Calls of the Week with Ben Holden

Hello again Monsters fans and welcome to another exciting, action-packed edition of the “Calls of the Week”. What a weekend in Ontario it was for the Monsters this past weekend. It started with a great 4-2 win in Hamilton over the Bulldogs, and then it was followed up by an absolutely great comeback win in Toronto on Saturday afternoon against the Marlies.

I also want to say it was great to see so many great Monsters fans at both Copps Coliseum on Friday and then at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday. I had a chance to go down and see several of them at the end of the Monsters bench before Friday’s game. It was awesome to see our jerseys in the crowd and some of our great fans in attendance at both games. I hope that continues throughout the rest of the regular season and in the playoffs!

Let’s get this week’s “Calls of the Week” started with a recap of the Monsters dominating performance Friday night in Hamilton. Lake Erie struck first at 3:18 of the opening period when rookie defenseman Cameron Gaunce snapped home a shot from just inside the blue line for his second goal of the season. Coincidentally, his first of the season came in Hamilton back in mid-January. It was a great play in which Gaunce got the puck through traffic from about three feet inside the blue line. He didn’t stop there. Later in the first period on a power play, he connected on a lengthy stretch pass to Julian Talbot, who then beat the Hamilton defenders down the slot to score his eighth goal of the season. Goalie John Grahame also drew an assist on the play. Here’s how the call sounded on AM 1220 and the Monsters Hockey Network.

The assist by Gaunce was part of his career-best three-point night in a Monsters uniform. In the second period, David van der Gulik then made a terrific play to carry the puck up the left wing and into the Hamilton zone, and as he reached the faceoff circle, he made a diagonal pass back to Gaunce near the blue line. Gaunce had just come off the bench and he walked the puck to the top of the circle and fired a great pass back to Van Der Gulik, who drove to the blue paint and gave the Monsters a 3-1 lead. Here’s how this highlight reel goal, that proved to be the game winner, sounded at Copps Coliseum.

The Monsters had a 3-1 lead in the third period and got an early power play chance. Shawn Belle, who played two seasons in Hamilton earlier in his career, was playing in his third game with the Monsters and did a great job to settle down the power play unit. Belle teamed up with Captain Ben Walter and Greg Mauldin for one of the best Monsters goals of the season to make it 4-1 Lake Erie. Here’s how that dazzling goal sounded on AM 1220 and the Monsters Hockey Network.

The Monsters cruised to a 4-2 win, despite Hamilton’s goal late in the third period. The Monsters clearly dominated that game and then headed up the QEW into Toronto on Saturday for a matinee with the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. The Monsters fell behind in this game but showed grit, toughness and character in coming back to win 3-2. The Marlies took a 1-0 lead in the second period when Mike Zigomanis scored. Here’s how the call sounded with Ben Holden on AM 1220 and the Monsters Hockey Network.

Not long after that the Marlies built a 2-0 lead on the Monsters, when former first-round pick of the Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri scored from the slot with a top shelf shot. Here’s how that call sounded.

But from that point on, the Monsters turned up the heat and played their game – a fast, physical and smart brand of hockey. Patrick Bordeleau, Zach Cohen and Julian Talbot all did great work on this goal that made the score 2-1. It was the first as a Monster for defenseman Shawn Belle. Here’s how the call sounded as the Monsters were on the comeback trail.

Shortly after that second period tally from Belle, the Monsters and their outstanding penalty kill unit got the job done. Ben Walter made a great play and then a great pass to Greg Mauldin who flew down the left wing and beat Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens for the game-tying goal. Here’s how Holden described Mauldin’s shorthanded goal.

Then with the game still tied at 2-2 midway through the third period, Luke Walker and Cam Gaunce helped set up Julian Talbot, who scored the game winner. It was Talbot’s ninth of the season and his second goal in as many games. Here’s how that call sounded.

The Marlies pulled their goalie in the final minute and had several chances to tie the game but Jason Bacashihua was great in goal for the Monsters, as was John Grahame the night before in Hamilton. Here are the final 4.4 seconds of the game as the Monsters held on for another huge two points and maintained a firm grip on a Western Conference playoff spot.

It was quite a weekend in Ontario. The Monsters brought home four of a possible four points in the two wins and now own a 5-2-0-0 record against Hamilton, and a 4-1-0-0 record against Toronto. The Monsters still have one more game at home against Hamilton and two more games in Toronto, before one at home against the Marlies.

With 13 games left in the season, the Monsters are in prime position for their first playoff berth in their four-year franchise history. This weekend it’s a 3-in-3 on the road. Friday, the Monsters will be in Grand Rapids on FS Ohio at 7:00 pm, and then Saturday and Sunday it will be games on AM 1220 and the Monsters Hockey Network from Milwaukee and Peoria. Keep cheering on our guys and our push for the 2011 Calder Cup playoffs! Check back with us next week for another exciting edition of “Calls of the Week”. Until then, Go Monsters!!!!

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