew up three good plays during overtime that the players just couldn't make work. Kukan, Dalpe, and Milano decided to try something new and it immediately led to the deciding goal.
“We were running three plays. In the beginning, we all knew what to do but it didn't work out. We did ourselves and it went in at the end.” - Dean Kukan
1st – Zac Dalpe (1g, 1a)
2nd – Ryan Craig (1g, 0a)
3rd – Markus Hannikainen (1g,0a)
I normally don't disagree with the “3 Stars” ranking. However, tonight is different. After assisting all three goals, Dean Kukan should have been named one of the “3 Stars” of the game. It's not often you see a defender assist all three goals that were scored in a game.
“He had the hot hand. Everything he touched went to gold.” - Zac Dalpe
Ryan Craig played in his 900th AHL and NHL game tonight.
Aleksi Saarela of the Charlotte Checkers played in his 1st AHL game and scored his first AHL goal.
The Monsters and Checkers meet again on Thursday, March 30th at 7pm est.