Cleveland Monsters (2) at Syracuse Crunch (4)
The Cleveland Monsters extended their winless streak to five games after giving up three unanswered goals to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night.
Things started off quite well for the Monsters but as time wound down the Crunch were able to control the game.
Veini Vehvilainen made a smart goalie play 1:34 into the game. A Crunch player sniped the puck towards the net. When Vehvilainen realized his stick was going to hinder him from stopping the puck, he dropped the stick and pounced on the puck with both hands.
The Monsters registered their first shot on goal 3:34 into the game. Marko Dano stole the puck from Cameron Gaunce who was skating past Scott Wedgewood. A few seconds later, Dano tried to slam the puck into the net. Wedgewood was able to get in front of the puck before it had a chance to roll into the net.
Andrew Peeke put the Monsters on the board with 11:53 left in the first period. A screen on Wedgewood by Ryan MacInnis and Paul Bittner allowed Peeke to score this goal from the right point.
The first Monsters’ power play of the night came with 9:42 left in the first period. Zac Dalpe, Nathan Gerbe, and Adam Clendening spent the majority of the pp launched shots towards Wedgewood. Despite their best efforts, Wedgewood didn’t let a single puck into the net.
After the penalty ran out, Danick Martel fired off three shots in a row in hopes one would sneak past Vehvilainen. Well, as the age old adage goes, the third time is the charm. No matter how hard they tried, the defense couldn’t stop Martel from taking shots. He was a man on a mission to tie up the game. Martel was able to complete his mission with 7:29 left in the first.
Almost two minutes later, the Monsters were able to break the tie due to a great offensive play from Dano. Clendening and Dano had a two-on-one breakaway towards Wedgewood. Once they hit the right faceoff circle, Dano could have easily cut left and rushed the net. Instead he passed the puck past the Crunch defender and onto Clendening’s stick. Since no one was in the slot, Clendening was able to fire the puck into the net for the 2-1 lead.
From a scoring standpoint, the Crunch dominated the second period. They tied the game at two with 6:17 left in the second. After the faceoff, Cory Conacher took off with the puck behind the net. Conacher quickly tossed the puck to Dennis Yan who was waiting in the crease. Once the puck landed on his stick, Yan tapped it into the net. All the Monsters needed to do to keep the Yan’s goal from coming to fruition was win the faceoff.
The Crunch took the 3-2 lead over the Monsters with 4:14 left in the second. Luke Witkowski was able to sweep the puck between Vehvilainen’s five-hole from the left faceoff circle. This play came after the Monsters were unable to rebound a 3-on-2 breakaway shots moments earlier.
The Monsters spent the third period trying to find a way to tie the game. Nothing seemed to work for them.
With 48 seconds left in the game, the Monsters called a time out. Head Coach Mike Eaves drew up a few plays in hopes something positive would come out of the waning moments of the game. They opted to leave the net empty and roll with six skaters when the timeout was over.
In a span of 30 seconds, Wedgewood was forced to come up with multiple big saves. Two of which were rockets from Kevin Stenlund.
During the final seconds of the game, the Monsters were in control of momentum and it seemed as though a goal was imminent. However, with five seconds to play, a fumbled pass flew down the ice towards the Monsters empty net. Clendening took off down the ice and batted it backwards to prevent the puck from entering the empty net. The only problem is the puck landed on Conacher’s stick. Within moments of receiving the puck, Conacher fired it into the empty net to give the Crunch the 4-2 win over the Monsters.
1st - Luke Witkowski (Syracuse Crunch) - 1g, 1a
2nd - Cory Conacher (Syracuse Crunch) - 1g, 1a
3rd - Adam Clendening (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 0a
Marko Dano - Nathan Gerbe - Stefan Matteau
Jakob Lilja - Zac Dalpe - Kevin Stenlund
Sam Vigneault - Justin Scott - Derek Barach
Calvin Thurkauf - Ryan MacInnis - Paul Bittner
Gabriel Carlsson - Adam Clendening
Dillon Simpson - Andrew Peeke
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby