Cleveland Monsters (4) at Laval Rocket (1)
The Cleveland Monsters completed their weekend sweep of the Laval Rocket, 4-1, this afternoon. With the exception of Derek Barach and Veini Vehlvilainen entering the game, the roster stayed the same.
Things started well for the Monsters as they didn’t give up a goal in the first 23 seconds of the game. In fact, neither team was able to score a goal in the first period. Vehlvilainen stood tall robbing the Rocket of goals every chance he got. The best came with 1:19 left in the first. Phil Varone thought he was going to be sneaky with a quick backhanded shot towards the net. Vehvilainen hopped on it almost as quickly as it was released.
Fans were treated to more of Vehvilainen’s theatrics 49 seconds into the second period. Josh Brook fired a heavy handed shot which was quickly stopped by Vehvilainen. After scooping up the rebound, Matthew Peca tried to fire the puck as fast as possible into the net. Vehvilainen made a beautiful pad save, without breaking a sweat, to foil Peca’s shot attempt.
A little over five minutes into the second, Vehvilainen broke up a centering pass. Yes, you read that right. Vehvilainen saw a possible deadly play being formed and shut it down before a goal could come to fruition.
With 11:32 left in the second period, Marko Dano and Maxim Lamarche got into a bit of a hugging match which led to offsetting minor penalties. Not even a minute later, Justin Scott won a battle along the boards near the right corner and passed the puck off to Eric Robinson. From the slot, Robinson was able to fire the puck into the net for the first goal of the night.
Zac Dalpe tried to get in on the scoring fun with 5:49 left in the period but was quickly denied by Cayden Primeau’s toe. If Primeau as a hair over, the puck would have flown into the net. Hunger was written all over Dalpe’s face. He was determined to get a goal before the period ended.
As the age old adage goes, “focused, hard work is the real key to success.” Dalpe stayed focus and worked his butt off for the next three minutes. Guess what happened? Did you guess? No? Ok, I’ll tell you.
With 2:40 left in the second, Adam Clendening tossed the puck towards Dalpe who was sliding into the right faceoff circle. Dalpe wound up and one-timed the puck into the net to give the Monsters the 2-0 lead.
After Dalpe’s goal, the Rocket continued to try different ways to crack Vehvilainen’s code. At first nothing seemed to work for them. Then, around the half way mark of the third period, the Rocket were able to finally get on the board after Alex Belzile scored on a breakaway goal.
Cutting the lead in half ignited something within the Rocket. They went guns blazing at Vehvilainen. Despite being peppered with shots, Vehvilainen stood tall. With a little under two minutes to play, the Rocket thought pulling Primeau for the extra attacker would solve their inability to score. This was not the case as both Markus Hannikainen and Dalpe scored on the empty net to take home the 4-1 win.
1st - Zac Dalpe (2g, 0a) - Cleveland Monsters
2nd - Alex Belzile (1g, 0a) - Laval Rocket
3rd - Veini Vehvilainen (31 shots faced, 30 saves, 60:00 TOI) - Cleveland Monsters
The Monsters head home to take on the Syracuse Crunch at the newly renovated Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse at 7pm on October 11th and 12th.