Belleville Senators (1) at Cleveland Monsters (2)
The Belleville Senators rode into tonight’s game on a 17-game point streak. While the Monsters were looking for a win to help push them through the rest of the season.
Within the first two minutes of the game, the Senators were on the board. From below the blue line, Drake Batherson passed the puck to Nick Paul who dropped to his knees before firing the puck through Jean-Francois Berube’s five-hole.
The next eight minutes were pretty dicey for the Monsters.
“We had to protect the slot. I think they threw five or six pucks there in the first 10 minutes and ripped shots. A couple of them (Senators) missed the net. Abramov missed wide on what I thought was a wide open net. Someone else put one over the net. So, we just needed to tighten it up and have more awareness. I think we were a little sleepy and flat when we first started the game.” - Head Coach John Madden
Once the halfway point of the first period hit, the Monsters woke up and decided to participate for a bit.
With 4:06 left in the first period, the second power play unit for the Monsters game up big with the tying goal. Kevin Stenlund fired a shot from the right faceoff dot that Sam Vigneault redirected into the net.
The Senators fired back with a goal with under two minutes to play in the first period. The refs immediately huddled and came to the conclusion it was a no goal due to a distinct kicking motion by Logan Brown. It was quite the questionable call as it appears the puck bounced off of Brown’s skate while he was moving.
The no goal call fired up the Monsters and a few seconds later they took the 2-1 lead.
Nikita Korostelev powered through traffic and fired off a shot which was blocked. He scooped up the puck for the rebound goal.
The second period was a rather interesting one.
First, Brett Gallant tried to fight Justin Falk who politely declined. Probably a smart move as Gallant would have likely destroyed him.
Then, the Monsters had the worst time converting their breakaways into goal. Every shot either went wide or high.
The icing on the cake came during the Monsters two-man advantage in the final five minutes of the second period. The Monsters had 1:19 of 5-on-3 play. They decided to pass-pass-pass-maybe shoot instead of attacking the net. Every shot was from afar and the Senators threw their body in front of every single one.
“We had a little miscommunication with one of our forwards down low who wasn’t on the goal line. That (attacking the net) was kind of the idea. We were looking for that. We were looking for a rollup with a leftie up high and that didn’t happen either. We’ll have to go over what our game plan is on the 5-on-3.” - Head Coach John Madden
Both the Monsters and Senators were a bit all over the place in the third place. However, it was the Monsters who had the upper hand in the last 1:05 of the game.
“We were doing a good job of keeping the play on the outside. I don’t remember a scoring chance from them at the end there. So, we did a really good job staying composed.” - Jean-Francois Berube
As time wound down, the Monsters’ composure helped them keep the Senators in check. When the horn blew the Monsters skated away with a regulation win snapping the Senators 17-game point streak.
Taking two points from this game was huge for the Monsters as it helps them slowly climb the leaderboard.
“They’ve been playing really well. We’re trying to catch them and other teams in front of us. So, that’s a huge two points for us.” - Jean-Francois Berube
1st – Nikita Korostelev (1g, 0a)
2nd – Sam Vigneault (1g, 0a)
3rd – Jean-Francois Berube (25 shots faced, 24 saves,60:00 TOI)
The Monsters and Senators are back in action on Friday, March 7th at 7pm. Monsters games are always fun but they are even better when the Mullet Brothers are back in the house.