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Recap: Persistent Monsters Top Marlies in Shootout

This was one weird game.

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Toronto Marlies (5) at Cleveland Monsters (6) - Shootout

Toronto Marlies (5) at Cleveland Monsters (6) - Shootout

The Cleveland Monsters and Toronto Marlies played the strangest game of hockey last night. Anything that could happen, did happen.

“I mean anything strange that could happen; happened. We scored on our own net. We passed it to their guy for their first one on a breakaway. We kicked it to the other guy in the slot for the second goal. So, there was a bunch of things going wrong for us.” – Head Coach John Madden.

The Marlies kicked the scoring off 4:18 into the game.

After receiving a pass from one of the Monsters, Carl Grundstrom went on a slight breakaway and outskated Doyle Somerby before firing the puck into the net.

A little over two minutes later, the Marlies extended their lead over the Monsters to 2-0.

Pierre Engvall forced Alex Broadhurst to turn the puck over while battling it out along the boards. He launched the puck towards the slot where Jeremy Bracco was waiting. Bracco quickly slammed it home for the goal.

With 2:50 left in the first, the Monsters cut the Marlies lead in half, 2-1.

Doyle Somerby intercepted a pass and outmuscled the opposition along the boards before taking off with the puck. Due to lack of coverage, Somerby basically walked the puck into the net.

As per tradition, the second period was a bit of a hot mess for the Monsters.

Three minutes into the second the Marlies extended their lead to 3-1 in the most awkward way ever for the Monsters.

Adam Brooks shot the puck around Michael Prapavessis and into the slot where Somerby was posted. Caught up in the moment, Somerby accidentally fired the puck into his own net.

At this point, the anger within Jean-Francois Berube began to rise. Four minutes later, Berube would reach his breaking points.

Kevin Stenlund whiffed while trying to clear out a rebounded shot. This allowed Richard Clune to pop the puck into the net. Berube couldn’t take it anymore and slammed his stick against the crossbar until it broke in half.

Seeing their typically level-headed netminder lose his metaphorical sh!t, the Monsters kicked it into high gear and began to grind plays out. Luck was on the Monsters side for the next two goals.

The Monsters scored their second goal of the night 11:22 into the second period.

Sam Vigneault had a nice breakaway shot which Michael Hutchinson was able to knock out of the air. Vigneault picked up his own rebound from behind the net and tossed it towards the crease. The puck bounced off of Paul Bittner’s skate and into the net.

“Any way you can get them is nice. I just got real lucky. Right place, right time. It’s one of those things you don’t really see coming but Sam made a good play to put it back to the net. I happened to be there. It hit off my skate. Right moment, right time.” – Paul Bittner

Not even a minute later, Ryan Collins launched a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. The rebounded shot bounced off of Mark Letestu’s elbow and into the net to put the Monsters within in one of the Marlies, 4-3.

The Monsters came alive in the third period. Their positive energy was off the charts and they began making smarter plays.

A little over seven minutes into the third period, the Monsters tied the game at four.

Yet again, Vigneault came up big with a pass from below the goal line. This time Kole Sherwood was the one who received the puck. Upon receiving the puck, Sherwood proceeded to fire the puck topshelf for the equalizer goal.

Once the Monsters realized Hutchinson has a difficult time sealing up the top corners of the net, it wasn’t long before they scored again.

Four minutes after Sherwood’s tying goal, Eric Robinson broke away from the pack and sniped the puck topshelf.

The Monsters were so close to a win. Both the fans and the team could taste it. The Marlies were not ready to wave the white flag and admit defeat.

With 2:16 left, the Marlies tied the game at five.

From below the blue line, Calle Rosen passed the puck off to Sam Gagner who was left unattended. Upon receiving the puck, Gagner ripped it from the left faceoff dot into the net.

Both teams kicked it into high gear for the remainder of regulation and all of overtime. By now we should all know that overtime is never enough for the Monsters. For the third time in January, a decision had to be made in a shootout.

Letestu came out on top with the game winning shootout goal.

Let’s be clear here, a win is not indicative of good play. For most of the game, the Monsters looked sloppy and made some big mistakes which led to many of the Marlies’ goals. However, there is something to be said about the amount of hard work the Monsters put into this comeback win.

“It was a good test to the guys to come back and keep battling. You never know what can happen. I didn’t think it was a particularly good game. It looked like we lost our structure for most of the game.” – Head Coach John Madden

The Monsters look to keep the points coming as they play the Chicago Wolves on Thursday at 7pm.

3 Stars

1st – Mark Letestu (1g, 0a)

2nd – Paul Bittner (1g, 1a)

3rd – Sam Vigneault (0g, 3a)

Game Stats

Monsters Lines

Broadhurst-Letestu-DeSalvo
Robinson-Scott-Stenlund
Gerbe-MacInnis-Sherwood
Bittner-Vigneault-Abramov

Monsters Pairings

Cross-Collins
Carlsson-Simpson
Prapavessis-Somerby

What’s Next

The Monsters battle the Chicago Wolves on Thursday at 7pm.