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The Lake Erie Monsters fought hard but ended up with a 1-0 loss in a defensive struggle, as the Houston Aeros came to Quicken Loans Arena and left with a win Wednesday night.
The contest began with a first period stalemate as neither team yielded a tally on the board. Houston outshot the Monsters, 12-5, in the opening stanza.
The second period nearly finished the way the first did as neither team managed to score until Houston found some magic on a breakaway late in the second.
Right wing Joel Ward got the Aeros on the board as he poked home a backdoor rebound at the 18:15 mark of the second. Center Adrian Foster tossed the puck on a two-on-one breakaway that landed on the tape of Ward, who posted his 13th goal of the season.
The second period ended with the Aeros on top, 1-0, even after the Monsters managed to fire 16 discs at the Houston net.
The third period felt much like the first, as neither team found a way to shake up the score and change the 1-0 mark. With Wednesday’s result, 30 of Lake Erie’s 56 games this season have been decided by one goal.
“Jason stepped in tonight and gave us a strong performance. It would have been nice to get a goal obviously, but their goaltender came up big as well.” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco. “They looked sharp and their goalie looked like he was on top of the crease taking away good angles. It was a good goaltending duel and a little more of a defensive game tonight.”
Monsters netminder Jason Bacashihua turned away 31 of 32 shots on the night. Opposing goalie Barry Brust stopped 29 of the 29 that he faced for the shutout. Bacashihua’s start in net was his first at home since December 12th, after missing more than two months with an ankle injury.
“It was obviously disappointing. Both teams played solid in their own end. They got the one goal there and just played solid defense after that. Their goalie played well too and made that big save in the last minute. Both teams played really well but we just came up a little short,” said Bacashihua.
The Monsters now hit the road for three games in three nights beginning on Friday. They travel to Rockford, Peoria and Grand Rapids. The Monsters return home Friday, March 7th, to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:30 p.m. on another “Dollar Dog Friday” at The Q.
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