Syracuse Crunch (5) at Cleveland Monsters (3)
There wasn’t much rest for the Cleveland Monsters and the Syracuse Crunch after last night’s overtime thriller. They were back at Quicken Loans Arena today for a 1pm puck drop. Despite the short turnaround, the first period was lush with goals.
The Crunch were the first to light the lamp a little under two minutes into the game. Dennis Yan went one-on-one with Matiss Kivlenieks before chipping a shot top-shelf.
Not even a minute later, Mark Letestu set Sonny Milano up with a nice pass. Milano fired the puck home to tie the game at one.
The Crunch took back the lead with 8:57 left in the first period. Taylor Raddysh was able to squeak the puck under Kivlenieks’ pad before it rolled across the goal line. If Kivlenieks got his blocker completely down in time, there is no way the puck would have entered the net.
Two and a half minutes later, the Crunch took the 3-1 lead over the Monsters. Carter Verhaeghe backhanded a pass to Yan who went topshelf for his second foal of the night.
After this goal, Matiss Kivlenieks was replaced in net by Jean-Francois Berube.
“It’s not always about how the goalie is playing. It’s just about changing the momentum of the game more than anything” – Head Coach John Madden
Putting in a new netminder definitely changed the momentum of the game. On their first shift after the change, the Monsters were able to get within one of the Crunch (3-2).
Eric Robinson couldn’t get his initial shot past Eddie Pasquale. Doyle Somerby swooped in and backhands the puck into the net.
The Monsters just couldn’t get anything to click during the second period. Eddie Pasquale did everything short of standing on his head to stop shots by the Monsters from turning into a goal.
“He was probably the biggest difference in the game, I thought. He just came up with some saves when they had breakdowns.” – Head Coach John Madden
The Crunch on the other hand were able to click and get 3:16 in to the second period.
Tommy Cross backhanded the puck to Sonny Milano in an attempt to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. As Milano was about to go on a breakaway, Taylor Raddysh slammed him into the boards causing the puck to come loose. Kevin Stenlund desperately tried to get to the puck but Ben Thomas was able to poke the puck out of his reach. It ended up on the stick of Boris Katchouk who took off with a fury towards the net before launching a heavy handed shot from the left circle for the 4-2 lead over the Monsters.
After the Crunch’s fourth goal of the night, the Monsters started to get a little sloppy and frantic. They needed to tighten things up quickly or else the game was going to get away from them. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. As time wound down on the second, the game began to get away from the Monsters. Towards the last four minutes of the second period, Eric Robinson took back-to-back penalties. The first was a tripping minor. During this penalty, fans were treated to a shaky penalty kill. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Robinson sped out of the box and took off with the puck. He then became tangled up with a Crunch player. The refs proceeded to call Robinson for “slashing”. This call would leave them down for the first 19 seconds of the third period. Starting down a man is not something the Monsters ever want to do.
The third period brought two goals. One from each team. However, it took over half a period to see either goal happen.
With 9:41 left in the game, Vitaly Abramov launched one into the back of the net to put the Monsters within one of the Crunch (4-3). This goal did not revitalize the Monsters as they were unable to fire off a shot on net for the remainder of the period.
In an attempt to provide more scoring power on the ice, Coach Madden pulled Berube for the extra attacker with 2:41 left in the game. The Monsters held their own for much of the waning minutes of the game. However, with 28.8 seconds left in the game, the Monsters fumbled the puck allowing Cameron Gaunce to pick it up. Gaunce passed the puck off to Cory Conacher who fired it into the empty net to give the Crunch the 5-3 lead over the Monsters.
Despite being down by two goals for 28.8 seconds, the Monsters battled hard to the very end. They were not going to let the Crunch score another goal before the horn sounded. Unfortunately, the Monsters wouldn’t score a goal either and fell to the Crunch in regulation.
But Wait! There’s More
1st – Dennis Yan (2g, 0a)
2nd – Cameron Gaunce (0g, 3a)
3rd – Doyle Somerby (1g, 0a)
Post Game Presser Videos
The Monsters pack up and head east to play the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time ever on Wednesday, December 5th at 7pm.
They then go on to play back-to-backs on Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th. Friday’s game is at WBS Penguins. Saturday’s game is at Lehigh Valley again.