Full Team Effort Nets Another Win

Photos courtesy of Donnie Pagel
Behind multi-point efforts from seven different players, the Lake Erie Monsters dominated the Griffins, 7-2, in Grand Rapids on Sunday afternoon. The seven goals ties a franchise best for Lake Erie. Less than 24 hours after scoring his first two goals as a professional, rookie Justin Mercier again led the way for the Monsters, posting two more goals plus an assist in Sunday's win.

Fellow rookie Billy Sauer picked up the first road victory of his young professional career, deflecting all but two of the 34 Griffins shots he saw in net. The team also received scoring from Tom Preissing, Marty Sertich, Wes O'Neill, Ryan Stoa and Mike Bartlett. The Monsters are now 16-18-0-3, having won three straight and eight of their last 10.

The first Lake Erie goal came off the stick of Mercier, just as it had Saturday night in the Monsters 3-2 win in Hamilton. The rookie winger found the back of the net at the 16:21 mark of the first period, assisted by Tom Fritsche. The opening frame would finish with the Monsters leading, 1-0.

Mercier wasted no time in getting back on the scoreboard, potting his second goal of the night and fourth in two games just 17 seconds into the second period. Mercier's quick score was the fastest goal to start a period this season. Sertich picked up the helper on the play, after assisting on both of Mercier's goals the night before.

Exactly 39 seconds later, Preissing pushed the Lake Erie advantage to three. His goal at the :56 mark was assisted by Stoa and T.J. Hensick.

Sertich would take things into his own hands a few minutes later, scoring for himself at 5:17 while the team was shorthanded. O'Neill and Matt Ford assisted on the play, giving the Monsters a 4-0 lead. Sertich has produced multi-point performances in three straight games and has posted seven points (2G, 5A) in the last four games. Ford has notched a point in three straight games.

O'Neill turned around less than two minutes later and recorded his first goal - and first multi-point game - of the season. The score at 6:59 was helped by Hensick and Bartlett. With the pair of assists, Hensick posted his eighth multi-point game of the season and has put up 25 points (4G, 21A) in the past 15 games.

The home Griffins would finally get on the board with Jan Mursak's goal at the 9:30 point of the second period. Francis Pare and Cory Emmerton were credited with the assists.

Stoa finished up Lake Erie's hot middle frame with his goal at 11:48, assisted by Brett Skinner and Preissing. Stoa has now recorded a goal in 10 of his last 13 games and leads all AHL rookies with 14 goals on the year. It was the fourth and second multi-point games for Stoa and Preissing, respectively, this season. The five-goal period was a season high for the Monsters, and tied a franchise best.

The score remained 6-1 in favor of the Monsters through the first half of the third until Trent Daavettila scored at 12:04. Andy Delmore and Jamie Tardif registered the helpers.

Bartlett would seal the 7-2 Lake Erie victory with his goal at 17:43 of the final frame. It was Bartlett's first of the season and was assisted by Cedric McNicoll and Mercier. Sunday was also Bartlett's first assist of the season and first multi-point game, having just signed with the Monsters on Thursday. With the helper, McNicoll has registered points in four of the last five games (3G, 2A).

Sauer finished the night with 32 saves on 34 shots. With Lake Erie's offensive prowess, the Griffins rotated through their two goalies. Jordan Pearce had 16 saves on 21 shots in 54 minutes, while Daniel Larsson had one save on the three shots he saw in six minutes in net.

The Monsters return home to Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday to host the Milwaukee Admirals for the first time this season. Tickets are available by calling 216-420-0000, visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

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