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Cleveland Monsters fall to Rockford IceHogs, 4-1

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Cleveland Monsters (1) at Rockford IceHogs (4)

Heading into tonight’s game, the Cleveland Monsters needed to skate away with a win to keep themselves from entering the bottom of the division. Unfortunately, a win was not in their future as they fell to the Rockford IceHogs 4-1.

So, what went wrong in tonight’s game? Enough.

Almost immediately the Monsters had to head into battle down a man when Sam Vigneault took a slashing penalty 2:45 into the game. Normally this wouldn’t be such a bad thing. However, Branden Troock was going one-on-one with Colin Delia as the penalty was being called. The play was blown dead before Troock could fire off a point blank shot. For all we know, the puck might have been quickly kicked away. If this was the case, Vigneault was close enough that he could have picked up a rebound.

Plus, the Monsters struggled on the penalty kill all night. They struggled to close up shooting and passing lanes. Most of their time on the kill was spent hemmed in their defensive zone.

Picking up rebounds was a point of struggle for most of the Monsters. Which made it seem like quite an odd choice for the defense to continue to fire pucks from the point.

Yet again, the late game penalties left the Monsters fighting hard to maintain momentum as the clock wound down.

Now, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Monsters. There were some bright spots in tonight’s game. For starters, Maxime Fortier was the lone member of Monsters to light the lamp tonight. Boy, was it a beauty of a goal. Fortier received the puck behind the net and skated backwards towards the faceoff circle. During his trip to the faceoff circle, Fortier focused on the net waiting for his chance to shine. As Fortier neared the faceoff dot, a path to the net opened and, without hesitation, he launched the shot into the net for the goal. This goal highlighted Fortier’s strength in decision making.

Another bright spot for the Monsters was Brad Thiessen’s ability to stop a flurry of rebounded shots. The score could have been much higher in a short amount of time if Thiessen wasn’t playing at a high level tonight.

Markus Hannikainen forced turnovers all night. While, Calvin Thurkauf broke up multiple shot attempts and picked up every single one of his rebounds.

The few good things weren’t enough to power a tired, frustrated, and out of sorts team to a victory. They’ll need to fix a lot before they hit the ice against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday at 3pm CST.

3 Stars

1st - Colin Delia (Rockford IceHogs) - 27 saves, 28 shots faced, 59:57 TOI
2nd - Ian McCoshen (Rockford IceHogs) - 2g, 0a
3rd - Dylan Sikura (Rockford IceHogs) - 1g, 0a

Monsters Lines

Stefan Matteau - Ryan MacInnis - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Markus Hannikainen - Derek Barach - Kole Sherwood
Paul Bittner - Calvin Thurkauf - Maxime Fortier
Brett Gallant - Sam Vigneault- Branden Troock

Monsters Pairs

Steve Johnson - Adam Clendening
Michael Prapavessis- Dillon Simpson
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby