Monsters Fall to Manchester in a Shootout

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The story of the first-ever meeting between the Lake Erie Monsters and Manchester Monarchs was one of superb goaltending. Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman and Monarchs goalie Jonathan Bernier combined to make 54 saves through regulation and five-minute sudden death overtime. Both goalies turned aside 27 shots a piece in a defensive battle Saturday afternoon at Quicken Loans Arena that eventually saw the Monarchs leave Cleveland with a 1-0 victory thanks to a Justin Azevedo shootout goal.

Although Weiman hadn’t seen game action since his start November 14th against Houston, the Monsters back stopper was as sharp as a tack early on, making 12 saves in the first period. But Bernier was equal to the task as he denied all 11 shots the Monsters fired his way in the first period.

“Tyler had a real big game for us today, and when we had a breakdown he was there for us and came up with the big saves,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “Our team responded with a good effort defensively tonight. We just weren’t able to get any pucks past their goalie.”

The second period saw much of the same from both teams. Bernier stopped all eight shots he faced and Weiman bested him, turning away nine pucks in the second frame, including helping the Monsters kill two power plays. The Monarchs almost cracked Weiman early in the third with a Matt Moulson slap shot labeled for the top corner, only to be denied by the quick glove of the goalie. The rest of the way the teams battled to a dead heat, as the Monsters had seven shots turned away in the third period and overtime and the Monarchs were denied on seven shots they threw Weiman’s way.

The Monsters started out the shootout putting Chris Stewart at center ice with the puck and a chance to put the Monsters up for the first time in the game. But Bernier read the power forward’s deke to the forehand, poking it wide of his net before Stewart could get a shot off.

Shooting first for the Monarchs was Vladimir Dravecky, whose wrist shot would be denied by the quick glove of Weiman. The Monsters would counter with Marty Sertich. In an attempt to pull the puck to his side and go over the glove of Bernier, the biscuit would slide off the stick of Sertich before he could get his shot off. Teddy Purcell would shoot next for the Monarchs. Last year’s AHL Rookie of the Year would deke to the backhand, only to be met by the brick wall in front of the net known as Weiman. Monsters forward Bryan Marshall shot fourth for Lake Erie, and his move from backhand to the forehand would go off the glove of Bernier and wide right of the Monarchs net.

In the one-on-one battle that would determine the game, Azevedo would deke to the forehand. His initial shot would be stopped by Weiman, but his momentum going back into the net would push the puck over the line, giving the Monarchs the eventual game winner by inches.

“Weiman’s momentum took him back in the net it looked like from the replay,” said Sacco. “It looked like it hit the post, his pad and then went in. Again, like I’ve said before, we don’t have the luxury of video replay.”

T.J. Galiardi would shoot next for the Monsters. Coming in alone on Bernier, Galiardi would attempt to go low blocker side only to have Bernier waffle board the puck away from the net. Weiman would give the Monsters one last chance, as he didn’t bite on Michel Leveille’s fake slap shot and kicked out the wrist shot with his left pad. The Monsters last shooter, Phil Dupuis, wouldn’t be able to get the job done as his Laval, Quebec, counterpart, Bernier, would extend his left toe to keep the puck out on Dupuis’ forehand deke.

“Tyler gave us a chance to win and that’s all you can really ask for,” said Sacco. “When your goalies are giving you a chance to win game in and game out, that’s all you can really ask for. Most games we are going to get one goal at least; today it didn’t happen.”

The Monsters will return to action Sunday at 5:00 p.m. when they host the Calder Cup finalists, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, at The Q. The game will be broadcast on MY43 WUAB.

Sights and Sounds
Tyler Weiman Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

"Weiman definitely has a little bit of a swagger to him, no doubt about it. Especially when he is playing well. It is not cocky but it is certainly a confidence. Confidence that he has inside of him and then he stays assertive in the net. You can tell when he is confident and when he is in there he is on top of his crease and he is moving well laterally. He handled the puck well today and he was square to the puck. It just seemed like he was seeing everything today.” - Monsters  head coach Joe Sacco


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