Last Minute Goal Ends Trip with a Loss

Photos courtesy of Darren Abate/pressphotointl.com
Lake Erie's three-games-in-three-days road trip ended Sunday the way it began on Friday - with a loss. The Monsters led the Rampage in the third period before giving up two goals, including one with only 1:30 left in the game, and falling in San Antonio, 4-3. The Rampage outshot the Monsters 39-26 in the loss, which dropped Lake Erie back down to sixth place in the North Division, four points behind fourth-place Manitoba and one point behind Toronto. Lake Erie started their weekend with an overtime loss in Houston on Friday, then won in San Antonio on Saturday.

For the second consecutive day, the Rampage struck early in the first, receiving a goal from Gavin Morgan two minutes and 38 seconds into the period. After carrying the puck into the left side of the Lake Erie zone, San Antonio rookie Josh Lunden fired a shot from the left faceoff dot that rebounded to right wing Matt Watkins at the bottom of the left faceoff circle. Watkins then sent a behind-the-back pass to Morgan in the slot, where the centerman beat Monsters netminder John Grahame low to the glove side.

Eight minutes and seven seconds later, San Antonio added to their lead on Brett MacLean’s team-leading 30th goal of the season. Gaining possession of the puck behind the Monsters net, MacLean wrapped a pass around the right post to Alexandre Picard on the left post. With Grahame sliding over to play the puck, Picard returned the disc through traffic in the slot to MacLean, where the winger deposited the puck into the upper right corner of the net.

However, San Antonio’s two-goal lead did not last for long as Lake Erie scored twice in a minute and 41 second span prior to the end of the opening frame.

Working in the triangle formation in the Rampage zone during a five-on-three man-advantage, Monsters left wing Darren Haydar sent a pass to left wing Ryan Stoa at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Wasting little time, Stoa then found Lake Erie right wing Brian Willsie in the slot, where Willsie beat Rampage goaltender Josh Tordjman high inside the left post at 17:29 to close the deficit to 2-1.

The Monsters then knotted the contest at two goals apiece on Stoa’s 22nd goal of the season. After racing through the left side of the neutral zone and into San Antonio territory, Lake Erie center T.J. Hensick dropped a pass from the top of the left faceoff circle to Willsie in the high slot. Willsie then one-touched a pass to Stoa on the right side of the slot, where the left wing beat Tordjman low to the glove side to tie the game at 2-2 with 50 seconds remaining in the first.

Five minutes into the second stanza, Lake Erie took a 3-2 lead on Stoa’s second goal of the game. Regrouping on the center of the Monsters blueline, Lake Erie defenseman Kevin Montgomery banked a pass off the left boards to center Phil Dupuis near the San Antonio blueline. After entering the San Antonio zone, Dupuis dropped for Stoa near the left half wall before the left wing cut inside the left faceoff dot and beat Tordjman through the five-hole.

San Antonio knotted the equalizer, on the power play, at 6:59 of the third when forward Alexandre Picard netted his 26th goal of the season. Receiving pressure on the right half wall, Turris left a puck for defenseman Sean Sullivan. Sullivan then found MacLean in the right corner, where the left wing connected with Picard on the left post to tie the game at 3-3.

With three minutes and 12 seconds remaining in regulation, Hensick was whistled for a hooking penalty and provided San Antonio’s power play with an opportunity to move ahead.

A minute and 42 seconds later, San Antonio took a 4-3 lead when right wing David Spina beat Grahame high inside the left post for his second power-play goal of the season.

In the game’s final minute and a half, the Rampage weathered a bolstered Lake Erie attack after Monsters head coach David Quinn pulled Grahame in favor of an extra skater.

Tordjman made 23 saves on 26 Lake Erie shots in the win, while Grahame turned away 35 of 39 San Antonio shots for the loss.

The Monsters return to action on Thursday in Peoria, where they will start another three-game, three-day road trip.

Story courtesy of San Antonio Rampage


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