Rochester Americans (2) at Cleveland Monsters (1)
The Cleveland Monsters fell tonight in a pivotal game against the Rochester Americans. Mark Letestu scored the lone goal for the Monsters in the third period. While, Tage Thompson got the best of the Monsters, not once, but twice, with his laser beam shot.
Head Coach John Madden spoke highly of Thompson stating, “there aren’t many goalies in the league who could stop him”. Yet, knowing this, the Monsters continued to leave him unattended throughout the game. Leaving highly talented opponents to their own devices has been one of the Achilles tendons of the Monsters this season. Tonight, was not the first time this has happened. If the Monsters want to get into the playoffs, applying pressure to star opponents is imperative. Not allowing prolific scores time to breathe or think will prove beneficial to the team in the long run.
Another area the Monsters struggled with tonight was scoring. They fired a barrage of shots, 37 to be exact, at Scott Wedgewood. There were very few good looks on net. As Coach Madden said, “We put a few muffins on net.” They are at the point in the season where “muffins” could mean the difference between paying until June and ending in April.
The one goal the Monsters scored was actually knocked in by the American’s winger, Taylor Leier. So, if we want to get technical, the Americans scored all three goals tonight.
The Monsters also struggled on the power play. There were multiple times where it looked like they were killing a penalty instead of having the man-advantage. The good news is Coach Madden is hopeful that Sonny Milano and Alex Broadhurst will be back in the lineup on Thursday. According to Madden the return of those two “will boost our lineup and obviously power play.”
While tonight’s loss was a huge blow to the Monsters lead over the Belleville Senators in the standings, all is not lost. As the season winds down, they still control their own destiny. “We don’t have a game in hand, but we have one point up,” said Coach Madden, “We’re still in the driver’s seat”.
The Monsters take on the number one team in the league, the Charlotte Checkers, on Thursday and Friday. They must bring their “A” game against the Checkers. It’s one of two ways they will make it out of the regular season alive. The other involves the Senators losing their last three games of the season. Since they are battling with the Monsters for the last playoff, dropping their last three games is highly unlikely.
1st – Tage Thompson (2g, 0a)
2nd – Scott Wedgewood (37 shots faced, 36 saves, 60:00 TOI)
3rd – Mark Letestu (1g, 0a)
The Monsters 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.
Here’s hoping Sunday won’t be the last game of the season.