Belleville Senators (0) at Cleveland Monsters (4)
The Cleveland Monsters and Belleville Senators were back at it on Friday night. To say the two teams were ready to destroy each other would be putting it lightly. This was the ugliest game full of rage and anger I have seen in quite some time. Both the Monsters and Senators laid questionable hit. Some were penalized. Some were not. The two fights that happened were fast and furious with one goal in mind; destroy the opposition. Simply put the refs lost control of the game towards the end of the first period and never tried to reel it back in.
Despite the amount of ugliness on the ice, the Monsters were able to give their fans a bit of beauty as they walked out of Quicken Loans Arena last night.
This season the Monsters have gone in stages with scoring. They either struggle to put points on the board or light it up. Luckily, on Friday night, the Monsters lit the lamp four separate times.
Mark Letestu kicked things off 51 seconds into the game with a nice little snipe from above the crease.
A little under five minutes later, Kole Sherwood extended the Monsters lead to 2-0 with a breakaway back-handed beauty. He put just the right amount of lift on the puck to get it past Marcus Hogberg.
With 6:10 left in the second period, Letestu scored his second goal of the night. Yet again, he opened up shop right above the crease before slamming it into the net.
Almost seven minutes into the third period, Miles Koules banged the puck into the net off Hogberg to extended the Monsters lead to 4-0.
“Good job by my linemates. I think we were just, I know it’s cliche but, playing simple, battling down low. It ended up popping up to me from Sammy and just try to put it in.” - Miles Koules
Brad Thiessen came up big last night stopping all 26 shots thrown his way. Last night, Thiessen made his 7,000th professional save.
Between being the Monsters goalie coach and having to suit up on a nightly basis, Thiessen has been quite the solid guy for the team. Thiessen has excelled in both of his roles and it shows.
“He’s been great. Everyone knows the American Hockey League is a development league. We’ve had guys who have played ahead trying to develop guys into NHL goalies. Brad is another guy who steps in when we need him. Just like he did tonight and done in the past and before we went on the road. He got the win for us.” - Head Coach John Madden
Having a dependable goalie like Jean-Francois Berube as part of the tandem makes it easier for Thiessen to do his job.
“He’s been awesome this year. He’s been a total pro. Like in my situation when I’ve been in and out and trying to help these guys out, he’s been right there all along. He’s been a great partner and I’m really happy for him last night playing the way he did.” - Brad Thiessen
Four Points On the Weekend
Taking four points from the Senators this weekend is huge.
“We knew going into this week that it was kind of whether or not we are playing meaningful games the rest of the year or whether it was going to be a tough finish we put ourselves in a good spot right now. Hopefully we can continue that on.” - Brad Thiessen
The Senators are also fighting for their playoff lives. Currently, they are ranked 5th in the North. Before the weekend series, the Monsters were six points behind the Senators. Hence, the reason why stealing four points from the Senators is a big deal.
Winning these two games didn’t move the Monsters up the leader board. However, it put them in the position to leap frog both the Senators and the Utica Comets.
After this weekend, the Monsters are feeling good and ready to take on their next road trip challenge.
“I think when you’re winning it’s a better feeling in the locker room. You get more energy from that. Everyone’s been having fun. So, Hopefully we can keep that going.” - Miles Koules
1st – Brad Thiessen (26 shots faced, 26 saves, 60:00 TOI)
2nd – Mark Letestu (2g, 0a)
3rd – Kole Sherwood (1g, 0a)
The Monsters have a few days off before packing up and hitting the road. The first game of the roadtrip takes place in Milwaukee against the Admirals at 10:30 am on Wednesday, March 13th.