Milwaukee Edges Monsters in OT

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In their first game of a home-and-home series against the Milwaukee Admirals, the Lake Erie Monsters pushed the AHL’s second-best team to the brink before losing in overtime, 2-1, at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night.

“It was the type of game I expected; two teams that don’t give up a lot of goals in the standings, and two good teams defensively,” said head coach Joe Saco. “We knew it would be a close, low-scoring affair. Unfortunately, in overtime, we couldn’t find a way to seal the deal.”

Phil Dupuis started the scoring for the Monsters, notching his team-leading 16th goal of the season on the power play at the 15:13 mark of the first period. Skating into the zone, captain Chris Durno dropped the puck for Dupuis just inside the blue line. Driving to the net, Durno took both Admirals defenders with him, opening up space for Dupuis. Making quick strides from the blue line in, Dupuis fired a wrist shot from the top of the circle, beating Milwaukee goalie Mark Dekanich low on the blocker side, to put the Monsters ahead, 1-0.

With the goal, Dupuis has now registered a point in the past five games, recording five points (2G, 3A) in that time.

Heading into the second period trailing by one, the Admirals would tie the game at the 8:15 mark of the middle frame on Mike Santorelli’s 20th of the season. Knifing through the Lake Erie slot, Santorelli turned the puck over on his back hand and let if fly, beating Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua low blocker side. Kelsey Wilson and Scott Ford picked up the assists on the goal.

With time winding down in the second, the Monsters were poised to take the lead. Walking out of the corner with the puck, Josh Aspenlind threw a cross-crease pass to Dupuis. Looking at an open net, Dupuis one-timed the feed. But before Dupuis could raise his arms in celebration, Dekanich dove from one side of the net to the other, getting the toe of his stick on the puck, making sure the game would remain tied going into the third period.

Heading into the final frame of regulation knotted up, both goalies would get out of the third period unscathed. The final 20 minutes of regulation play saw the score stay tied at one, as Bacashihua turned away 11 shots, while Dekanich turned away five, sending the teams into overtime.

It seemed as if the game was destined for a shootout, but then, with 21 seconds left in the sudden death overtime, Cal O’Reilly scored the game-winning goal, his 14th of the year. Ragging the puck into the Monsters zone on his back hand, O’Reilly circled the Monsters cage and tucked the puck in on the wrap around, giving the Admirals the win.

The Monsters finish their home-and-home with the Admirals on Friday, when they travel to Milwaukee for the first time in franchise history for a game at the Bradley Center at 8:00 p.m. Lake Erie will close out the weekend with a set of home games, as the team hosts San Antonio on Saturday and the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday.

Sights and Sounds
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

"I told the guys, after the second, that I thought we were playing okay, but I thought we had a lot more left. I don’t think it was one of our better games tonight. We looked a little flat at times, a little tired. We have had a tough schedule lately, with two big games at Syracuse and Toronto. It just looked like we didn’t have the energy we usually do at home.” - Head Coach Joe Sacco


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