Cleveland Monsters (0) at WBS Penguins (1)
Another game. Another scoreless first period.
The Cleveland Monsters and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins started the game out rather aggressively. This aggressive style of play led both teams to not be able to score a goal in the first period. Neither of them could get anything to work in their favor.
The Penguins were finally able to make something work 8:34 into the second period. Will O’Neil passed the puck to Ryan Haggerty from the blue line. Haggerty proceeded to launch the puck from the near wall past Jean-Francois Berube’s right side.
This goal put a fire in the Monsters’ bellies. Unfortunately, the fire was squelched when there was a break in the game due to the glass needing to be fixed behind the net. On the other side of the ice, the impromptu break fired up the Penguins. In under a minute, they had three incredible scoring chances. If it wasn’t for Berube, the Monsters score would have been a lot different.
It appeared momentum would stay in favor of the Penguins. However, a hard hit into the boards causing the Zamboni door to fly open slowed them down a bit.
The second period ended with both teams desperately trying to get momentum to swing back their way.
The Monsters started the third a bit sloppy but managed to draw a penalty 2:35 into the period. Power plays should be exciting. However, the Monsters were unable to fire off a single shot with the man advantage.
A little under halfway through the period, Vitaly Abramov was called for slashing putting the Monsters down a man for two minutes. The Monsters spent the bulk of the kill in their own defensive zone. Although, the pk wasn’t a complete mess as there was one bright shining moment. Mark Letestu lofted a pass towards Tommy Cross who fired it down the slot. Somehow John Muse saw the puck traveling towards him at warped speed and stopped it from crossing the goal line.
During the last seven minutes of the game, Sonny Milano and Letestu were on a mission to make something happen. They continually attacked the net and tried to make plays happen. Unfortunately, Muse was able to read their every move.
With 2:58 left in the game, Head Coach John Madden called a timeout. When the clock down on the timeout, Jean-Francois Berube stayed on the bench. Pulling the goalie this early was a very smart move on Madden’s part. The Monsters were going to have an offensive zone faceoff and needed the sixth man on the ice to keep the puck in their zone. The extra attacker added some extra pressure but it caused the Penguins to match the Monsters level of intensity.
Jimmy Hayes tried to take a shot at the empty net with under a minute to play. Adam Clendening jumped in front of the shot denying entry to the net. Vitaly Abramov picked up the rebound and took off down the ice before firing a shot into Muse’s pads.
At this point things started to heat up. Ryan MacInnis and Sonny Milano were having not of the Penguins shenanigans. They put anyone who stepped out of line into a headlock. Yes, formerly docile, Milano put someone in a headlock.
As the clock wound down, Kevin Stenlund launched the puck down the ice in hopes it would magically become a goal. The clock ran out before any magic could happen for the Monsters and the Penguins victoriously skated away.
The last 2:58 minutes of the game were the most thrilling. It’s a shame both teams didn’t play like that all game.
But Wait! There’s More
1st – John Muse (32 shots faced, 32 saves, 60:00 TOI)
2nd – Ryan Haggerty (1g, 0a0
3rd – Jean-Francois Berube (20 shots faced, 19 saves, 57:02 TOI)
The Monsters head back to Lehigh Valley on Saturday, December 8th to take on the Phantoms for the second time this week.