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Recap: Monsters Inch Closer to the Playoffs With Win Over Bears

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Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Hershey Bears (2) at Cleveland Monsters (5)

The last time the Hershey Bears and Cleveland Monsters met in Quicken Loans Arena was June 12, 2016. In case you didn’t know, this was the night the Monsters won the Calder Cup Championship in overtime. So, it’s only fitting they would play each other at The Q on a weekend when the Monsters playoff hopes depend upon beating the Bears.

Arriving in Cleveland around the time the sun was rising, the Monsters were playing at a disadvantage. Yet, they started the game off fairly strong. They didn’t zoom out the gate, but they didn’t look zombies either. Brett Gallant was the most awake of them all. He started the game laying bone rattling hit after bone rattling hit.

Some of the Monsters energy may have stemmed from a pregame speech Head Coach John Madden gave the team.

“The first thing I said to the guys in our meeting today was ‘No Excuses’. We know we got in at four in the morning. Lack of rest is going to be there but get your mental game together. There are things we can control even though we are a little tired.” – Head Coach John Madden

The Monsters struck first with 8:39 left in the first period. Defender Tommy Cross slapped the puck down the slot past Ilya Samsonov for the goal.

“It was just a faceoff play. Testy won the draw and snapped it back. Texy made a good play. Kind of put it on a tee for me and I just let it rip. We’ve been talking about trying it and those guys set it up perfect.” – Tommy Cross

Not even a full minute later, the Bears tied the game at one.

Shane Gersich skated around the back of the net and fired the puck towards Brad Thiessen. Standing at the top of the crease, Steve Whitney brushed the puck with the back of his stick into the net.

Mike Sgarbossa broke the tie 13 seconds into the second period with a rebound goal.

With the exception of Sgarbossa’s period opening goal, the Monsters looked livelier in the second than the first. I wonder if any of them took a power nap during first intermission.

Alexandre Texier tied the game 47 seconds into the second. Dan DeSalvo took off down the ice with the puck. Upon realizing Jonas Siegenthaler was in the perfect spot to block his shot, DeSalvo quickly tossed the puck to Dillon Simpson who was nearby. Simpson backhanded the puck towards the net and Texier made sure it crossed the goal line.

The next goal wouldn’t come until there was 5:55 left in the second period. It came from Kevin Stenlund from the top of the faceoff circle to give the Monsters the 3-2 lead over the Bears.

For the first five minutes of the third period, the Bears played a rather sloppy game. You would have thought they were the ones who arrived in Cleveland at the crack of dawn.

A little under seven minutes into the third period the Monsters extended their lead to 4-2. DeSalvo picked the puck up off the boards behind the net and sauced it to Zac Dalpe. From the crease, Dalpe slammed it home for the goal.

Mark Letestu sealed the deal for the Monsters, 5-2, with an empty net goal mere minutes before the end of the game.

Tonight’s win was huge for the Monsters. With both the Belleville Senators and Utica Comets losing tonight, the Monsters sit two points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand.

A win tomorrow will put the Monsters in the coveted playoff spot. However, the Monsters must keep winning to hold onto the final spot.

3 Stars

1st – Alexandre Texier (1g, 2a)

2nd – Kevin Stenlund (1g, 0a)

3rd – Dan DeSalvo (0g, 2a)

Game Stats

Monsters Lines

Texier-Letestu-DeSalvo
Barach-Dalpe-Sherwood
MacInnis-Scott-Korostelev
Gallant-Vigneault-Stenlund

Monsters Pairings

Cross-Cockerill
Clendening-Simpson
Somerby-Collins

What’s Next

The Monsters and Bears meet again Sunday at 3pm. It’s pucks and paws night. So, you better believe it’s going to be one wild night.