Cleveland Monsters (3) at Grand Rapids Griffins (4) - Shootout
Despite a tight turnaround, the Cleveland Monsters and Grand Rapids Griffins started tonight’s game with an abundance of energy.
However, it was the Griffins who were able to use that energy to their benefit as they were the first on the board 9:46 into the period.
Carter Camper outskated Michael Prapavessis before passing the puck to Chris Terry. Out of the left circle, Terry fired the puck into the net.
Not even a minute later, the Griffins extended their lead over the Monsters to 2-0.
Terry tossed the puck from below the goal line into the slot. Axel Holmstrom skated into the slot and bopped the puck into the net.
At this point, the Monsters began to turn things up a notch. They were bound determined to score a goal by the end of the first.
With a minute and 15 seconds left in the first period, Adam Clendening had a phenomenal cross ice pass to Sonny Milano who one timed the puck into the net from the bottom of the left circle.
The second period was a bit of an interesting one for the Monsters.
For the second night in a row, Brad Thiessen helped keep the Monsters in the game during the second. He made incredible save after incredible save. True backup goalies can hop off the bench at a moments notice and play without rust on their skates. It’s clear Thiessen is a true backup. To be able to pull out all the stops two nights in a row after sitting for a month and a half is truly an amazing feat. There are not many netminders who can do this.
Good thing the Monsters had Thiessen or else they might not have made it out of the second period alive. This isn’t a slight at the Monsters effort. They were actually on point in the second. The Griffins just had their number tonight.
The Monsters started the third period with a bang. Right off the bat they were giving Patrik Rybar a workout. He had to roll around the crease a few times to stop some of the Monsters’ shots.
Almost three minutes into the period, Kole Sherwoood fired a shot from the right faceoff dot to tie the game at two.
Not even a minute later, the Griffins took back the lead. Terry launched the puck across the ice towards Camper who was left alone near the redline. Camper skated through the faceoff circle before going topshelf on Thiessen.
With 8:44 left in the period, Mark Letestu saw Doyle Somerby sneaking into the right faceoff circle and passed him the puck from below the goal line. Somerby immediately fired it into the back of the net to tie the game at three.
Tension rose as time wound down on the third period. Not one person was exempt from a hard hit or a scuffle. Despite their best efforts to wrap it up in regulation, the game headed to overtime.
Both teams laid it all on the table during overtime. However, there was a bit of a troubling moment halfway through extra time. Nathan Gerbe, Dan DeSalvo, and Milano spent around a minute and a half circling the outside of the zone passing the puck back and forth. Multiple times they could have charged down an open lane in the middle of the ice. Instead, they opted to look for openings which would bring them into the corners. It’s a shame because had one of them gotten close enough to fire a shot from the slot this game likely would have ended in overtime.
Alas, five minutes wasn’t enough time to wrap things up for the Monsters and Griffins. A shootout was in their future.
First up for the Griffins was Camper. Weaving back and forth, Camper went backhand to forehard before shooting the puck right into Thiessens’ glove.
The Monsters first pick for the shootout was Letestu. He barreled down towards the net before firing the puck. Rybar saw the play unfold and was able to save the puck from crossing the goal line.
The second round consisted of Terry (Griffins) and Gerbe (Monsters). Terry was able to beat Thiessen to the glove side. While, Gerbe got a little too fancy with his stick handling and missed the net.
Dominic Turgeon and Milano squared off in the third and final round of the shootout. Turgeon went right to left and then forehand to backhand to forehand before completely missing the net. Now, Milano had a chance to push the shootout to a fourth round. He raced towards the net at full speed. Instead of firing a shot from the slot, Milano veered to the right and tried to backhand the puck in the net. Anticipating Milano’s move, Rybar began to close up the gap between him and the post while Milano was veering to the right. This allowed Rybar to be there to stop the shot when Milano finally fired the puck.
Milano’s blocked shot signified the end of the game. The Griffins beat the Monsters, 4-3, in their final meeting of the regular season.
1st – Chris Terry (1g, 2a)
2nd – Carter Camper (1g, 1a)
3rd – Mark Letestu (0g, 2a)
The Monsters have a bit of break before they lace of the skates and hit the ice on Saturday, January 5, 2019. The Utica Comets will be in town for a 1pm puck drop. The first 2,500 kids (12 and under) will receive Player Trading Cards and a Castaway Bay Day pass.
Don’t forget! $6 will get the family a Sugardale hotdog, chips, and a drink.