Syracuse Crunch (6) at Cleveland Monsters (3)
After last night’s loss to the Syracuse Crunch, Cleveland Monsters’ Head Coach Mike Eaves was asked what changes he would make heading into Saturday’s game. He jokingly replied, “Score more goals”. Well, Coach Eaves got is wish as nine goals were scored between the two teams.
The Crunch struck first 4:26 into the game. Gemel Smith powered down the ice with the puck before coming to a full stop at the top of the left faceoff circle. A few fancy stick moves were made before he passed the puck over to Nolan Valleau. From the high slot, he launched the puck into the net.
Not even two minutes later, Kole Sherwood tied the game up at one. Ryan MacInnis kicked the play off by outskating Cal Foote around the back of the net. As he rounded the net, MacInnis saw Ryan Collins open in the slot. He quickly fired the puck towards Louis Domingue who knocked the shot right onto Sherwood’s stick. Without hesitation, Sherwood swept the puck into the net.
A scramble in front of the Crunch net allowed the Monsters to take the 2-1 lead with 10:49 left in the first period. Stefan Matteau was able to flick the puck over Domingue’s pads and into the net.
After Veini Vehvilainen pulled out two big saves, he abandoned the net to chase down a turned over puck. Smith scooped up the puck before Vehvilainen could get there. He proceeded to hand the puck off to Dennis Yan who sniped it into the net to tie the game at two with 8:29 left in the first.
“Good hockey players do that. They know the goalie is scrambling. So, they throw it out front and hope that it hits” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
The Crunch were able to squeeze one more goal in before the horn sounded on the first period. This one was due to bad passing and positioning by the Monsters defense. While behind the net, Doyle Somerby sent a pass backwards towards Ryan Collins. Except, Collins had moved towards the crease and Dancik Martel ended up with the puck on his stick. Without much thought, Martel fired the puck from below the goal lines, off of Vehvilainen’s skate, and into the net for the 3-2 lead.
The scoring tapered down slightly in the second period.
A power play goal by Peter Abbandonato 4:12 into the second period extended the Crunch’s lead,4-2, over the Monsters. Foote launched a rocket of a shot at the net which bounced off the crossbar. As it was falling, Abbandonato lifted his stick and knocked it into the net as if he were playing a game of baseball.
Near the halfway mark of the second period, Calvin Thurkauf set Sherwood up with a nice pass in the slot. Sherwood slammed it home to put the Monsters within one of the Crunch, 4-3.
With 2:52 left in the second period, the Crunch put even more space between them and the Monsters, 5-3. From the right faceoff dot, Alex Barre-Boulet launched the puck under the corner of the crossbar and into the net.
The Crunch laid their final blow 8:37 into the third period when Otto Somppi swept the puck into the net while battling with Nathan Gerbe.
As you can see, the Monsters were on the wrong end of the scoring battle tonight.
Coach Eaves wasn’t exactly thrilled with the product which hit the ice tonight. “Disappointed” was a word he threw around a few times tonight.
“We played three pretty good games. So, for nine periods we had done a lot of good things. That first period was the first period where we were disappointing to ourselves.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
Another point of note was the discombobulated defense. They just didn’t seem all there tonight. From leaving the net open to bad passes near the crease, a lot of rookie mistakes were made.
“We were sloppy. We stopped doing the things in the previous three games that made us look like we knew what the heck we were doing out there.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
While Coach Eaves was disappointed in how the Monsters played tonight, he made sure to note that nights like this are not uncommon in the world of sports.
“It was just a tough night at the office. This happens in the world of athletics at every level. I particularly like watching golf and tennis. This is one of those days where you’re listening to Tiger Wood talk about grinding it out and not being able to make a four foot putt and not get the ball on the green. That was kind of night we had.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
1st - Cal Foote (Syracuse Crunch) - 0g, 3a
2nd - Kole Sherwood (Cleveland Monsters) - 2g, 0a
3rd - Peter Abbandonato (Syracuse Crunch) - 1g, 0a
Next weekend the Monsters play a back-to-back-to-back roadie against the Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies.
They play in Rochester on Friday at 7:05 pm. Then hit the wide open road to Toronto for a 4pm start on both Saturday and Sunday.