Monsters End Regular Season With Win

The Lake Erie Monsters concluded their regular season with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena on Sunday. The Monsters held a three-goal lead at the end of the second period, but Rochester tied the game to force a scoreless overtime and an eventual seven-round shootout that ended in Lake Erie’s seventh win of the season over Rochester.

With the win, the Monsters finished their eight-game regular season series with a 7-1-0-0 record against the Amerks.

The win finalizes a franchise-best 44-28-3-5 season for the Monsters, who finish in second place in the North Division with 96 points.

The Monsters struck first when Matt Ford scored for the third straight game, netting his team-leading 26th goal of the season at 7:08 of the opening period. Ford’s 26th of the season ties a franchise mark for goals in a single campaign (Brian Willsie, 2009-10). Julian Talbot assisted to extend his point streak to four games (1G, 3A), while Justin Mercier also recorded a helper.

Rochester evened the score just 34 seconds later, as Eric Selleck scored off assists from P.J. Fenton and Paul Baier.

After 20 minutes, the score was 1-1 while Rochester carried an 11-8 lead in shots.

In the middle frame, Lake Erie rattled off three straight goals. Maury Edwards put the Monsters up 2-1 when he scored an unassisted tally at 2:06, marking his first professional goal.

At the 5:17 mark, Curtis Fraser scored off assists from Zach Cohen and Ford. Ford’s helper came as his sixth point in his last four games (4G, 2A).

Before the period expired, captain Ben Walter tallied at 17:25 to mark his 70th point of the season, tying a franchise record (T.J. Hensick, 2009-10) for points in a single campaign. Peter Boyd and Ray Macias assisted.

The Monsters led 4-1 after two periods of play, while they outshot Rochester 10-7 in the second period.

In the third period, the Amerks went on a three-goal run of their own, starting with a Clay Wilson goal at the 2:10 mark. Wilson took assists from Mike Kostka and former Monster Patrick Rissmiller.

At 13:15 of the period, Rissmiller set up Kostka with a power play goal to make the score 4-3. Chris Taylor also picked up an assist.

Down by a goal in the final minutes of regulation, Rochester tied matters when Wilson notched his second goal of the night, lighting the lamp at 19:00.

Neither team managed to snap the 4-4 deadlock in the final minute of the third, setting up a five-minute sudden-death overtime.

A scoreless extra session saw two shots by Rochester and one by Lake Erie, sending the game to a shootout.

In the shootout, Bill Thomas put Rochester up 1-0 with a goal in the second round. The Monsters went scoreless until rookie Luke Walker converted in the fifth round. While Lake Erie netminder John Grahame did not allow another goal, Talbot lifted the Monsters to victory when he scored in the seventh round.

Grahame stopped 28 of 32 shots in regulation and two more in overtime, then denied six of seven shootout candidates.

Marc Cheverie stopped eight of 11 shots faced, before Alex Petizian entered the game in relief to go 12-for-13 in regulation, 1-for-1 in the overtime and 5-for-7 in the shootout.

The Monsters will be idle until Saturday, April 16th, when they host the Manitoba Moose at 12:00 p.m. to mark the first Calder Cup Playoff game in Lake Erie history.

Three Stars: RCH Wilson (2 goals); 3. RCH Kostka (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. RCH Rissmiller (2 assists)

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