Cleveland Monsters (4) at Syracuse Crunch (3) – Shootout
The Cleveland Monsters took down the Syracuse crunch in a thrilling five round shootout last night.
Due to injuries and callups, the Monsters rolled with eight defenders. Doyle Somerby and Ryan Collins took on the role of bottom six forwards. While Nathan Gerbe and Justin Scott were bumped to the first line. These changes allowed Maxime Fortier, Dan DeSalvo, and Nikita Korostelev to play more special teams’ minutes.
Despite having mixed up lines and players taking on new roles, the Monsters looked the better than they have since the calendar flipped on the new year.
Even though the Monsters had to kill a penalty 1:30 into the game, they looked good. The Crunch were held to one shot during the Monsters’ first penalty kill.
Alex Barre-Boulet put the Crunch on the board first with a rebound shot 5:47 into the game.
The Monsters spent the rest of the first period trying to adjust to their new roles. Intermission allowed the Monsters to assess how they were fitting into those roles and what they needed to do to flourish the rest of the game.
The start of the second period was a bit aggressive on both ends.
Gabriel Dumont and Adam Clendening jawed each other for a solid minute. Clendening finally decided it wasn’t worth it and skated away. Dumont, on the other hand, kept going until one of the refs skated over to have a sternly worded chat.
Shortly after, Cory Conacher got a little too close to Thiessen. As we all know, Tommy Cross does not like it when someone gets in his goalie’s space. So, he dropped him. A hug scuffle broke out between both teams. Even Coach Madden got in on the fun and started yelling at a member of the Syracuse Crunch team sitting on the bench.
Four minutes and 23 seconds into the second, Alexander Volkov finished his hit on Justin Scott after the whistle blew. Scott was not happy, and they had a nice chat using their fists. Both were sent to the box for roughing.
Thirteen seconds later, Alex Broadhurst forced a turnover at the blue line and fired it into the net to tie the game at one.
The Monsters took the 2-1 lead 9:25 into the second period. Broadhurst fired a pass from the far wall to Maxime Fortier. From the top of the crease, Fortier swept the puck around Eddie Pasquale.
The Monsters were able to maintain the lead until there was 4:02 left in the second. Barre-Boulet fired a shot around Blake Siebenaler into the left side of the net which was left open. Siebenaler wasn’t ready for the puck to end up on Barre-Boulet’s stick or else that gap would have been closed.
As time wound down on the second period, Brett Gallant and Michael Prapavessis had great looks on net. Honestly, it’s a shock Pasquale was able to stop either of those shots.
Things didn’t go as planned in the first 4:31 of the third period. Thiessen left the crease in an attempt to steal the puck from Carter Verhaege. It was quite the daring move for the normally level-headed net minder. I guess Thiessen woke up feeling dangerous on Friday.
Unfortunately, this brazen move by Thiessen did not work out in favor of the Monsters. At the last second, Verhaege maneuvered around Thiessen and took off towards the net. Dillon Simpson rushed to stop Verhaege but it was too late. The Crunch had already taken the 3-2 lead.
With 26 seconds left, Dan DeSalvo tipped a pass from Mark Letestu into the net to push the game into overtime.
Letestu, Broadhurst, and Clendening kicked things off for the Monsters in overtime. The first minute of play was incredibly solid from this overtime line. However, Clendening was the most impressive of the three. About 30 seconds into overtime, Clendening realized the Crunch were going to try and play a fast game. He decided to slow things down a bit by standing behind the night. Conacher wanted to run behind the net and steal the puck from Clendening. Instead he skated up to Thiessen and pushed him in an attempt to display his dominance. When Clendening saw this happen, he launched the puck down the ice allowing his teammates to take control before heading off the ice for a line change.
A minute into overtime, Nathan Gerbe, Justin Scott, and Tommy Cross took the ice for the Monsters. Almost immediately, Gerbe tripped Cameron Gaunce and headed to the box for the next two minutes. Luckily, the Monsters were able to kill this rather stressful penalty.
Once Gerbe left the box, he forced a turnover and launched the puck towards Pasquale from the near circle. Gaunce threw his body in front of the shot hurting himself in the process. Moments later DeSalvo rushed down the ice on a partial breakaway and just missed the net.
With no score at sound of the horn, the Monsters and Crunch headed to a shootout.
It took five rounds in the shootout before a goal was seen from either team. The lone goal scorer? A player who has been trying to find a permanent spot in the AHL, Nikita Korosotelev.
With a big win under their belt, the Monsters head to Binghamton to take on the Devils. Puck drops at 7:05 pm on Saturday night
1st – Alex Barre-Boulet (2g, 0a)
2nd – Gabriel Dumont (0g, 2a)
3rd – Carter Verhaeghe (1g, 1a)
If I had a vote, Nikita Korostelev or Alex Broadhurst would get the first star of the night. A game winner in the fifth round of shootout is kind of a big deal. Also, the Monsters wouldn’t have gotten to a shootout last night without Broadhurst’s goal, assists, and playmaking skills.
The Monsters continue their roadie
January 12th @ Binghamton Devils – 7:05 pm
January 18th @ Laval Rocket – 7:30 pm
January 19th @ Laval Rocket – 3pm