Stewart Saves the Day (Again) in Overtime

The Lake Erie Monsters avenged last Sunday’s home loss as they took out the Manitoba Moose, 5-4, in overtime Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena. The 7,095 fans on hand witnessed the first home overtime victory in franchise history.

Lackluster passes and a turnover in the slot cost the Monsters as the Moose stomped onto the ice in a big way. Manitoba center Greg Classen buried a biscuit on the doorstep that Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua could not deny at the 6:34 mark of the first.

To hastily return the favor, Wes O’Neill launched a shot at the Manitoba net that confused goaltender Cory Schneider. O’Neill’s first pro tally came at a great time (9:19 – 1st period) as it tied the score at one apiece.

Another defensive miscue on the part of the Monsters in their own zone cost them big as the Moose re-took the lead with a Jannik Hansen tally at the 14:22 mark.

The second period began with the Monsters seeming to have the Moose stranded in murky water, as rookie forward Mark McCutcheon scored his first professional goal at the 5:08 mark.

David Jones scored less than 0:30 seconds following McCutcheon’s marker. Jones’ goal marks his fifth of the season.

As the game’s momentum seemed to shift toward the Monsters, the Moose gasped a new breath of air when Classen found the back of the net for the second time at the 16:17 mark of the second period.

The third period began with the Monsters on the attack and the Moose on their heels as Mark Rycroft notched his first tally of the season. Rycroft’s go-ahead goal was assisted by forwards Dan DaSilva and Codey Burki at the 7:21 mark of the third, putting the Monsters up 4-3.

With little time remaining on the clock, Manitoba center Brad Moran scored his fifth of the season to notch the game at 4-4.

The overtime period quickly came to a close as stellar rookie Chris Stewart scored the game-winner 2:45 into the frame. Stewart was assisted by Johnny Boychuk and Jones. Boychuk posted two assists on the night, while Jones left The Q with two points as well (1g, 1a).

Stewart’s efforts couldn’t have come at a better time as the Monsters were in need of breaking a three-game losing streak.

“Hard work is what it’s attributed to and that’s how I play every night,” said Stewart.

The win improves the Monsters record to 3-3 over the last six games, including three home victories in the last four tries.

“Manitoba is one of the best teams we’ve faced this year. It was almost a must win for us tonight. Now it’s nice to have a whole week off to prepare for Toronto next Friday,” said Rycroft.

The Monsters seemed to put it all together on Saturday. Coming off two disappointing one-goal losses on the road, the Monsters bounced back in a big way.

“The guys had a private meeting tonight and they wanted to challenge themselves. We’ve been struggling lately on the road. They were looking for a better effort from everybody and tonight they got that. They played a full 60 minutes of hockey,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.

Bacashihua made a tremendous 42 saves on the 46 shots he faced. Schneider faced fewer shots and came out on the short end of the stick, stopping 34 of 39.

The Monsters return to action at home versus the Philadelphia Phantoms on Saturday, December 1st, at 7:30 p.m.

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“I’m not so much worried about Manitoba as I am with us. We’re competitive and we proved we can beat anybody in this league on any given night.” - Monsters right wing Mark Rycroft | More game quotes


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