Cleveland Monsters (2) at Milwaukee Admirals (3)
The Cleveland Monsters and Milwaukee Admirals met for the first of four meetings last night. Milwaukee looked to solidify their hold on first place in the East. While the Monsters wanted to shake off the festival of scoring the Chicago Wolves had on Wednesday.
Milwaukee started the game with the upper hand scoring two goals in the first period.
Around six minutes into the game, Frederic Allard blocked a shot from Vitaly Abramov with his shin before passing it to Emil Pettersson. Almost immediately, Pettersson moved the puck over Anthony Richard who was open nearby. Richard took off down the ice and fired a low shot from the right faceoff circle through Jean-Francois Berube’s five-hole.
With 1:02 to play in the first period, Jeremy Gregoir launched a rocket of a shot towards Berube. It bounced off of Berube’s pads and onto Tanner Jeannot’s stick. Jeannot buried the rebound to give the Admirals the 2-0 lead over the Monsters.
The Monsters were not going to let the Admirals have an easy win on their record. In the second, they turned up the heat scoring two goals within the first 6:10 of the period.
A minute and a half into the second, Justin Kirkland won a faceoff to the left of Tom McCollum. Jarred Tinordi chased the puck down and retrieved it from the right corner. Tinordi didn’t get very far with the puck as Ryan MacInnis pickpocketed him before passing it off to Mark Letestu. From the faceoff circle Letestu fired a quick shot over the right shoulder of McCollum.
Not even five minutes later, Letestu was back at it again.
From along the boards, Doyle Somerby tried to fire a shot towards the net. Realizing the puck wasn’t going to get past Nicholas Baptiste, Somerby pushed it over to Letestu. From the point, Letestu fired the puck through traffic into the net to tie the game at two. MacInnis and Joonas Lyytinen were aggressively battling for position near the crease causing McCollum’s view to be blocked. He didn’t even see it coming.
Knowing they wouldn’t see each other much this season, the two squads pushed the game into overtime.
Three minutes was all it took for the Admirals to skate away with the win.
Tyler Gaudet spent around 13 seconds trying to skate around Kevin Stenlund. When Gaudet saw Matt Donovan unattended near the top of the opposite faceoff circle, he immediately backhanded the puck across the ice. Donovan waited a moment for the lane to open and slapped the puck into the net to seal the deal for the Admirals.
But Wait! There’s More
- Miles Koules made his first appearance of the 2018-19 season tonight. He began the night forechecking and backchecking like a fiend. The Admirals couldn’t even dream of firing off a shot. As the night went on, Koules began making plays out of thin air. A lot of traffic in front of the net? No problem. Koules would toss the puck off to Scott or Stenlund and try to open a lane. He had two beautiful goal attempts. However, Tom McCollum brought award winning play to the game tonight and managed to stop both of those shots. There was no rust on Koules’ skates last night. He whipped around the ice like Speedy Gonzalez. Could you imagine what it would be like if he played on the same line as Alex Broadhurst? Between their speed and quick thinking, they would be unstoppable.
- Jean-Francois Berube is a good goaltender. There is no way around it. Tonight, we saw him leave the net unattended and then leap to fill the crease in an attempt to stop a goal. He made great plays outside of the crease which set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. However, the biggest weakness of Berube continues to be his five-hole. It seems to pop open at the worst possible time.
- Kole Sherwood and Kevin Stenlund had a bit of a rough night. In the beginning of the game, Sherwood made a few egregious plays which caused the Admirals to have some pretty scary scoring chances. By the time the third period rolled around, Sherwood seemed to have a better head on his shoulders. Stenlund, on the other hand, looked a bit lost. There were multiple times when he’d skate haphazardly around the ice in an attempt to figure out where to go next. This is the first time he’s played like this since the season began. Hopefully, it was just an off night.
- It’s clear the officials are cutting down on cross checking this season. Pretty much every penalty Doyle Somerby has taken this season has been for cross checking. Some have been legitimate call. For the most part, the calls have been soft. Even worse, they are usually during plays when the momentum is in the Monsters favor.
- After basically standing on his head, Tom McCollom was awarded second star of the night. It’s a shame as he was the best player on the ice for the Admirals. The Monsters were the better team tonight, but McCollum tipped the scale in the Admirals favor.
- Keeping Mark Letestu in the bottom six is one of the best things the Monsters could do for the rest of the season. He thrives there. A natural bottom six player who embraces their calling is a tough one to find. The Monsters are lucky to have a guy who understands the ins and outs of the bottom six. As well as, someone who is willing to teach other guys about the importance of the position. When a coach has guys on the ice who excel at their line role then rolling lines becomes an easier thing to do.
1st – Matt Donovan (1g, 0a)
2nd – Tom McCollum (32 shots faced, 30 saves, TOI: 63:00)
3rd – Mark Letestu (2g, 0a)
The Monsters close out their roadtrip on Saturday at 8pm against the Rockford IceHogs.