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Recap: Monsters Start Out Strong, End Flat Against Rocket

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Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Laval Rocket (5) at Cleveland Monsters (4)

After a successful series against the Milwaukee Admirals, the Cleveland Monsters were looking to extend their good fortune to tonight’s game against the Laval Rocket.

They started off incredibly strong scoring two goals in the first 4:31 of the game.

The first goal came courtesy of Ryan Collins who rebounded Zac Dalpe’s shot into the back of the net 3:53 into the first period.

Next up, was a goal from Kole Sherwood at the 4:31 mark. A pass from Mark Letestu bounced off of Sherwood’s stick. Instead of rushing to get the puck, Sherwood paused waiting to see where the puck would go from there. It was a smart decision as the puck bounced off the board and back onto his stick. Upon receiving the puck, Sherwood skated forward a bit before firing a shot from the left faceoff dot.

Thanks to a breakaway goal by Lukas Vejedemo, the Rocket cut the Monsters lead in half 3:05 into the second period.

Paul Bittner didn’t like the fact the Rocket were able to inch closer to the Monsters on the scoreboard. So, 6:29 into the second, Bittner chipped the puck off the right corner of the net to give the Monsters the 3-1 lead.

After Bittner’s goal, the Rocket decided it would be best for the team to replace netminder Charlie Lindgren with Michael McNiven.

As I said, the Monsters started out strong. However, after the Rocket swapped out goalies, the Monsters we saw in the first ten minutes of the game began to slowly fade away.

“We started playing some hockey that I haven’t seen from us in quite some time. The first ten minutes I thought we were good. I thought we did a lot of good things. Then we got on our own page. Once you do that in hockey, you’re in trouble. We couldn’t recover. They just kept coming and kept playing their game. For a team that’s fighting for their playoff lives we didn’t seem to have any energy. We had a power play, we didn’t get any momentum out of it.” – Head Coach John Madden

Nine minutes into the second period, Hayden Verbeek skated through traffic before popping the puck off the corner of the net. The Rocket were within one of the Monsters again, 3-2.

With 5:35 left in the second period, Tommy Cross extended the Monsters lead to 4-2 after one-timing a pass from Kevin Stenlund into the net.

The Monsters tried to hang onto momentum for the rest of the period. Unfortunately, in the final two seconds of the period, the Rocket were able to get back within one of the Monsters, 4-3. Ryan Collins and Sam Vigneault desperately tried to get to the crease in time to clean up a rebound. However, Verbeek got to the puck first and fired it into the net.

The Rocket scored two goals in the first 10:46 of the third period to take a 5-4 lead over the Monsters.

With 3:11 left in the game, Coach Madden pulled Berube from the net in hopes the Monsters would turn back into the team from the first period. This was not the case.

“We really didn’t get much. Maybe a goal line play. They blocked shots. They were just in lanes.” – Head Coach John Madden

The Monsters just couldn’t maintain enough momentum to push the game to overtime. The horn would sound without another Monsters goal.

3 Stars

1st – Jake Evans (1g, 0a)

2nd – Lukas Vejedemo (2g, 0a)

3rd – Hayden Verbeek (2g, 0a)

Game Stats

Monsters Lines

DeSalvo-Letestu-Stenlund
Bittner-Dalpe-Sherwood
Fortier-Scott-Korostelev
Gallant-Vigneault-Koules

Monsters Pairings

Carlsson-Clendening
Somerby-Collins
Cross-Simpson

What’s Next

The Monsters and Rocket battle it out on Friday at 7pm est.