Recap: Disastrous Third Period Leads to Monsters Demise
The Utica Comets took down the Cleveland Monsters, 5-4, in overtime. Doyle Somerby came up big with three points, 2g and 1a.
Cleveland Monsters (4) at Utica Comets (5)
After last night’s game against the Belleville Senators, the Cleveland Monsters traveled to Utica where they took on the Comets at 5pm today.
When the game started the Monsters didn’t look like a team who was playing their final game of a back-to-back-to-back. They looked well-rested, relaxed, and confident. It was great to see the team play a simple hockey game.
With 8:38 left in the opening stanza, Doyle Somerby put the Monsters on the board with a rocket from the right point.
Knowing the Comets were scoreless, the Monsters turned up the heat. Shortly after Somerby’s goal, Vitaly Abramov had a massive breakaway but backhanded the puck directly into Michael Leighton’s pads. This would normally be a smart move. However, it appears Leighton’s five-hole is no longer loose.
With 1:27 left in the first, Tanner Kero went to the box for tripping. The Monsters finally had a chance to shine on the power play. Unfortunately, the power play dream was short lived as Justin Scott took a boarding penalty not even a minute later.
Due to Scott’s penalty in the waning minutes of the first, the Monsters and Comets started the second period playing four-on-four hockey. Luckily, 32 seconds into the period the Monsters extended their lead over the Comets to 2-0. Adam Clendening spun before backhanding the puck to Somerby. Upon receiving the puck, Somerby fired it into the net for the goal.
After Somerby’s second goal of the night, things got a little weird for the Monsters. First, Jean-Francois Berube was forced to stop five shots in around 30 seconds. The Monsters couldn’t clear a rebound to save their life in that half minute of play.
Then Brett Gallant had a chance at a breakaway but decided to lay a hit on Brendan Gaunce. The breakaway could have been a good thing. It could have been a bad thing. We will never know.
Also, in the second period, the second line of Abramov, Ryan MacInnis, and Nikita Korostelev alongside the third pairing of Tommy Cross and Ryan Collins created more turnovers than a restaurant catering a breakfast party.
Luckily, with 3:35 left in the second, Kevin Stenlund went on a massive breakaway from the defensive zone to give the Monsters the 3-0 lead over the Comets. It was a great offensive play by the Monsters. Mark Letestu distracted the Comets by making them think Stenlund was going to pass the puck to him. This allowed Stenlund to fire the puck past Leighton who wasn’t paying attention to Stenlund at all.
Two minutes later, the Comets finally got on the board. Jamie Sifers launched a bomb from the blue line towards the net. Vincent Arseneau grabbed a piece of it before it flew into the net.
When the Monsters entered the ice for the third period, you could tell something was a bit off. They didn’t have the same pep in their step as they did to start the game. This lack of pep led to the Comets scoring three goals in 2:17.
Almost nine and half minutes into the third, Reid Boucher was left alone in the slot. If there is one thing you should never do, it’s leave Boucher unattended anywhere near the net. He will score almost every time.
Gaunce tied the game up 10:44 into the period.
A minute later, the Comets took the 4-3 lead with a goal from Kero.
Have no fear Monsters fans. With seven minutes left in the third period, the Monsters tied things up at four. Somerby launched a shot towards Leighton that Vigneault swept into the net.
The Monsters kicked it into high gear for the rest of the game.
As time wound down on regulation, Paul Bittner stole the puck and powered towards Leighton. His shot was immediately stuffed. Scott tried to scoop up the rebound, but Leighton checked him before a goal could be scored.
For the 16th time this season, the Monsters headed to overtime.
Both goalies put on a show in an effort to save their team from getting the “L”.
However, with 35 seconds left in overtime, it was the Comets who skated away with the “W”. Berube blocked Gaunce’s initial shot but couldn’t find the puck in time to throw it away. The puck ended up in the crease behind him. Stenlund tried to get to it in time but Tom Pyatt tapped it into the net for the win.
1st – Tom Pyatt (1g, 1a)
2nd – Doyle Somerby (2g, 1a)
3rd – Tanner Kero (1g, 1a)
The final game of the roadtrip takes place in Rochester against the Americans on Wednesday, February 20th at 7pm.
They return home Friday, February 22nd at 7pm against the Milwaukee Admirals.