Bacashihua's Third Straight a Big One

Photos courtesy of Mark Newman
The grueling nine-game, 15-day road trip pleasantly ended the way it began for the Monsters. 

The swing began with a 4-1 win in Grand Rapids on February 7th over a Griffins team that at the time was first in the North Division.  It ended with a 4-2 win in Grand Rapids on Saturday night over the second-ranked Griffins.

The win came in large part from the play of goaltender Jason Bacashihua, who picked up his third straight win, as well as Phil Dupuis, Per Ledin and Mike Vernace, who all had multi-point performances.

Coming off a 3-1 victory in Rockford on Friday, the Monsters picked right up where they left off the night before.  Ledin put the visitors on the board first with his power play goal just 4:27 into the game.  Vernace and Dupuis assisted on the score.

The Griffins would even it up just a few minutes later behind a goal from Francis Pare.  The goal at 7:57 was assisted by Francis Lemieux and Logan Pyett.

Twenty four minutes would pass before the score would change again.  Vernace took matters into his own hands and scored at the 11:50 mark of the second period.  Mike McLean and Derek Peltier picked up the helpers. It was the third multi-point game of the season for Vernace.

The Monsters would hold onto the 2-1 lead for the span of another full period. Ledin added to the Lake Erie advantage with his second goal of the night at 10:46 of the third.  It was the first multi-goal game for Ledin this season, and his second multi-point contest.  Dupuis again assisted, as did Matt Hendricks.

Garrett Stafford brought the Griffins to within one with his goal at 16:02, assisted by Pare and Darren Haydar.

Dupuis would add an insurance goal before the end of the game, scoring with 58 seconds left, and giving the Monsters the 4-2 win.  It was Dupuis' seventh multi-point game of the season, including second with three points. 

Despite outscoring the Griffins, the Monsters were drastically outshot by Grand Rapids, 33-18.  Bacashihua was stellar in goal, turning away 31 of Grand Rapids' shots.  It was Bacashihua's third straight win, the first time he has done so this season.  Daniel Larsson had 14 saves on the night. Lake Erie is now 3-2-0-1 against the Griffins so far this season with two games still to play.

Lake  Erie will now finally return home on Wednesday to host the Syracuse Crunch.

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