Syracuse Crunch (2) at Cleveland Monsters (1)
The Cleveland Monsters fell to the Syracuse Crunch, 2-1, in front of the hometown fans. Despite the strong showing fom the fans, the Monsters just couldn’t channel the energy into the arena into their game.
“Our fans are probably the best in the league, I would say. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a win for them,” – Head Coach John Madden
Things started off well for the Monsters when Hubert Labrie took a penalty nine seconds into the game. The Monsters spent an awful lot of time in their own zone during their first power play of the night. They tried to set up plays, but nothing was converting to a goal.
Two minutes after time expired on the Labrie penalty, Mark Letestu threw a Syracuse player on the ground and was called for roughing. The Monsters decided to roll out a multitude of different units during the kill. This gave them the energy they needed for the next penalty which would be taken by the Taylor Raddysh with 30 seconds left. The extra energy allowed the Monsters to maintain control of momentum during their 1:30 power play.
Around 6:30 into the first period, Letestu passed the puck across ice to Alex Broadhurst who immediately fired it towards Zac Dalpe. From the top of the crease, Dalpe swung at the puck but only grabbed the edge of the puck. Had Dalpe made full on contact, the likeliness of the puck going in would have been high.
With 7:50 left in the first, Alex Barre-Boulet wrapped the puck around the net and pushed it through Brad Thiessen’s pads to give the Crunch the 1-0 lead.
Almost 40 seconds later, Sonny Milano took a “high sticking” penalty while being sat on by Cory Conacher. The Monsters kill took no mercy on the Crunch stopping them at every turn.
During the final two minutes of the period, Thiessen saw too many shots and shots attempts. If the Monsters wanted any hope of getting out of this game alive, the defense needed to start shutting the Crunch down before they even left the neutral zone.
The second period started out with Ryan Collins firing off rockets from the blue line. Unfortunately, there was no one there to pick up his rebounds or errant shots.
Tommy Cross showed a lot of hustle tonight. Especially with 9:15 left in the second period. He chased down a breakaway before throwing his body on the ground and poking the puck out of scoring range.
With 8:13 left in the second, things started to get a bit sloppy. Passes were ending up on the oppositions stick and they were getting outmuscled. Also, anytime someone had the puck, the Crunch swarmed around the Monsters leaving them unable to make a play.
By the time the end of the second period rolled around, the Crunch were outshooting the Monsters 20-8.
“I think we passed up shots. The first period was kind of even. The second period we passed up shots. Didn’t put any panic in their game and had a hard time covering loose pucks in their zone. They did a good job tonight. Played a lot better defensively. I think overall we came on too late.” – Head Coach John Madden
The Crunch extended their lead over the Monsters 31 seconds into the third period. The puck bounced off the post and off of Thiessen’s pads. Before Thiessen could pounce on the puck, Andy Andreoff flew in for the rebound.
Even though the third period started off with a goal, the Monsters seemed to come out bit stronger in this period than the first two. We don’t really know what Coach said in the locker room during second intermission, but it seemed to hype the players up just a bit.
“I didn’t have any big Ra Ra speech. Just stated the facts. It’s a 1-0 game. We haven’t played our best hockey. Let’s get through the kill and go from there. We were one shot away from tying the game. So, I thought the boys played well in the third. We found our legs and found our game. So, hopefully we continue that for next game.” – Head Coach John Madden
With 7:13 left in the game, Justin Scott broke away from the pack and fired the puck into the net to put the Monsters within one of the Crunch, 2-1.
Scott’s goal was too little, too late. It gave the Monsters just enough energy to not get scored on again. It wasn’t enough to power them to a win.
The Monsters and Crunch battle it out on Thursday at 7pm. It’s not going to be an easy game for Cleveland. The Crunch know what’s at stake. A Monsters win and the Cruncha are done for the season.
“They weren’t going to go away easy. So, we’re going to have to bring a better effort Thursday. When we start playing our game, we’re hard to contain.” – Head Coach John Madden
If the Monsters want to close the series out at home, they have to get back to the basics and start playing the way they did on the road.
1st – Alex Barre-Boulet (1g, 1a)
2nd – Carter Verhaeghe (0g, 2a)
3rd – Justin Scott (1g, 0a)