Toronto Marlies (2) at Cleveland Monsters (5)
After a disappointing overtime loss to the Rochester Americans on Wednesday, the Cleveland Monsters were looking to turn things around against the Toronto Marlies. On the other side of things, the Marlies came into tonight’s game with only two wins in the past 10 games.
Fueled by the hunger to win, both teams were fired up from the moment the puck dropped at center ice. This made the first four minutes of the game quite entertaining. “Well first of all, it’s kind of interesting, I don’t think I’ve been in a game where the first three shots go in the net,” said Head Coach Mike Eaves on two teams incredible start to the game.
Dillon Simpson put the Monsters gave the Monsters the 1-0 lead 1:28 into the game. “The first one, I’m not usually the guy tipping pucks in front but Thurk (Calvin Thurkauf) and I made eye contact. He threw it on net and I got a piece of it,” SImpson said of his first goal of the night.
A little over two minutes later, Simpson sniped his second goal of the night into the net from the faceoff circle to give the Monsters the 2-0 lead. Simpson described this goal as a right place, right time type of goal, “The second one, just coming off the bench right on my stick. Didn’t have to do much. Just picked a spot and it went in.”
Despite having two quick goals, Coach Eaves and the Monsters kept their calm and didn’t get too excited about the early lead. “It’s a long game,” explained Coach Eaves, “You gotta keep playing.”
The Marlies were able to cut the Monsters lead in half, 2-1, courtesy of snipe from the near faceoff dot by Trevor Moore 3:54 into the game. After the Marlies scored, both teams netminders were able to keep their opponents at bay.
Matiss Kivlenieks and the defense worked together during the remainder of the first period to prevent the Marlies from tying the game. One of the highlights of their teammwork came when Kivlenieks kicked away a shot attempt and Gabriel Carlsson rushed into the slot to knock the puck into the neutral zone.
The second period brought four power plays for the Monsters. All four power plays looked incredibly strong. They fired off multiple shots from the point, the net was consistently rushed, and not once did the Monsters fall into the pass-pass-pass trap. Kasimir Kaskisuo and the Marlies’ kill definitely got a workout during the second.
However, it was the first pp of the second period which proved fruitful for the Monsters. Adam Clendening kicked things off by firing a shot from the point that Kaskisuo immediately blocked. Marko Dano tried to push the rebound through his pads but was unsuccessful. Due to the fact Clendening is known for firing off shots from the point on the power play, the Marlies didn’t have eyes on Trey Fix-Wolansky who was able to sneak into the slot and receive a bouncing pass from Kevin Stenlund. Upon receiving the puck, Fix-Wolansky had just enough time to line the puck up with the goal before firing it into the net for the 3-1 lead.
The Monsters and Marlies continued to match each others energy for the entirety of the third period. Even though the Marlies matched Cleveland’s intensity, the Monsters were able to maintain momentum for much of the final stanza of play.
Momentum started to sway in favor of the Marlies when the Monsters had to kill a 55 second two-man disadvantage with 2:40 left in the game. The Monsters did panic once while on the kill. “It’s about focusing on what we can control,” explained Coach Eaves, “Vogues (Coach Vogelhuber) was talking to our young guys about what we needed to do and go them on page.”
Not long after the it became 5-on-4 hockey the Marlies were able to get within one of the Monsters, 3-2. After scoring the goal, the Marlies took the opportunity to control momentum and pulled Kaskisuo for the extra attacker. In theory, a move like this would allow the Marlies to tie the game at three. The Monsters hunger for a win blew this theory out of the water. In the final 45.7 second of the game, the Monsters scored two empty net goals to seal the win, 5-2, in favor of Cleveland.
The Monsters will have a shot at another win on Saturday when the two teams play at 1pm.
1st - Dillon Simpson (Cleveland Monsters) - 2g, 1a
2nd - Trey Fix-Wolansky (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 1a
3rd - Matiss Kivlenieks (Cleveland Monsters) - 35 saves, 37 shots faced, 59:43 TOI
Stefan Matteau - Kevin Stenlund - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Marko Dano - Ryan MacInnis - Kole Sherwood
Calvin Thurkauf - Sam Vigneault - Paul Bittner
Brett Gallant - Derek Barach - Maxime Fortier
Gabriel Carlsson - Adam Clendening
Dillon Simpson - Andrew Peeke
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby