Grand Rapids Griffins (4) at Cleveland Monsters (2)
The Cleveland Monsters fell to the Grand Rapids Griffins,4-2, on Tuesday night. Calvin Pickard got in a workout as the Monsters peppered him with 42 shots. Despite firing off a barrage of shots at Pickard, the Monsters were only able to sneak two goals into the net. Compared to the five-game win-streak, the Monsters three-game lose-streak has been tight on goals. “We talk about in those five games we won we averaged five goals a goal. Now we can’t buy a goal,” Head Coach Mike Eaves chuckled while discussing the scoring drought.
While not being able to score can be frustrating, Eaves was still content with the energy the Monsters brought to the stating, “I look at the amount of shots that we have and I would say the energy is better. Out goal is to have a shooters mentality and get through to the greater. We did that. We had some good shots.”
Although their shot count was low, the Griffins were able to get three goals past Veini Vehvilainen. The first coming 3:37 into the game when Turner Elson fired a shot down the slot. It sailed just under the crossbar for the goal.
The Monsters were able to respond with a goal of their own a little over seven minutes later. A quick thinking pass from Jason Binkley in the slot to Nathan Gerbe who was posted at the bottom of the left faceoff circle brought this goal to life.
After the game, grinning from ear to ear, Coach Eaves gushed over Binkley’s first career AHL point when he said “He got a point. He made a nice play!”
It took the Griffins until there was 1:59 left in the second period to break the tie, 2-1. Vehvilainen got caught behind the net and raced to close it up. His foot stopped the initial shot but the Griffins kept poking at it until it slid past Vehvilainen’s skate and into the net.
As we have seen all season, the Monsters never give up. They powered forward with the intent to score a goal.
With 1:02 left in the game, a series of crisp passes and a screen led to Zac Dalpe being able to shoot the puck into the side of the net. The Monsters were flying high after tying the game at two.
However, luck was not in their favor. With 42 seconds left in the game, Vehvilainen went around the back of the net to retrieve Filip Zadina’s shot. Unfortunately for Vehvilainen, the shot bounced off the glass. When he realized the puck was out of reach, Vehvilainen rushed to the unattended net. He over committed leaving a piece of the net open for Joe Veleno to fire the puck into the net.
The Monsters took a timeout to review the game up until that point and go over a few quick scenarios. in the end, they decided to pull Vehvilainen for the extra attacker. It didn’t work out in their favor as the Griffins were able to loft the puck into the empty net with nine seconds left in the games.
It was not the ending the Monsters had hoped for on Tuesday. “I think everybody that walked down that hallway was banging something,” Coach Eaves explained, “It’s such a competitive group of guys. Anytime you get that close. It’s disappointing”.
The Monsters will have their chance at starting another win streak on Friday against the Rochester Americans at 7pm.
1st - Joe Veleno (Grand Rapids Griffins) - 1g, 0a
2nd - Calvin Pickard (Grand Rapids Griffins) - 42 shots faced, 40 saves, 59:36 TOI)
3rd - Turner Elson (Grand Rapids Griffins) - 1g, 1a
Marko Dano - Nathan Gerbe - Stefan Matteau
Kevin Stenlund - Zac Dalpe - Markus Hannikainen
Sam Vigneault - Justin Scott - Jakob Lilja
Calvin Thurkauf - Ryan MacInnis - Paul Bittner
Gabriel Carlsson - Michael Prapavessis
Dillon Simpson - Jason Binkley
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby