Laval Rocket (1) at Cleveland Monsters (4)
The Cleveland Monsters headed into tonight with one thing on their mind, beat the Laval Rocket. They were hungry for two points and it showed.
Right off the bat Brad Thiessen pulled out a few slick kick saves. Shortly after those slick saves, Dillon Simpson blocked a shot with the side of his face. How he came back to the game after that I will never know.
As the first period drew on, Adam Clendening started throwing people to the ground and did his best to get under the skin of the Rocket.
With 3:42 left in the period, Clendening launched a shot from the blue line towards the net. Zac Dalpe put his stick down at the right time allowing Clendening’s shot to bounce off of his stick into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The Monsters easily killed a two-man disadvantage to the start the second period.
The fourth line of Brett Gallant, Miles Koules, and Sam Vigneault spent the bulk of their time on the ice attacking the net. There was an abundance of close calls for them during the second. It’s nice to see the fourth line starting to come together.
“When you have responsible guys on the fourth line that can play against any other team’s fourth line or top line when they get out there against them it’s easy for a coach.” – Head Coach John Madden
The Rocket got the best of the Monsters’ second power play unit and tied things up at one with 6:55 left in the second period. Thiessen went to grab a puck that was going behind the net. In a weird twist of fate, the puck ended up ricocheting off the board and flew across the crease. Thiessen tried to get to the puck in time to stop Jake Evans from shooting it into the net. Unfortunately, Thiessen got there a hair too late and couldn’t foil Evans shot.
After the tying goal, the Monsters worked incredibly hard to score again. Momentum was in their favor for four minutes straight. Despite the barrage of shots and incredible play making towards the end of the period, the Monsters and Rocket ended the second in a 1-1 tie.
The Monsters kicked things off with a goal 45 seconds into the third period.
Paul Bittner fanned on his initial shot. Luckily, Bittner made contact with the puck on his second shot attempt. Mark Letestu was able to redirect the puck into the net. The Monsters now had the 2-1 lead over the Rocket.
After Letestu’s goal, the Monsters relaxed a little too much for coach’s liking.
“If I wanted to nitpick about our game, I just didn’t really like the way we sat back in the third once we got the lead. We’re a team that plays on our toes and goes after teams and puts them in bad situations. I think they were trying to conserve a little bit of energy knowing that we are going to be on a bus for five and a half hours and play at five o’clock tomorrow. So, I don’t blame them but at the same time we have to take care of business here.” – Head Coach John Madden
The Monsters made sure to put a lot of distance between them and the Rocket by scoring two empty net goals in the final two minutes of the game.
When the horn blew, the Monsters skated away with the 4-1 win over the Rocket.
After the game, they hopped on the bus and began their trek to Toronto where they will take on the Marlies at 5pm tomorrow.
Due to the tight turnaround, the Monsters are going to have to amend their style of play in their third game in three days.
“Probably keep it simple. Three games in three days and some travel tonight. I think it’s going to be a game where we make sure we’re doing all the little things right and not make a lot of mistakes” – Brad Thiessen
1st – Zac Dalpe (2g, 1a)
2nd – Mark Letestu (1g, 1a)
3rd – Brad Thiessen (23 shots faced, 22 saves, 60:00 TOI)
The Monsters head to Toronto to take on the Marlies at 5pm on Saturday, March 2nd.