With just under a minute to go, the Monsters were reeling from giving up a two goal lead. Nathan Smith made sure they wouldn’t head to over time for the second day as the Monsters regrouped for a 4-3 win. Lake Erie’s season looks promising with the 2-0 start.
After winning the season opener against the Grand Rapids Griffins in OT, also a 4-3 affair, the Monsters took to the ice less than 24 hours later for a 5:00 Sunday home game against the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies came in 0-1, suffering the reverse fate of the Monsters, an OT loss in their first contest.
This game played out the opposite of the first game with the exception of a slow Monsters start, a plethora of Monster penalties, stellar Monster penalty killing. Lake Erie chased down Grand Rapids on Saturday, but gave up the lead on Sunday. In both cases, though, they found an extra gear when they needed it, emerging with four points against division foes.
The Monsters got on the board first in this one. After killing off a penalty, the Chris Stewart, T.J. Hensick, Jesse Boulerice line all kicked in. Boulerice scored for a 1-0 Monsters’ lead, assists by Hensick and Stewart.
Toronto would answer halfway through the first.
After crushing Lake Erie defenseman Mike Vernace against the boards with a thundering fore check, Torontocenter Andre Deveaux passed one in front to Bates Battaglia and he slammed it through the five hole of Tyler Weiman for the equalizer.
The Monsters regained the lead with 3.46 left; this one on the power play. Hensick made a great pass off the boards to Nigel Williams. Williams was plastered to the ice right in front of the net, squeezing of a weak shot, but the rebound went straight out to Brian Willsie and he poked home his second goal in as many nights for the 2-1 lead.
The first period ended with the Monsters a man down. Brian Willsie took a penalty with 21 seconds left but the Toronto Marlies couldn’t capitalize.
The second period was LOADED with action.
Eleven minutes in, three players left the ice, two of them Marlies. Kris Newbury ended up the worst for wear, tagged with a ten minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike behavior. Boulerice was in the midst of it for Lake Erie, and he’d get his with his own later in the frame.
Forty seconds later, the Monsters put themselves up 3-1. T.J Hensick logged the goal. Kyle Cumiskey and Aaron MacKenzie were in on the assist.
Twelve minutes in, Boyd Devereaux and Nigel Williams dropped the gloves, and after a flurry of punches, were sent off for five minutes each for fighting.
With a minute left in the second, Boulerice threw a round-house punch after the whistle, much to the delight of the crowd. Although it landed, he was skating backward, so it looked worse than it probably felt. It still ended in a 2:00 Unsportsmanlike. The period came to a close with no further incidents.
Toronto only needed 24 seconds into the third to draw to within one. Richard Peliot notched the quick score, with an assist by Robbie Earl.
Toronto kept the pressure on throughout most of the third. Monster’s goalie Weiman pulled save after save out of his hat, preserving the 3-2 lead. With the defense looking like a sieve, Weiman was bound to get beat at some point.
Boyce went to the box for a hook at 11:05, and the Monsters had a two man advantage when Kromwell took the hook.
Toronto killed off the first penalty, and Boyce shot out of the penalty box, scooped up the puck, and tipped it right over the shoulder of Weiman, making it a 3-all tie with a little less than seven minutes left in the game. The Marlies were still short-handed for another forty five seconds, but the Monsters could not break through
The Monsters appeared to catch fire after the tying talley, and they pressured Toronto heavily. Nathan Smith broke the tie with fifty seven ticks left on the clock. Chris Dumo and Mike Vernace assisted on the game winner.
Third start of the game was Lake Erie Monster Goalie Tyler Weiman. Monsters T.J. Hensick was second star of the game registering a goal and and two assists, and 1st star was Nathan Smith for his game winner.
The Monsters play another back-to-back home weekend Oct 17th and 18th, taking on Norfolk and Grand Rapids respectively. Friday is a 7:05 start, and Saturday a 1:00.
Friday’s game features dollar dog, dollar pepsi’s, and the first 5000 17 and under receive a political bobble head. Cast your vote by choosing Obama or McCain as a bobble head in a Monsters’ jersey.