Monsters Can't Hold Onto Lead in Grand Rapids

Playing their third road game in as many nights, the Lake Erie Monsters came into Grand Rapids on Sunday searching for a divisional victory, but were denied as the Griffins got the 6-4 ‘W.'

Lake Erie opened the game at the 5:59 mark of the first with a backhander on the doorstep by right wing Dan DaSilva. Wyatt Smith and Jamie Lundmark were both credited with the helpers. DaSilva’s goal is his sixth of the season and his sixth point in his last eight games.

T.J. Hensick quickly added to the Monsters' lead on a poke check by DaSilva in the Griffins zone at the 7:48 mark of the first. Hensick took Grand Rapids netminder Jimmy Howard left to right on his gloveside as he lifted the disc topshelf on a pass from Eric Healey. With his power play goal, Hensick has now registered 11 points in his last 11 games.

A Mark Cullen wrister from the point on the power play got the Griffins on the board and within one goal at the 13:38 mark of the first, notching his 15th goal of the season. Assists were given to Garrett Stafford and Carl Corazzini.

Following the Cullen tally, the Monsters went on the power play and picked up where they left off earlier in the period. A dish from the goal mouth from Lake Erie’s Brad Richardson gave Healey a free look at the open half of the net as Howard was preoccupied to his right with traffic. Healey made Grand Rapids pay for their penalty as he packed away his 15th goal of the season. Defenseman Jeff Jillson was also given an assist, his 16th of the season.

To start the second period, the Griffins lifted Howard from net and replaced him with Adam Berkhoel.

In addition to the change in netminder, the Griffins turned up their offensive intensity as they scored less than a minute into the period. Darren Helm put Grand Rapids within one goal as he took a pass from Kyle Quincey at the 0:23 mark of the second. Also credited with an assist was Ryan Oulahen.

It didn’t take the Griffs long to post another tally and tie the game up at 3-3 on a Corazzini goal on loose rebound 0:38 seconds later. Mattias Ritola and Cullen were each given helpers on Corazzini’s tally.

Only a few minutes later, Grand Rapids added another goal and took the lead on a deflection off the skate of Ritola. Corazzini and Cullen were both credited with the assists at the 4:57 mark of the second.

The Monsters then made a goal change as Jason Bacashihua replaced Tyler Weiman in net.

Lake Erie stopped the bleeding when Lundmark lifted a backhander past Berkhoel on a breakaway at 13:36 of the second period to tie the game up at 4-4. Healey and Hensick dished out the helpers on Lundmark’s ninth goal of the season. With the goal, Lundmark now has 21 points on the season (9 goals, 12 assists).

Grand Rapids came out of the blocks hot in the third period as they scored less than three minutes into the stanza on a Jamie Tardif goal. Evan McGrath was given the lone assist on Tardif’s goal at the 2:08 mark.

A Garrett Stafford wrister on a loose rebound at 13:20 of the third period gave the Griffins their final two-goal lead, 6-4. The assists on Stafford’s marker were given to Corazzini and Jon Insana.

Lake Erie starting goaltender Weiman turned away 21 of the 25 shots that he faced in 24:51 in net. His replacement, Bacashihua, stopped 13 shots of the 15 that he faced in the remainder of the game. Griffins starter Howard stopped six of the nine that he encountered, while his replacement, Berkhoel, made 19 saves on 20 shots.

The Monsters now head home to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, March 7th at 7:30 p.m.

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