Cleveland Monsters (3) at Grand Rapids Griffins (1)
The Cleveland Monsters and Grand Rapids Griffins started the game off moving rather slow. At one-point Mark Letestu had a breakaway where he skated about as slow as a snail. This would have been bad if the Griffins weren’t struggling to keep up with him. In these moments you start to wonder “Did the awful flu bug running rampant through America hit both teams at the same time?” or “does no one care tonight?”.
Despite the slow style of play from both teams, the Griffins were able to get on the board with 6:01 left in the first period.
Tommy Cross fumbled a puck along the boards. The puck bounced off Zac Dalpe’s skate and into the possession of Dominic Turgeon. David Pope received the pass from Turgeon before firing it behind Jean-Francois Berube.
When the second period rolled around, both teams had a bit more pep in their step. Especially Sam Vigneault and Vitaly Abramov. They spent the bulk of the first two minutes attacking the net and getting in Patrick Rybar’s space.
The Monsters headed to their first power play of the night 4:27 into the second period. Things started out well for the Monsters. Momentum was in their favor and they stayed in the Griffins’ defensive zone laying solid hits and firing off shots. Rybar was impenetrable until the final seven seconds of the power play. Cross fired a shot from between the circles that dinged off the cross bar. Kole Sherwood swatted the rebound behind Rybar for the power play equalizer.
Two minutes later, Doyle Somerby launched a shot from the blue line that traveled through traffic and into the back of the net to give the Monsters the 2-1 lead over the Griffins.
Around the halfway mark of the second period, Vigneault took back-to-back penalties forcing the Monsters to play down a man for four minutes. Both penalty kills for the Monsters looked great. They applied massive amounts of pressure on the Griffins’ offense and got inside their heads. This pressure and aggression would cause the Griffins to angrily explode minutes after the back-to-back kill ended. The rest of the period involved a lot of pushing and shoving from both sides.
Slow and sluggish play made a come back in the third period. However, the Monsters were able to seal the deal when Dalpe scored an empty net goal with 47 seconds to play in the game.
1st – Doyle Somerby (1g, 0a)
2nd – Alex Broadhurst (0g, 2a)
3rd – Patrik Rybar (31 shots faced, 29 saves, 57:38 TOI)
The Cleveland Monsters head home to play a back-to-back against the Belleville Senators on Friday and Saturday. Both games start at 7pm
Saturday’s game is the annual Teddy Bear Toss! Bring as many new stuffed animals as you can fit in your car to throw on the ice after the Monsters score their first goal of the night. Let’s beat the Hershey Bears record!