Rockford IceHogs (1) at Cleveland Monsters (7)
The Cleveland Monsters returned home to take on the Rockford IceHogs tonight. After dropping two of their three games last weekend, the Monsters were looking for a win. They fulfilled this wish by scoring seven unanswered goals.
Things didn’t get off to the best start for the Monsters when Adam Clendening took a slashing penalty nine seconds into the game. From there, the IceHogs controlled the first 10 minutes of the game.
“We were sloppy with the puck. As a result, they carried the play. They seemed faster because we didn’t play fast. We were trying to do too much with the puck and not keep it simple.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
One of those sloppy plays led to the IceHogs first goal of the night. With no defense around to protect the net, Tyler Sikura was able to pick up his own rebound and sneak it beneath Matiss Kivlenieks’ pad.
“Even the goal that they scored squeaked underneath him . He made a fantastic save right before he (Sikura) got the rebound” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
A little over 10 seconds after Sikura’s goal, Anton Karlsson launched the puck from just below the blue line to score the equalizer goal.
Once the Monsters started scoring, they couldn’t turn it off.
With 6:29 left in the first period, the Monsters extended their lead over the IceHogs to 2-1. Colin Delia scrambled to stop Calvin Thurkauf from firing the puck leaving the net wide open. While trying to sneak the puck past Delia, Thurkauf ended up accidentally passing it to Ryan MacInnis who was posted at the top of the crease. The moment the puck landed on his stick MacInnis fired it into the back of the net.
“Actually, I was trying to put it to my backhand and stuff it in. Fortunately, it landed on MacInnis’ stick. So, you can’t complain.” - Calvin Thurkauf
Before Jasen Sokol, the Monsters’ PA Announcer, could finish announcing MacInnis’ goal, the Monsters scored again. This time it was Nathan Gerbe who scored after banging the puck into the net off of an IceHogs’ defender.
With 1:47 left in the first period, the Monsters extended their lead over the IceHogs to 4-1. Thurkauf scooped up the puck Alexandre Fortin fumbled. He quickly passed it off to Paul Bittner who sniped it into the net.
The second had a bit of wild start when Justin Scott and Reese Johnson dropped the gloves 28 seconds into the period.
In an attempt to keep the Monsters from scoring in the second period, the IceHogs defense started to pick up more and more rebounds. This worked for the IceHogs until there was 5:55 left in the second period.
Ryan MacInnis raced behind the net with the puck. So, he wanted you to think. However, as he passed the post, MacInnis swept the puck from below the goal line onto Thurkauf’s stick. Thurkauf tossed it into the net for the 5-1 lead. In true hockey player form, Thurkauf gave all the credit to MacInnis.
“Mostly Mac’s effort. He brought it up the ice and drove the guy wide. I just drove the net and he laid it in there for me. I just tried to get it on net. Fortunately, it went in.” - Calvin Thurkauf
Not even a minute later Sokol was interrupted while announcing Thurkauf’s goal. The Monsters had extended their lead to 6-1. This time it was thanks to a beautiful sequence set in motion by MacInnis which allowed Sam Vigneault to find the back of the net.
The IceHogs tried their hardest to find the back of the net but nothing would get back Kivlenieks. Even Nick Moutrey tried to get one past his former teammate 30 seconds into the third period. No dice. Kivlenieks and the Monsters defense were not going to let up a goal.
Speaking of the Monsters’ defense, A. Karlsson made an incredible defensive play 3:33 into the third. Jacob Nilsson fell on top of Kivlenieks forcing the net to be left wide open. Anton Wedin fired off a shot at the open net. For a moment, it seemed as though the IceHogs were actually going to score. Then, as fast as a speeding bullet, A. Karlsson flew into the crease and blocked the shot with his skate. Coach Eaves was incredibly pleased with the way Karlsson handled that situation. Putting him in the lineup was definitely a good choice.
“He is a stay at home classic kind of defenseman. He didn’t play for awhile and all he wanted to do was play. He said ‘Coach I just want to play’. He got his chance and it’s fun to see that smile on his face.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
The third period wasn’t all defense for the Monsters. There was a bit of offensive magic when Zac Dalpe scored off the draw 11:35 into the third for lucky number seven.
Despite their best efforts, the IceHogs couldn’t match the Monsters scoring prowess and fell, 7-1.
After the horn sounded, Zac Dalpe and Nick Moutrey got into a scuffle that needed to be broken up by the refs. Coach Eaves didn’t find this shocking at all. In fact, he was prepared for there to be a lot of pushing and shoving as the game winded down.
“As a team that was on the other end of the stick, they want to let you know that they’re going to be competitive tomorrow. So, there setting an indirect message that you may beat us tonight but we’re ready for tomorrow. That’s what you want your team to do. You don’t want them to go quietly into the night. It wasn’t unexpected.” - Head Coach Mike Eaves
The Monsters and IceHogs are back at it again on Saturday at 1pm. With such a tight turnaround before tomorrow’s game, Coach Eaves wants the guys to focus on rest.
“As an athlete they probably won’t get to sleep until probably one or two. They are going to have to go in the cold tub and do all the things they do to help their bodies recover quicker. At the same time, the team across the hallway has to do the same thing. So, I hope we take care of ourselves better and we have a jump tomorrow” - Head Coach Mike Eaves on rest
1st - Ryan MacInnis (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 2a
2nd - Calvin Thurkauf (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 2a
3rd - Anton Karlsson (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 1a
Gerbe - Stenlund - Matteau
Robinson - Dalpe - Hannikainen
Vigneault - Scott - Sherwood
Thurkauf - MacInnis - Bittner
Clendening - G. Carlsson
Simpson - Peeke
Somerby - A. Karlsson