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Recap: Letestu, Stenlund Lead Monsters to Last Second Overtime Win

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The Cleveland Monsters took down the Milwaukee Admirals in the final second of overtime. Mark Letestu came up big with the game winner. While Kevin Stenlund’s two goals helped power the team.

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Milwaukee Admirals (5) at Cleveland Monsters (6) - Overtime

The Cleveland Monsters and Milwaukee Admirals were back at it again today for a late afternoon tilt at Quicken Loans Arena.

Both teams wanted to walk away from tonight’s game with two points. So, you knew it was going to be quite the wild ride.

The Monsters kicked the scoring off with a power play goal 6:56 into the game. Adam Clendening launched a rocket from the blue line that Zac Dalpe redirected into the back of the net.

A minute and 10 seconds later, Dillon Simpson went topshelf on Tom McCollum from the near faceoff dot.

The Admirals wanted in on the fun. So, 9:16 into the first period, Justin Kirkland stole the puck from Kevin Stenlund and powered down the ice for a breakaway goal. This put the Admirals within one of the Monsters, 2-1.

Both teams turned up the heat for the rest of the period. Especially the Monsters defense. Ryan Collins continually cleaned the trash out of the crease. While, Clendening made a lot of smart plays and blocks.

The second period was just as wild as the first.

Eeli Tolvanen took off with the puck 37 seconds into the period. Spotting Laurent Dauphin, he fired the puck across the ice to his linemate. Upon receiving the puck, Dauphin slapped it into the net for the equalizer goal, 2-2.

A little over halfway through the second, Justin Scott stole the puck from Frederic Allard and barreled down the ice towards McCollum. He faked like he was going to shot towards the left side of the net. Then, quickly backhanded the puck to the right for tie breaking goal, 3-2.

Towards the end of the second and at the beginning of the third period, Stenlund decided to join the fun with not one, but two goal. Both goals came to fruition due to great passing by his teammates.

“First one, got a good pass off Sammy (Vigneault) and shot it in. I got a great pass from Kole (Sherwood) on the second one,” – Kevin Stenlund

Despite leading 5-2, things didn’t end up going too well for the Monsters in the third.

“Not the way we drew up the third period. At the end of the day they (Admirals) have some say in the game. We fell asleep a little bit. They capitalized on some chances,” – Head Coach John Madden

The Monsters allowed the Admirals to score three goals in the third. Just in case you aren’t good at math that means the Admirals were able to tie the game.

A little over nine minutes into the third period, Dauphin fired off a nice pass to Baptiste who launched it into the net from the faceoff dot to the left of Jean-Francois Berube.

With 4:50 to play in the game, the Admirals pulled within one of the Monsters, 5-4. Joe Pendenza fired a Hail Mary style shot from below the blue line through traffic. Nick Baptiste was standing in just the right place and the right time to receive the puck. He skated backwards a few inches before firing the puck through Gabriel Carlsson’s skates into the back of the net.

Two and a half minutes later, Eeli Tolvanen tied the game at five. Colin Blackwell skated towards the left side of the net. Every single Monster on the ice including Berube skated to the left side of the net leaving the right side WIDE OPEN. Noticing the opening, Tolvanen quickly raced down the ice towards Berube’s right side. Instead of firing a shot, Blackwell passed the puck over to Tolvanen who lofted the puck into the empty side of the net.

For the 18th time this season, the Monsters were headed to overtime with their opponent.

There were many great looks by both the Monsters and the Admirals. However, neither team was able to sneak one past the goalie.

With 12 seconds left in overtime, the Admirals decided to call a timeout. Knowing they must be cooking up a big play, Coach Madden took the time to draw up different plays to help them hit their number one goal; win.

Time wound down slowly. Everyone was settling into their seats expecting to see a shootout.

Just as time was running out, Mark Letestu slammed home the game winning goal to give the Monsters a much needed win.

“Tommy actually makes a great play with a toe drag and a shot. It’s rare that a puck comes off the crossbar like that and just sticks on somebody’s stick.” – Mark Letestu

The Monsters may have won the game, but it should never have gotten to overtime.

“We gotta do a better job of closing it down. We got two points. So, that’s good.” – Kevin Stenlund

Yes, the Monsters need to do a better job of shutting things down in regulation. They had a 4-2 lead going into the third and somehow managed to squander it away.

“It’s nice to win. It’s disappointing that it got that far. We really have to learn if we want to be a playoff team to close these games out and secure two points before the extra frame,” – Mark Letestu

Continuing to allow the opposing team to walk away with a point is only going to hurt them in the long run.

On the plus side, the Monsters were able to score in every scenario. Power play, shorthanded, even strength, and three-on-three overtime. There’s something to be said about how the Monsters’ all-around game is taking shape.

“It’s great. I mean, we’re getting goal production from everybody. Scottie had a nice shorthanded goal, Stenlund scored twice, Dalps scored again. We’re getting contribution from everybody and that’s huge for us”- Head Coach John Madden

3 Stars

1st – Mark Letestu (1g, 0a, game winner)

2nd – Kevin Stenlund (2g, 0a)

3rd – Nick Baptiste (2g, 0a)

Game Stats

Monsters Lines

DeSalvo-Letestu-Stenlund
Scott-MacInnis-Korostelev
Bittner-Dalpe-Sherwood
Gallant-Vigneualt-Koules

Monsters Pairings

Somerby-Collins
Carlsson-Clendening
Cross-Simpson

What’s Next

The Monsters take on the Laval Rocket in a back-to-back homestand on Thursday, February 28th and March 1st. Both games start at 7pm.

After Friday night’s game, the Monsters travel to Toronto to take on the Marlies at 5pm.