Rochester Americans (2) at Cleveland Monsters (5)
The Cleveland Monsters came into tonight’s game against the Rochester Americans hungry for points to move them up the leaderboard.
For the first time in a while, Coach Madden mixed up the lines.
“Guys have been playing in bigger roles and have been playing good. We thought we’d give some guys some chances in situations, but I also like the fact I wanted to have four lines. Typically, Rochester has four lines. Obviously, they are missing a few of their key guys which helped. If we could roll four lines against them, I thought it would be an advantage to us.” – Head Coach John Madden
You could see how much the line changes helped the Monsters right off the bat. They made better decisions when it came to passing and playmaking. The Monsters also had more pep in their step than I have seen in a while.
The Monsters kicked the scoring off with 4:07 left in the first period. Sam Vigneault tossed the puck from behind the net to Kole Sherwood. It had a little lift to it allowing Sherwood to bat it out of the air like a baseball. This left us all wondering if he has a second calling in life.
Soooo @indians... when do right wingers report to #SpringTraining? pic.twitter.com/xJ5mHT4vQB— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) February 13, 2019
The Americans tied the game up a little under three minutes into the second period. A pass from Dillon Simpson intended for Justin Scott was intercepted. This allowed Remi Elie to fire off an almost point-blank shot at Jean-Francois Berube. Instead of firing the puck near Berube’s five-hole, Elie lifted the puck just enough to bounce it off the crossbar into the net.
The third period started off on a bit of dicey note when Vigneault went to the box for holding. After the Monsters successfully killed the penalty, this went swimmingly for the rest of the games.
Vitaly Abramov broke the 1-1 tie 4:23 into the third. He received a pass from Nikita Korostelev and flicked it into the net from the top of the crease.
Seven minutes later, Abramov extended the Monsters over the Americans, 3-1. A shot bounced off Scott Wedgewood’s backside. Abramov swooped in and cleaned up the trash.
“It was great play from the lineys. The first goal was a nice pass from Koro. The second one was MacInnis. He got a nice shot and I had a rebound. It was a great play.” – Vitaly Abramov
With 6:52 left in the game, Sherwood wanted in on the two-goal game fun. Being in the right place at the right time allowed that to happen.
Adam Clendening launched a shot form the blue like that Sherwood was about to bat backwards into the net. Yet again, making us all wonder if he should head to Phoenix with the Cleveland Indians for spring training.
Not even a minute later, the Americans cut the Monsters lead in half. Casey Nelson launched a wicked bomb from the blue line which Wayne Simpson grabbed a piece of before it entered the net.
With around four minutes left in the game, the Americans pulled Wedgewood in hopes of closing the gap on the Monsters. Instead, Paul Bittner scored on the empty net minutes after the Americans pulled their goalie.
The empty netter sealed the deal on the Monsters’ 5-2 win over the Americans.
After this win, the Monsters sit one point behind the Belleville Senators and six points behind the Utica Comets. They will face both of these teams in a back-to-back-to-back this upcoming weekend. Walking away with six points this weekend will prove incredibly beneficial for the Monsters.
1st – Kole Sherwood (2g, 0a)
2nd – Vitaly Abramov (2g, 0a)
3rd – Jean-Francois Berube (28 shots faced, 26 saves, 60:00 TOI)
The Monsters head out on the road and play four games in six nights. On Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th, the Monsters take on the Belleville Senators. Both games start at 7pm.
They then head to Utica to take on the Comets on Sunday, February 17th at 5pm.
The final game of the roadtrip takes place in Rochester against the Americans on Wednesday, February 20th at 7pm.
They return home Friday, February 22nd at 7pm against the Milwaukee Admirals.1