Offensive Outburst Powers Monsters In Win

Playing in their last of three games in three days this weekend, the Lake Erie Monsters offense exploded on Sunday afternoon, tying a franchise record with seven goals in a 7-3 victory against the Chicago Wolves at Quicken Loans Arena. The offense was powered by Darren Haydar, who recorded the Monsters first hat trick of the season. Defenseman Brett Skinner’s four-assist effort also ties a franchise high for an individual game, and in net, Lake Erie goalie Billy Sauer picked up his first win in the American Hockey League. With the victory, the Monsters improve to 9-16-0-3 while the Wolves drop to 13-13-0-2.

Lake Erie received multi-point efforts from Haydar (3G), Skinner (4A), T.J. Hensick (1G, 2A), Matt Ford (2A) and Chris Durno (1G, 1A).

Haydar wasted no time getting the Monsters on the board, netting his eighth goal of the season just 35 seconds into the game. Skinner and Ford picked up helpers on the goal.

Less than three minutes later, Hensick would put Lake Erie up by two, recording his third goal of the year. With the puck at the top of the circle, defenseman Tom Preissing whipped a cross-ice feed to Hensick, who, from the far post, tapped the puck in past Wolves goalie Drew MacIntyre. Tom Fritsche recorded the secondary assist. The goal gives Hensick a point in six consecutive games.

But less than two minutes later, at the 5:23 mark of the first, Brett Sterling would cut the Lake Erie lead in half with his 14th goal of the year. Taking advantage of a turnover at the Monsters blue line, Sterling walked in on a partial breakaway and ripped a wrist shot past Sauer’s glove, off the post and in. The goal was unassisted.

The Monsters would keep pushing the pace, and just more than eight minutes later, would get another two-goal lead. Ragging the puck up the ice on a three-on-two break, Hensick fired a cross-ice pass that Haydar tapped over an outstretched MacIntyre.

After a four-goal first period, the pace of the game slowed a bit, as Sauer stopped five shots in the second frame and MacIntyre turned away nine Lake Erie shots to keep the score at 3-1 in favor of the Monsters heading into the third.

Sterling wasted no time once the puck dropped to begin the third period, putting the Wolves within one with his 15th goal of the year and second of the game just 18 seconds into regulation’s final frame. Standing off to Sauer’s right, Sterling took a Nathan Oystrick rebound from the half wall and chipped it over the glove of Sauer to cut the Monsters lead to one. Jason Krog recorded the second assist on the goal.

After seeing his former Colorado College teammate score, Marty Sertich took matters into his own hands 38 seconds later, netting his fourth goal of the season. Tangled in front of the net with a Wolves defender, Sertich took the puck out of midair and batted it past MacIntyre to give the Monsters another two-goal lead. Skinner recorded the lone assist on the goal.

Rookie Brandon Yip added to the Lake Erie lead three minutes later, recording his second tally of the season. Standing off the left post of the Wolves net, Yip took a rebound from Ford, dragging it around MacIntyre and put it over the Chicago goalie, giving the Monsters a 5-2 lead. Brian Fahey recorded the second helper on the goal.

It would take another nine minutes for the next goal to be scored, but Durno would record his team-leading 10th of the season at the 13:30 mark of the third on the power play. Camping out to MacIntyre’s right, Durno tapped in a cross-crease feed from Hensick over the right pad of the Wolves goalie, giving the Monsters a four-goal lead. Skinner picked up the second assist on the score.

With the assist, Hensick has recorded nine points (3G, 6A) in the past six games. Hensick also recorded a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” on the night, as he recorded a goal, an assist, and got in a fight. The feat is named after Gordie Howe, who was noted for both his scoring prowess and fisticuffs.

Down but not out, the Wolves battled back, and Chicago left wing Andrew Kozek recorded his fifth of the season, to make it a 6-3 game. Battling for the puck in the high slot with a number of other players, Kozek’s turning wrist shot found the top corner of the net through a slew of bodies in front of the net at the 17:03 mark of the third. Kozek’s goal was unassisted.

Any hope of a Chicago come back would be squashed 49 seconds later, when Haydar netted his 10th of the season and third of the game, a power play goal. On the left wall, Skinner fed a pass to Durno, whose shot was going high and wide. Haydar used his lightning fast reflexes, grabbing the puck out of midair, putting it at his feet and slamming it past MacIntyre to cap the scoring.

“Consistency is the key word, and it’s what we need to learn to do,” said Haydar. “We played last night and didn’t play well at all. Today, we showed up, put the puck to the net, moved our feet, and created scoring chances and that’s what you have to do to win games.”

With the hat trick, Haydar ties the franchise high for the most goals by an individual in a game. The three-goal performance is also Haydar’s first multi-goal game of the season, and the Milton, Ontario, native has recorded eight points (4G, 4A) in the past six games.

The Monsters return to the ice on Friday when they travel west to Winnipeg to take on the Manitoba Moose at 8:30 p.m. Lake Erie returns home only a few days before Christmas, when they host the Rochester Americans on Tuesday, December 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling (216) 420-0000, by visiting LakeErieMonsters

Sights and Sounds
Darren Haydar Interview
Head Coach David Quinn Interview
T.J. Hensick Interview
Tom Preissing Interview

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