The Lake Erie Monsters wrapped up a five game home stand with a 4-3 win on Wednesday, taking on 1-2-0-1 Milwaukee Admirals squad. The Admirals primary difficulty this season has been in the scoring department, netting just seven pucks in four games. So far, the Monsters were 2-1-0-1 but the two losses represented their last two outings. They needed to close out the home ice with a win since the Hamilton Bulldogs, leaders of the Western Conference North Division were off to a 4-0 start. The Monsters sat in fourth place, three points back of the Bulldogs.
Jason Bacashihua was in net for his second straight start. He was 1-1 on the season, the loss a sudden death shootout in the Monsters last outing.
The beginning of the first period was unimpressive on both sides of the ice, with both teams shooting a lot, but without much on the puck
Lake Erie went on the first power play of the night with 11:31 left in the period. The offensive pressure was there, even as they registered a cross-bar hit at one point, but the Monsters couldn’t score.
Milwaukeegot their first power play attempt almost immediately after the penalty kill on an interference call on Chris Durno. Milwaukeehad one nice shot early in the penalty kill, but the Monsters once again looked good on the kill, even squeaking off a short-handed shot by Captain Brian Willsie.
Phillipe Dupuis put the Monsters right back to short-handed with a hooking call. This time, the Admirals made them pay on a slap shot from the point by Aniti Philstrom, assists by Alexander Sulzer and Nick Spaling.
So much for the Admirals having difficulty scoring.
Then again, the Monsters weren’t having trouble either. Two minutes later, on what appeared to be a pre-discussed play, the Monsters tipped a puck up the boards after a face-off in their own end. Tom Frische raced down the ice, chased down the puck, skated around the back of the Admirals net, found T.J. Galliardi out front, and walla, it was 1-1.
The rest of the period was spirited on both ends of the ice. Shots on goal favored the Monsters 16-15. Milwaukee held the Monsters in their own end much of the last Monster power play.
The second period proved all Monsters. Three unanswered goals and a Chris Stewart advantage on a fight translated to total domination for Lake Erie in what might have been their best period so far in this young hockey season.
The 2-1 lead came via Derek Peltier goal with assists by T.J. Hensick and Per Ledin. Brian Willsie score his fifth of the season and fifth in five games halfway in with assists to Hensick and Kevin Montgomery. Finally, the 4-1 lead went in off the stick of Chris Durno three-quarters of the way through the period.
Right after that fourth goal came the fight. Chris Stewart and Kelsey Wilson squared off, Stewart landing the majority of the blows.
Shots favored the Monsters 32-17 after two.
The third period was the Monsters undoing the last two games as they surrendered two goal leads both times. Tonight they’d break down again, although it did take almost all of the third.
With 6:32 left in the game, Milwaukee pulled to within two. They held the puck in the Monsters end for roughly a minute and a half before Kelsey Wilson scored, assist to Nick Spalding.
Milwaukeescored again with 4:18 left, but the goal was negated on a goalie interference call on Josh Gratton. The replay proved the official right as Gratton did push on Bacashihua just before the goal went by his left skate.
On the power play, the Monsters had a great odd man rush scoring chance that Macintyre stopped with a pad save, keeping the Monster lead at 4-2.
The Admirals pulled the goalie with two minutes left, pressuring in the Monster zone. The Monster’s Cuminskey took a bad interference call with :35 left on the clock, giving Milwaukee a two man advantage with the goalie pulled.
The Admirals silenced the crowd with 3.7 seconds left on the clock with a goal by Cal O’Reilly.
The Monsters won the faceoff and closed out the game, albeit without excitement yet again in the third. Had the one goal not been waved off, it would have been the third game in a row Lake Erie had surrendered a multiple goal lead in the third.