Chicago Wolves (3) at Cleveland Monsters (4) - Overtime
After dropping seven of their last 10 games, the Cleveland Monsters were looking for a win to help them crawl back up the leaderboard.
The team who took the ice tonight had a completely different feel than Thursday night’s team. They were well rested, relaxed, and energetic.
The Wolves almost scored two minutes into the game. The puck trickled through Matiss Kivlenieks’ legs and sat in the crease daring someone to come get it. Luckily, when Kivlenieks turned the puck flew out of the crease.
With 7:59 to go in the first period, the Monsters took the 1-0 lead over the Wolves. Justin Scott fired the puck across the ice to Nathan Gerbe who hammered it home from the left faceoff dot for the goal.
Twenty seconds later, Eric Robinson had a nice rush to the net and almost scored with a backhand shot. Max Lagace was able to get his blocker there in time to stop. Nice job by Robinson to keep the momentum in the Monsters’ favor.
When Curtis McKenzie took an unsportsmanlike penalty with 5:27 left in the period, the Monsters used the extra man to propel them. The second power play unit of Gerbe, Tommy Cross, Sonny Milano, Kole Sherwood, and Eric Robinson looked particularly good.
This energy powered them through the rest of the period.
Mark Letestu kicked the second period off with a deadly looking shot. I’m still unsure of how Lagace was able to get his glove up in time to block the shot.
Things got a little dicey after Adam Clendening took a cross-checking penalty 2:41 into the period. If it wasn’t for Kivlenieks’ the Monsters’ penalty kill would have completely fallen apart.
Alex Broadhurst extended the Monsters lead over the Wolves nine minutes into the second. He charged the net from the corner before flicking the puck into the net over Lagace’s shoulder.
The Monsters started the third period down a man for 1:04. Within 33 seconds, the Wolves were able to cut the Monsters lead in half, 2-1. Erik Brannstrom skated through four guys before firing the puck past Kivlenieks.
The Wolves almost tied the game 2:04 into the period. However, the puck was kicked into the net causing the Refs to immediately wave it off.
A minute and 21 seconds later, the Monsters extended their lead over the Wolves to 3-1.
Robinson launched a rocket at the net. It bounced off of Lagace’s skate. Instead of watching to see where the puck was headed, Sherwood cleaned up the crease by poking it home for the goal.
The Wolves fired back with a goal at the five-minute mark to bring them within one of the Monsters. Jake Bischoff launched one from near the faceoff circle towards the net. His teammate jumped to avoid getting hit causing Kivlenieks’ view to be blocked. Kivlenieks never saw it coming.
After a lot of back and forth between the two teams, the Wolves were able to tie the game at three with 5:12 to play in the third.
Tomas Hyka faked out Dillon Simpson before skating through the crease and backhanding the puck behind Kivlenieks.
Both teams turned up the energy for the remainder of the period, but it wasn’t enough to get it done in regulation.
For the fourth time in January, the Monsters headed to overtime. It didn’t last long as Letestu was able to score the game winner 42 seconds into extra time.
“I watched Nathan do about 40 minutes of hard work with his stops and starts. I really didn’t do much all shift. Just really the beneficiary of a lot of his work and Adam finding me back door.” – Mark Letestu
This win didn’t move the Monsters up in the standings. However, it did put some distance between them and the bottom three in the division. Plus, it’s always nice to head into four days off with a win.
1st – Mark Letestu (1g, 0a)
2nd – Nathan Gerbe (1g, 1a)
3rd – Kole Sherwood (1g, 0a)
The Monsters have a few days off for the All-Star break. Nathan Gerbe will be lone representative for the Monsters in this year’s competition. The Skills competition will take place on Sunday. While the All-Star Challenge will take place on Monday. Both games start at 7pm and will be broadcast live on AHLtv. It will be free to watch on www.watchtheahl.com .
After the All-Star break, the Monsters head to Pennsylvania to take on the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Friday, February 1, 2019 at 7:05pm.
The road trip continues the next night, Feb 2nd, against the Syracuse Crunch at 7:00pm.