Belleville Senators (2) at Cleveland Monsters (3)
After an aggressive game against the Belleville Senators last night, the Cleveland Monsters were ready for a fight. This could easily be figured out by looking at their starting lineup of Dan DeSalvo, Calvin Thurkauf, Brett Gallant, Adam Clendening, and Doyle Somerby. All of them are great agitators who never back down from a fight. Can they all fight? No. The point here is they are not afraid of anyone. Gallant being the most fearless of them all. During pregame warmups, he crosschecked a member of the Senators to send a message, “Come at me or my team and you will feel the pain”.
On top of it, the Monsters wanted to quickly score a goal because it was the annual “Teddy Bear Toss”. The excitement of Gallant being back in the line up paired with “Teddy Bear Toss” night had fans oozing with energy. They wanted to throw bears and they wanted to throw them RIGHT NOW. Every time a shot went wide of the net or was stopped the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena let out loud, exasperated groans.
As the period drew on, fans were treated to every single one of the Monsters laying Gallant sized hits on the Senators. The Monsters didn’t come to play tonight. They came to win and make the Senators feel pain in the process.
To win, they would have to find a way to score at least one goal. No matter how hard they tried nothing was going into the net. It seemed as though fans would have to hold on to their bears during intermission. However, with 18 seconds left in the period, Filip Gustavsson left the crease to play a puck that went behind the net. The puck ended up bouncing off the boards and onto Sam Vigneault’s stick. Seeing the wide-open net, Vigneault quickly fired the puck across the goal line before Gustavsson could get back into position.
“It was kind of a lucky bounce. Gerbe tried to put it in deep. It hit the corner and came back in front. I just tapped it in.” – Sam Vigneault
Before the goal horn had a chance to sound, the fans started chucking their bears and stuffed animals over the glass. Animals ranging from unicorns to teddy bears to sloths rained down from all corners of the arena. There were big ones, small ones, some as big as your body.
It was the best way to end a period.
Having to kill three penalties after such a thrilling first period was not what the Monsters had planned. Yet, that’s exactly what happened in the second period. Despite being down a man for six minutes, the Monsters were able to maintain control and momentum for much of the second period. This was partly due to the fact Matiss Kivlenieks blessed everyone with his magical goalie skills. Towards the end of the second, the Senators thought they would be able to trip Kivlenieks up with a two-on-one breakaway where one of them faked having the puck. He was onto their tricks and was able to stop the Senator who actually had the puck from scoring.
The third period brought us more rain. This time it was in the form of goals. Four goals to be exact. Two from each team.
Jack Rodewald tied the game at one for the Senators 4:25 into the third period. He was able to pop the puck into the net at just the right angle.
Two minutes later, Nathan Gerbe fired a shot from just above the goal line, through the crease, and off the right post before it went into the net.
With 7:39 left in the game, the Monsters were able to extended their lead to 3-1 with their second power play goal of the night. Mark Letestu backhanded the puck to Adam Clendening. From near the blue line, Clendening fired the puck down the slow towards the net. Vitaly Abramov was able to redirect it past Gustavsson for the goal.
The Senators were able to get within one of the Monsters with 1:18 to play in the game. Aaron Luchuk deflected a shot from Christian Wolanin into the air and just shy of Kivlenieks arm.
In an attempt to tie the game up at three the Senators pulled Gustavsson for the extra attacker. They threw everything they had at the Monsters but the defense stood tall.
“I think we did a really good job today. Especially at the end, the last eight minutes. They pulled the goalie. They (the defense) blocked a lot of shots. I thought they did a good job.” – Matiss Kivlenieks.
Those blocked shots allowed Kivlenieks a chance breathe a bit before the final horn sounded.
1st – Nathan Gerbe (1g, 1a)
2nd – Matiss Kivlenieks (29 shots faced, 27 saves, 60:00 TOI)
3rd – Adam Clendening (0g, 2a)
Post-Game Presser Videos
Next up for the Monsters is a rivalry game against the Rochester American on Wednesday at 7pm. Players will be wearing specialty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jersey. While the opponents will be wearing Foot Clan jerseys. Come for the game and you might catch a few Ninja Turtles wandering the concourse.