Milwaukee Admirals (4) at Cleveland Monsters (5)
The Cleveland Monsters took down the Milwaukee Admirals, 5-4, in an afternoon tilt. Beating the number one team in the league two nights in a row is quite a big deal for a team dealing with multiple injuries and call-ups. It allows a team’s confidence to boost to new levels knowing they can hang with the big dogs. “I think there is a feeling inside the room that they know they’re a good group,” explained Head Coach Mike Eaves, “We play in a very competitive division. I think there is an internal feeling and a win like this helps feed that.”
Part of the Monsters success tonight stemmed from netminder Brad Thiessen who started for the first time since April of 2019. He stopped 28 of 32 shots and was one of their best penalty killers of the night.
“It was fun. Anytime we get those competitive juices flowing again and get out there with the guys, it’s fun to be a part of,” Thiessen said of his start in net, “Always more fun when you win too.”
Earlier in the week, Coach Eaves mentioned Thiessen had to change his mindset from coach to player. Thiessen touched on how sitting on the bench the past three games allowed him to prepare for this afternoon’s start. “To kind of get a feel going through warm-ups and all those kind of things. Then, that helped to kind of get me into that frame of mind today,” said Thiessen.
One of the things Coach Eaves enjoyed about having Thiessen in net is the fact he embodies the “best next shift” mentality. “Being a veteran guy it’s about the ‘W’ and having a short term memory about the goal that went in and get ready for the next shot,” Coach Eaves said of Thiessen’s mentality.
Thiessen’s strong mind allowed him to stand tall when the Monsters struggled on the three power plays they had in the first 10 minutes of the game. Despite having the extra man for the majority of the first half of the period, the Monsters couldn’t keep the puck off of the Admiral’s sticks.
With 1:24 left in the first period, the Admirals were able to finally get one past Thiessen. Daniel Carr skated through the right faceoff circle before cutting around Adam Clendening and quickly sniping a shot into the net.
Last night’s second period was full of fights and intensity. This afternoon’s second period was full of goals. The Monsters and Admirals scored two goals each during the middle stanza of play.
The Monsters tied the game at one 3:02 into the second period. While Paul Bittner screened Troy Grosenick, Trey Fix-Wolansky put himself into position to snipe the puck through Grosenick’s five-hole. Once Bittner moved slightly to the side, Fix-Wolansky fired the puck home for the goal.
Before PA announcer Jasen Sokol could finish announcing the Monsters first goal, Derek Barach fired a back handed dandy down the slot for the 2-1 lead over the Admirals. Kole Sherwood set the play in motion which allowed Marko Dano to set up Barach.
Put the ol' razzle dazzle on 'em pic.twitter.com/V6ISJQ3s73— Cleveland Lumberjacks (@monstershockey) January 4, 2020
The Monsters were able to maintain control of the second until the final 3:19 of the period when Sherwood took a slashing penalty. Thiessen managed to stop multiple shots from the Admirals despite being screened by Doyle Somerby three times. However, the Admirals were able to find the chink in Thiessen’s armor with eight seconds left in the penatly. Anthony Richard was the culprit as he tipped a shot from Tommy Novak out of the air and into the net.
With 11 seconds left in the second, Frederick Gaudreau gave the Admirals the 3-2 lead with a breakaway goal.
The scoring continued into the third when Stefan Matteau launched a shot from between the top of the faceoff circles, down the slot, and into the back of the net for the 3-3 tie 3:42 into the period.
It took the Admirals six and a half minutes to take the 4-3 lead over the Monsters. Thiessen stopped the initial shot by Cole Schneider. With no one around to help Thiessen, Rem Pitlick was able to push the rebound across the goal line for the goal.
The Monsters took momentum into their hands by scoring two goals almost two minutes a part in the final 3:30 of the game. Both Dillon Simpson and Adam Clendening launched shots from just below the blue line to make these goals come to fruition.
These goals gave the Monsters the energy to finish strong in front of the home crowd. “When you score and your at your home crowd, it creates energy,” explained Coach Eaves of the two late period goals, “It’s really important that happened. Sometimes momentum is a wave you can’t stop.”
The Monsters scored two goals late in the third period not even two minutes from one another to take home the win.— Elaine Shircliff (@imaraindancer) January 4, 2020
Coach Eaves talked a bit about how that can change the momentum of a game. #clemonsters #mkevscle pic.twitter.com/TG6gayYddJ
Coach Eaves felt as though tonight’s win showed “the team’s ability to be behind and stay with it and get the job done.”
The Monsters hit the open road this week and won’t return to Cleveland until January 22nd. While away, the Monsters will play six games over nine days.
1st - Dillon Simpson (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 3a
2nd - Adam Clendening (Cleveland Monsters) - 1g, 1a
3rd - Brad Thiessen (Cleveland Monsters) - 28 saves, 32 shots faced, 60:00 TOI
Stefan Matteau - Derek Barach - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Kole Sherwood - Justin Scott - Marko Dano
Paul Bittner - Sam Vigneault - Calvin Thurkauf
Brett Gallant - Maxime Fortier - Abbott Girduckis
Anton Karlsson - Adam Clendening
Steve Johnson - Dillon Simpson
Michael Prapavessis - Doyle Somerby