Grahame Leads Monsters Back on Top

Lake Erie netminder John Grahame was nearly flawless for the second straight game on Tuesday night, stopping 39 of 40 shots and leading the Monsters to a 2-1 come-from-behind win in Manitoba. That comes on the heels of his 40-save performance in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Moose on Sunday.

After splitting the first two games of the 2011 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs in Cleveland over the weekend, the Monsters regained a one-game lead in their North Division Semi-Final series with Manitoba. The Monsters now lead the series 2-1, with Games 4 and 5 coming up in Manitoba on Thursday and Friday.

The other story of the game – and the series so far – is the successful penalty killing of Lake Erie. During four games against the Moose in the regular season, the Monsters killed off all 20 Manitoba power play attempts. During the first two games of the current Playoff series, Lake Erie was a combined 7-7 on the PK. That continued on Tuesday, when the Monsters again held the Manitoba power play scoreless, stopping all eight attempts.

The Moose were quick to grab a 1-0 lead in Tuesday’s meeting, as Sergei Shirokov scored off assists from Mark Flood and Jason Jaffray at 1:09 of the opening period.

Manitoba carried its 1-0 lead into the first intermission, along with a 13-6 advantage in shots.

Lake Erie netted a pair of goals early in the second period to build a 2-1 lead. Just 38 seconds into the frame, David van der Gulik scored an unassisted tally to mark his second goal of the Playoffs and third point (2G, 1A) in his last two games. Then, at the 3:03 mark, Ben Walter gave the Monsters a lead when he tallied off an assist from Jonas Holos, who was streaking down the right side and found Walter in front of the net. Walter’s goal marked his third point (2G, 1A) of the Playoffs.

After 40 minutes, the Monsters led by a 2-1 score, despite being outshot by an 18-8 count in the middle frame.

In the third period, the Monsters posted five shots compared to nine by Manitoba, but held onto their one-goal lead for a 2-1 final.

Grahame made his second consecutive start in goal for Lake Erie, recording 39 saves and taking First Star honors.

At the other end, former Monster Tyler Weiman went 17-for-19 in his second straight start for the Moose.

Lake Erie and Manitoba will play Game 4 on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. at the MTS Centre.

Three Stars: 1. LE Grahame (39 saves); 2. MTB Shirokov (1 goal); 3. LE van der Gulik (1 goal)


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