Belleville Senators (5) at Cleveland Monsters (1)
After two and a half weeks on the road and only three points to show for it, the Cleveland Monsters were excited to get home. A little under 13,000 fans streamed into the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to watch their hometown team take on the Belleville Senators.
Things started out well for the Monsters as Brad Thiessen pulled out a few big saves in the first six minutes of the game. One of which Thiessen managed to kick save out of the playing area. This was due to the velocity of the shot paired with the quickness in which Thiessen got his pad on the puck causing it to launch high into the air and out of play.
Thiessen was able to have a bit of breathing room in the first thanks to the communication efforts between Doyle Somerby and Anton Karlsson that prevented the Senators from being able to get in scoring range. On the offensive side of things, Kole Sherwood, Branden Troock,and Maxime Fortier provided multiple breakaways and picked a few pockets in the first. By doing this, they were able to keep play in the Monsters’ offensive zone for the bulk of the opening period.
Despite the good things that came out of the first period, the Senators were the first to light the lamp. The goal came on the power play with 17.9 seconds left in the first due to a broken play.
“I really liked that first period. We were down a goal, kind of a broken play on their power play,” Head Coach Mike Eaves said of the game, “We did a lot of good things and we were excited about starting the second period. But then it just unraveled.” The game slowly began to unravel 1:28 into the second period when the Senators extended their lead to 2-0. Then Bryan Moore took six minutes worth of penalties 3:49 into the second. Moore didn’t like the extra shove Chlapik gave him. So, he proceeded to try and fight Chlapik. The refs quickly ended the fight the altercation but the animosity lingered in the air.
While the Monsters were killing Moore’s penalties, Adam Clendening took a slashing penalty putting Cleveland on the two-man disadvantage. Within 20 seconds, the Senators extended their leave to 3-0. Just as the Monsters started to take control of their penalty kill, the Senators took advantage of a breakdown in the defense to extend their lead to 4-0. “It was our fault. We lost our emotional control,” Coach Eaves said of the breakdown in the second period, “They took advantage of ti and that was basically when the game unraveled for us.”
With 8:27 left in the second, things started to unravel at a much faster pace. Right as the official dropped the puck, Clendening and Michael Carcone dropped their gloves and began to fight. Since the fight occured off of puck drop, both players were given a 10-minute Game Misconduct and booted from the game.
Clendening eats a lot of minutes for the Monsters on both even strength and special teams. Losing him halfway through the game changes the dynamic of the team and how things are run. “Well somebody has to step up,” said Coach Eaves on losing Clendening, “On the power play, we were able to use Simpson and Mr. Johnson. They did some good things but they aren’t Adam Clendening.”
The Monsters spent the last eight minutes of the second on the power play. With their top power play guy out for the game, they knew it was going to be an uphill battle. “You’re hoping that somebody steps up and does some stuff that bodes well for them to stay on the power play,” Coach Eaves said. Sherwood and Thurkauf were two guys who stepped up to the call during the Monsters extended power play time. Thurkauf tried to quarterback multiple plays. While, Sherwood had a few breakaways and set up shop at the top of the crease. Their hard work was rewarded with a power play goal with 2:48 left in the second period when Thurkauf batted a puck out of the air and fired it down the slot. Due to Sherwood camping out at the top of the crease, the puck banged off of his skate into the net.
The late second period goal wasn’t enough to turn the game around for the Monsters. The Senators used the momentum they gained in the second period to propel them to a 5-1 win.
This loss stung a bit and left a bad taste in the Monsters’ mouths. “I hope that sits in there and we can use that to help us play better tomorrow,” Coach Eaves said of the bitter tasting loss.
The Monsters and Senators meet again on Saturday at 1pm.
1st - Drake Batherson (Belleville Senators) - 1g, 3a
2nd - Alex Formenton (Belleville Senators) - 1g, 2a
3rd - Vitaly Abramov (Belleville Senators) - 0g, 2a
Calvin Thurkauf - Ryan MacInnis - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Paul Bittner - Sam Vigneault - Branden Troock
Maxime Fortier - Derek Barach - Kole Sherwood
Bryan Moore - Jared VanWormer - Brett Gallant
Steve Johnson - Adam Clendening
Michael Prapavessis - Dillon Simpson
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby