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Cleveland Monsters fall to Laval Rocket in seven round shootout

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Cleveland Monsters (2) at Laval Rocket (3) - Shootout

The Cleveland Monsters fell to the Laval Rocket in a seven round shootout last night. Veini Vehvilainen stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced against the Rocket.

Things started out quite well for the Monsters as they spent much of the first five minutes of play in the offensive zone trying to make plays happen. There were many times the Monsters spent tangled with the Rocket along the boards. Neither team wanted the other to have the puck.

Nathan Gerbe was able to put the Monsters on the board 5:18 into the first period with a power play goal. He fired off a shot from the left faceoff dot through traffic past Charlie Lindgren for the 1-0 lead. Kevin Stenlund and Adam Clendening used quick, clean, direct passes to make this goal come to fruition.

Around a minute later, Calvin Thurkauf forced a turnover in front of Lindgren. Before he could fire the puck into the net, Lindgren pokechecked it away. Jakob Lilja picked up the puck and launched it straight at the net. Lindgren quickly threw his body in front of the puck to stop it from entering the crease. It was clear the Monsters were hungry for another goal because fans were treated to multiple plays such as this one during the first period.

With 5:18 left in the first, the Monsters extended their lead to 2-0 over the Rocket. Markus Hannikainen opened up a lane for Gerbe and then quickly dropped him a pass. Gerbe took off down the boards with the puck before throwing it towards the slot. Stenlund skated into the slot, wound up, and one-timed a rocket of a shot into the net for the lead.

The Monsters tried multiple times during the rest of the first period to score more insurance goals. Marko Dano picked off two passes and attempted to turn them into goals. While, Adam Clendening continually fed Stenlund with heavy passes which would turn into painful one-timers.

The second period is where things began to go a bit downhill.

A minute and half into the second, Gerbe sniped a shot into the net. As he began to celebrate, the refs informed everyone it was a “no goal”. Stefan Matteau accidentally bumped into the netminder before the puck entered the net forcing the refs to wipe the goal off the score sheet.

With 13:28 left in the second, a bit of wildness happened for 20 seconds. Vehvilainen stopped a point blank shot. He then quickly checked to make sure the puck was under his glove. As Vehvilainen lifted his glove, one of the Rocket poked it away. Four Monsters converged upon the puck. Hannikainen managed to set Gerbe up with a breakaway. He went one-on-one shootout style with Lindgren but was unable to get it past his skate. After those first two goals, Lindgren kept a close eye on both Stenlund and Gerbe.

Halfway through the second period, the Rocket cut the Monsters’ lead in half, 2-1. Jason Binkley’s bomb from the blue line was blocked upon release of the shot. As he tried to recover it, Dale Weise swept in, picked up the puck, turned on the burners, and sniped it past Vehvilainen’s glove for the goal.

The Monsters were able to prevent the Rocket from scoring another goal in the second. However, the Rocket shut down pretty much every attempt at shooting or the Monsters. When the second period ended, the Monsters only had four registered shots on goal. The last shot the Monsters were able to fire off in the second period was when Gerbe went one-on-one shootout style with Lindgren 6:32 into the period.

The third period was sloppy and undisciplined for the Monsters. They managed to take four penalties in the span on 10 minutes. One of which led to the tying goal for the Rocket with 3:25 left in the game.

Both teams turned up the heat a bit towards the end of regulation but overtime was imminent.

It took the Monsters 33 seconds into overtime to take a penalty. Hannikainen was the offender due to flying into the net while trying to squeak a goal past Lindgren. After the penalty was taken, the Monsters did their best to play a tighter and cleaner game. They didn’t fumble passes and wave their sticks around as much as they did in the third period. Despite their best effort, neither goaltender was cracking. A shootout was coming whether both teams liked it or not.

Lindgren and Vehvilainen were up for the challenge as they stood tall during seven rounds. In the end, it was Weise who got the best of Vehvilainen. The six skaters before Weise slowed to almost a near stop before firing on Vehvilainen. Weise decided to go from barely a skate to warp speed down the slot before launching the puck through Vehvilainen’s five-hole for the game-winning goal.

The Monsters head come for a back-to-back against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Friday December 13th and Saturday December 14th. Both games are at 7pm.

Saturday’s game is the Teddy Bear Toss. Be sure to bring in a brand new, unwrapped stuffed animal to throw on the ice after the Monsters’ score their first goal of the night.

3 Stars

1st - Charles Hudon (Laval Rocket) - 1g, 0a
2nd - Dale Weise (Laval Rocket) - 1g, 0a
3rd - Joe Cox (Laval Rocket) - 0g, 0a

Monsters Lines

Nathan Gerbe - Kevin Stenlund - Markus Hannikainen
Stefan Matteau - Ryan MacInnis - Marko Dano
Jakob Lilja - Justin Scott - Calvin Thurkauf
Sam Vigneault - Derek Barach - Trey Fix-Wolanksky

Monsters Pairs

Gabriel Carlsson - Adam Clendening
Dillon Simpson - Jason Binkley
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby