Recap: Dalpe, Monsters Drop Anvil on Roadrunners

The Cleveland Monsters took down the Tucson Roadrunner, 3-2, in overtime.

Tucson Roadrunners (2) at Cleveland Monsters (3) - Overtime

Attendance: 11,538










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This afternoon’s game wasn’t about making the playoffs for the Cleveland Monsters. It was about next season and beyond. While they will likely miss the playoffs for the second year in a row, a win like this can set the team up for success in the future.

“It’s the mindset. If you look at our roster, there are a lot of guys returning on contracts. So, you want to get that winning culture. You want that getting better every day culture.” - Zac Dalpe

The Monsters are beginning to create a winning culture. Step by step. Inch by inch. Little by little. The first step was this afternoon’s 3-2 overtime win against the number two team in the conference, the Tucson Roadrunners.

Tucson was first to get on the board with 8:05 left in the first period. Kevin Ekman-Larsson fired a shot through traffic. The puck bounced off of PC Labrie’s stick and into the net behind Zatkoff.

“The first goal was a bounce, a tip. You know he reacted. That’s hockey. It’s gonna happen. I thought he was way more in control of his game.” - Head Coach John Madden

Cleveland didn’t let Tucson’s first goal of the game affect their psyche. They continued to play their style of hockey game and applied a lot of pressure to the Roadrunners.

This even keeled mindset worked to the benefit of the Monsters. Four and a half minutes into the second period, the Monsters tied the game at one.

From the base of the left faceoff circle, Zac Dalpe caught Aiden Hill offguard and backhanded the puck into the net.

“I looked for Terry backdoor but I’m more of a shooter, obviously. I like to shoot the puck. So, I used the backhand to catch the goalie offguard. I think if you ask goalies, it’s a hard shot to read and a hard shot to stop.” - Zac Dalpe

Two minutes later, Dylan Strome received a no look pass from Nick Merkley and fired the puck into the net. The Roadrunners now led the Monsters, 2-1.

Tensions began to flare between to the two teams after Strome’s goal. The Monsters showed the Roadrunners they weren’t going to let them gain control of the game. Unafraid to tussle with guys a good six to nine inches taller than him, Nathan Gerbe led the charge against Tucson.

“It’s in his DNA. He doesn’t back down. He’s frustrating guys with his work ethic out there and how hard he was on pucks. When you’re that small you always have a chip on your shoulder trying to prove yourself. A guy who has played three, four hundred games in the NHL is working that hard. It’s great to have a guy like that in your hockey club. When you have a guy like that in your hockey club it becomes contagious. I think it did tonight.” - Head Coach John Madden

The aggressive nature of Gerbe, Justin Scott, Cameron Gaunce, Calvin Thurkauf, and Ryan Collins allowed the team to fire off good looking shots.

With 3:04 left in the second period, Justin Scott fired the puck past Ryan MacInnis towards the net. Sam Vigneault jumped to get out of the way. Great move by him. The puck bounced off of Vigneault’s bended knee and into the net.

Tucson and Cleveland were now tied at two.

No goals were scored for the rest of regulation.

The two headed to overtime where the Monsters would skate away victors 2:17 into the extra stanza.

Gerbe no looked to Alex Broadhurst who one-timed a pass to Dalpe. From the slot, Dalpe one-timed the puck over Hill’s left leg.

“I was kind of upset because the goalie saved me the shot before. So, grip it and rip it. It was a little bit of a knuckler but it went in.” - Zac Dalpe

Not only did the Monsters score in overtime, they held the Roadrunners to zero shots on goal.

But Wait! There’s More

Quick Thoughts

This afternoon’s team was a lot different than the team who  showed up on Friday night.

“I thought we played an excellent game. I thought we were  disciplined. I thought we were smart. I thought we managed the game  well. We got a huge save on a breakaway in the third period. Which  things, you know, usually go the other way. It was good. We stayed  with it. We bent but we didn’t break. I thought we played an  excellent game.” - Head Coach John Madden

So, why the change from Friday to Sunday? According to John  Madden, it came down to the commitment the Monsters were willing to  put forth.

“It’s just their commitment. We’ve had some good talks. I  told the boys the other night when we lost ‘We were in full control  of the game.’ It just seems this is the way things have gone for us.  When things don’t go our way we break. It’s a bad feeling to have as  a team. It’s a bad feeling to have as an individual. We’ve got to  get away from it. We’ve got to break those habits.” - Head Coach  John Madden

3 Stars

1st – Zac Dalpe (2g, 0a)

2nd –  Jeff Zatkoff (23 shots faced, 21 saves, 61:47 TOI)

3rd –  Sam Vigneault (1g, 0a)

Game Stats

Captaincy Report

Alex Broadhurst, Zac Dalpe, and Nathan Gerbe all wore the “A” on their sweater this afternoon.

Penalty Book/Milestones

This afternoon was Zac Dalpe’s 300th AHL game.

What’s Next

The Monsters hit the open road for an aggressive seven game road trip on the west coast.

“Aggressive is kind of an understatement. There’s really no formula or anything. You come closer as a team on the road because you’re in cities you’ve never been before. You go out to dinner with guys maybe you wouldn’t go out for dinner with at home. I’ve always been a fan of going on the road and getting to know guys. Hopefully, translates to the game.” - Zac Dalpe

First up is the San Diego Gulls on Tuesday, March 6th at 10 pm est.

Next they play three games in a row. Two against the San Jose Barracuda on March 9th and 10th. Then the Stockon Heat on March 11th.

On March 13th, they head to the Ontario to take on the Reign.

They finally leave California on March 16th but only to head to Texas where they will play the Stars.

The trip finally ends on St. Patricks day against the San Antonio Rampage.

Get ready everyone. It’s going to be a long action packed trip for the boys.

“16 days on the road. Nine hotel rooms. I can’t wait.” - Head Coach John Madden

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