Cleveland Monsters (5) at Laval Rocket (0)
Heading into tonight’s game the Cleveland Monsters were looking to extend their seven-game point-streak to eight. A win would keep them in playoff contention and mathematically eliminate the Laval Rocket. Both teams had a lot on the line tonight.
The night started off a bit weird for the Monsters. For the first 12 minutes of the game, they had two power plays end early because someone took a penalty. Granted, the first penalty happened because Alexandre Texier was trying to stop Hayden Verbeek from scoring on a breakaway.
After the second four-on-four, the Monsters started to settle down a bit and were able to score with 6:40 left in the first. Zac Dalpe backhanded the puck to Texier who fired it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The second period started with the Monsters firing off a few nice shots on net.
Brad Thiessen also showed off some of his quick thinking and fancy moves in the first half of the second.
The Monsters extended their lead over the Rocket 9:22 into the second.
As Doyle Somerby was being slammed into the boards, he quickly passed the puck off to Texier. From the left faceoff circle, he fired the puck into the net for the Monsters second goal of the night.
With 1:08 left in the second period, Gabriel Carlsson extended the Monsters lead, 3-0, with a quick release shot from the slot.
The third period started with the Monsters getting within inches of scoring multiple goals. Connor LaCouvee foiled them at every turn.
Luckily, after forcing a turnover, Derek Barach was able to crack LaCouvee’s code to give the Monsters the 4-0 lead over the Rocket 3:36 into the period.
Almost 12 minutes into the third, Michael Pezzetta ran Thiessen. Tommy Cross was not a fan of his goalie getting accosted. So, Cross took matters into his own hands and cross-checked Pezzetta behind the net. Pezzetta dropped the gloves and challenged Cross to a duel of fists.
This fight amped up both the Monsters and Rocket. The Rocket continued to sit atop the crease and the Monsters defense kept clearing them out.
With 5:47 left in the game, the puck bounced off the net right onto Kevin Stenund’s stick. He quickly fired the puck into the net to give the Monsters the 5-0 lead over the Rocket. The Monsters proceeded to play keep away for the rest of the period.
The Monsters and Rocket face off again on Friday night at 7pm.
Friday will not be an easy game. The Rocket know what is at stake for the Monsters and have no problem making the road to playoffs a bumpy one.
1st – Alexandre Texier (2g, 0a)
2nd – Zac Dalpe (0g, 1a)
3rd – Brad Thiessen (20 shots faced, 20 saves, 59:58 TOI, SHUT OUT)
The Rocket and Monsters meet again on Friday, April 5th at 7pm.
On Saturday, April 6th, the Monsters take on their new nemesis the Belleville Senators at 7pm. Both teams are in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the North division. Beating Belleville will positively set the tone for the rest of the season.
After the Canadian road trip, the Monsters come home for their three final home games of the 2018-19 season. On Monday, April 8th, they play against the Rochester Americans for the final time this season. Puck drops at 7 pm. They end their homestand on Thursday, April 11th and Friday, April 12th against the Charlotte Checkers. Both games start at 7pm.
The Monsters close their season in Toronto against the Marlies on Sunday, April 14th at 4pm.