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Monstrous Third Period Leads to WinTweet
The Lake Erie Monsters scored four unanswered goals to put away the Grand Rapids Griffins, 5-3, Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena as a winter blizzard was brewing outside.
A Garrett Stafford slapper trickled past Monsters netminder Mike Wall at the 2:06 mark of the first period to start the scoring on the night. The assists were given to Mattias Ritola and Mark Cullen.
The Monsters fired back in a hurry after creating traffic to screen goaltender Jimmy Howard. Chris Stewart poked in the loose disc at the 3:38 mark after two shots from the doorstep by Dan DaSilva and Wyatt Smith, who each received assists. Stewart’s goal is his third in two nights this weekend.
Grand Rapids took back the lead on a goal from Evan McGrath at 9:23 of the first period. The assists were credited to Francis Lemieux and Randall Gelech.
Right wing Jamie Tardif gave the Griffs a two-goal lead (3-1) on a goal at the 15:49 mark of the first set on a pass from Darren Helm. Also credited with an assist was Jon Insana. Tardif’s goal marked the end of the first period scoring barrage.
The second period was a stalemate as the teams kept the score at 3-1. It wasn’t until the third period that the Monsters used the home ice advantage to turn the game on its head.
Brad Richardson found a way for the Monsters to claw their way back into the game when he ripped off a wrister on a breakaway from the slot that caught Howard on his heels. Richardson’s tally at the 3:56 mark of the third was assisted by J.D. Corbin.
At the 7:12 mark of the third, the Monsters knotted the game up at three when Dan DaSilva batted a loose puck out of the air on a rebound off a Richardson wrister on the power play. Jeff Jillson made the initial pass to Richardson for the additional assist. DaSilva has recorded five points in his last three games and 10 points in his last 10 games.
Jillson took the scoring into his own hands as he launched a disc gloveside on Howard from the top of the left circle that left Howard shaking his head following the tally. Smith and Richardson were each given helpers on Jillson’s third goal of the season with 5:38 remaining in the game.
Johnny Boychuk made the Griffs pay for their sins on the 5-3 man advantage as he wristed a puck to Howard’s gloveside. Richardson and Eric Healey were given the assists at the 16:08 mark of the third. Richardson finished the night with four points and has now recorded nine points over the last three games (1G, 8A).
“It’s definitely a big win. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win last night (Friday) This is a great way for us to go on a tough four-game road trip that we have coming up this week,” said Richardson.
The Monsters scored four consecutive goals to finish the game. The four unanswered goals mark the second time in just over a week that the Monsters scored four straight to win a game (last time: February 29th @ Rockford, 7-4).
Lake Erie posted three power play goals on 10 opportunities on the evening. This marks the fifth (3-1-1-0) time that the Monsters have scored at least three power play goals in a single game.
“I thought we competed much harder tonight, for 60 minutes. Even when we were down 3-1 in the second period, I had a good feeling that we were still in the game,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.
Monsters netminder Mike Wall turned away 42 of 45 shots on the night for his fifth win in his last seven starts. Wall’s counterpart Howard stopped 32 of 37.
The Monsters now hit the road for four games in five nights, beginning Tuesday in Iowa. They return to The Q on Tuesday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m. to take on the Chicago Wolves for the only time this season at home.
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