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Three takeaways from the Cleveland Monsters shutout loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Cleveland Monsters (0) at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (2)

The Cleveland Monsters were shutout by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 2-0, in a high intensity battle on Sunday afternoon. Both teams put up a fight causing the first goal of the night to not be seen until there was 2:14 left in the game.

Despite the low score, a lot happened in yesterday afternoon’s game. It shed light on what each player brings to the game. Those will be explained in great length when “State of the Monsters Address” drops on Tuesday (tomorrow).

As the whole team is concerned, three things stood out during the yesterday’s tilt against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The Monsters put up 35 shots to the Phantoms’ 16 shots. In net for the Phantoms was former Monsters, Jean-Francois Berube. At least 10 of his saves were highlight reel saves last night. There were two wraparound shots Berube denied without even looking. He just slammed his pads against the post and denied the shot while keeping his eyes on the other side of the crease.

Of the Monsters 35 registered shots on goal, only five of them were lofted or softly shot. Half of the shots were considered “scoring chances”. The Monsters kept Berube on his toes by firing shots at the net when he wasn’t even in the crease. Yet, Berube continued to amaze everyone on the ice and in the stands with his ability to close up holes and glide across the crease with ease. The only place I didn’t see the Monsters try to attack was Berube’s five-hole via the slot. All of their shots from the slot hit the middle to upper part of the netminder.

The Power Play is starting to shape up for the Monsters. Granted, the Monsters were 0 for 3 on the pp yesterday. However, this stat does not tell the full story of how the man advantage shook out. As I mentioned earlier, Berube brought his “A” game yesterday making it difficult for the Monster to get on the board. The same held true during the man advantage.

The Monsters started most of their pps off by winning the faceoff. This set many plays in motion and allowed their best player on the man advantage, Adam Clendening, to find his spot on the point undetected by the Phantoms.

Every Monster was active and alert during the power play. They communicated with flips of sticks, hand motions, and words. Despite the lack of scoring, these were some of the best power plays the Monsters have seen all season.

Untimely penalties killed the Monsters’ momentum. Both of the Monsters penalty kills came due to late period penalties. Towards the end of the first period, the Monsters were starting to get something cooking. Then, Steve Johnson took a tripping penalty with 2:11 to play in the period. The kill did their best to maintain the momentum the team initially had going at even strength. However, the Phantoms were able to match them and foil multiple attempts at getting good, solid scoring chances.

With 4:16 left in the game, Kole Sherwood took a tripping penalty. Taking a penalty in the final five minutes of play always makes for an uphill climb. Especially when the game is tied at zero. To add insult to injury, the Monsters were on the cusp of total control when the penalty was assessed. The Monsters were able to successfully kill the penalty but they just couldn’t get the momentum to swing back in their favor.

In the end, the lack of total control by the Monsters is what gave the Phantoms the 2-0 win.

The Monsters continue their roadtrip on Wednesday night at 7pm where they will take on the Binghamton Devils.

3 Stars

1st - Jean-Francois Berube (Lehigh Valley Phantoms) - 35 saves, 35 shots faced,59:39 TOI
2nd - Cal O’Reilly (Lehigh Valley Phantoms) - 1g, 0a
3rd - Maksim Sushko (Lehigh Valley Phantoms) - 1g, 0a

Monsters Lines

Stefan Matteau - Derek Barach - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Marko Dano - Justin Scott - Kole Sherwood
Paul Bittner - Sam Vigneault - Calvin Thurkauf
Brett Gallant - Maxime Fortier - Abbott Girduckis

Monsters Pairs

Steve Johnson - Adam Clendening
Brandon Anselmini - Dillon Simpson
Michael Prapavessis - Doyle Somerby