Cleveland Monsters (2) at Toronto Marlies (5)
The Cleveland Monsters knew it would not be easy to beat the defending Calder Cup champions, the Toronto Marlies. They had to enter tonight’s game with strength, confidence, and skill in order to make a statement in game one.
A statement was made. It just wasn’t a good one.
Things started off alright for the Monsters. The special teams saw eight minutes of ice time during the first period due to the Monsters and Marlies alternating penalties. Neither the Marlies or Monsters special teams looked playoff ready. The Monsters power play was full of turnovers and weird passes.
There were a few bright spots for the Monsters during the first period of play. Brad Thiessen shone bright basically standing on his head to stop any shot which came towards the net. As time wound down on the first period, it was clear Thiessen was getting tired and slightly frustrated.
The other bright spot in the first period was the incredible play by Tommy Cross and Mark Letestu that led to the first goal of the night.
From the middle of the blue line, Cross tossed the puck to Letestu who was posted near the boards. Upon receiving the puck, Letestu fired it back to Cross who launched the puck from the blue line into the back of the net.
The second period was quite possibly the worst period of hockey the Monsters have played in a long time. They were sloppy, frazzled, allowed four goals, and took four penalties in a row.
Pierre Engvall fired a shot down the slow and through Thiessen’s five-hole to tie the game 2:15 into the second period.
The Monsters were able to take the 2-1 lead 5:37 into the period. Mark Letestu passed the puck off to Sonny Milano as he was flying by the left faceoff circle. Milano started to skate around the back of the net before he realized the Marlies were headed towards the other side of the net. Instead of trying to muscle through traffic, Milano fired the puck to an unattended Letestu who slammed it home.
After this goal, things quickly went downhill for the Monsters. They took four penalties in the last 8:39 of the second. Three of those penalties turned into goals for the Marlies.
Almost 12 minutes into the second, the Marlies tied the game at two. Trevor Moore passed the puck across the top of the crease to Chris Mueller who slammed it into the left side of the net. Thiessen was sealing up the right side of the net in case Moore decided to take the shot. It was defender Garret Cockerill who didn’t seal the left side allowing the Marlies to swoop in and score.
With 5:45 left in the second, Dmytro Timashov went topshelf on Thiessen to make it 3-2 for the Marlies.
A minute and a half later, the Marlies extended their lead over the Monsters to 4-2. Jeremy Bracco launched a shot at the net which banged off the post. With no defense around, Moore was able to grab the puck from behind Thiessen and push it across the goal line.
The second period ended with Zac Dalpe and Ryan MacInnis peppering Kasimir Kaskisuo with shots and shot attempts. Both became incredibly tired and frustrated with their inability to convert shots into goals.
The tiredness and frustration spilled over into the third period. By this point, there was no saving the game for the Monsters.
Moore sealed the deal for the Marlies by firing the puck into the empty net with 16 seconds left in the game.
1st – Jeremy Bracco (0g, 4a)
2nd – Rasmus Sandin (0g, 2a)
3rd – Trevor Moore (2g, 1a)
The Monsters and Marlies meet for game two on Friday at 7pm.