Win Over Hamilton Marks Fourth Straight

For two periods, the Lake Erie Monsters and Hamilton Bulldogs matched each other goal for goal, but two unanswered third-period markers secured a 5-3 victory for the Monsters (37-28-3-7) over the Bulldogs (32-35-2-5) before a crowd of 9,144 at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday. Ryan Stoa led the way for the Monsters with a pair of goals, including the eventual game-winner, giving him five goals over his last four games. The Monsters will now conclude the regular season on Saturday night when they host the Rochester Americans at The Q in a game that could decide the playoff fate of both teams.

Karl Stollery fired a shot from the top of the left circle into the Hamilton net to open the scoring 35 seconds into Friday’s contest, with assists going to David van der Gulik and Tyson Barrie. Stollery’s second goal of the season was an even strength tally, just as every goal from both teams would be in the game.

Twenty-eight seconds later, former Monsters forward Brian Willsie found a loose puck in the slot, and sent the puck into the top-shelf of the Monsters net to tie the game at 1-1 for the Bulldogs.

Stoa’s first goal of night came at 6:39 of the first period when the power forward lugged a puck up the right side, and sent a backhand through the legs of Hamilton’s starting goalie Peter Delmas, prompting the pulling of Delmas from the game. Robert Mayer would enter the game in relief for Hamilton. Greg Mauldin and Barry Goers would register assists on Stoa’s 15th goal of the season.

Louis LeBlanc started the scoring in the second period for Hamilton, tying the game at 2-2 when he snuck a wrist shot under the right arm of Monsters goalie Cedrick Desjardins at 2:15, just seconds after hitting the post on a nearly identical shot.

Eric Hunter answered for the Monsters on a rebound at 7:37 of the second period for his sixth of the season. Hunter battled for a loose puck, and after multiple swats at the puck, was able to find the back of the net. Peter MacArthur and Barrie assisted on the goal, which gave the Monsters a 3-2 advantage.

With under four minutes remaining in the second period, Olivier Fortier redirected a Gabriel Dumont attempt in front of the Monsters goal to tie the game at 3-3.

The first of the Monsters two third-period goals was scored by Stoa after a centering effort from Mauldin. Stoa fired the puck in from directly in front of the Bulldogs net at 7:32 of the third period; his 16th of the season and fifth in his last four games. Mauldin and Goers assisted.

At 14:40 of the third, van der Gulik scored on a rebound for his 12th goal of the season. Patrick Rissmiller and Mike Connolly assisted on the tally, which extended the Monsters lead to 5-3; the widest margin of the game.

Desjardins is 16-10-5 after stopping 23 of 26 shots against his former team. Delmas stopped five of seven shots for Hamilton in 6:39 of action, before giving way to Mayer, who played the last 53:21 of the game, stopping 27 of 30. Mayer is 12-18-1 with the loss in net.

The Monsters wrap up the regular season Saturday night at The Q when they host the Rochester Americans, another team battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The action begins at 7:30 PM. All the action can also be heard live on ESPN 850 WKNR with Doug Plagens on the call.

NOTES: The Monsters are 18-4-1-2 when Ryan Stoa registers a point; the forward has five goals and two assists over his last four games… Barry Goers’ two assists made for his first multi-point game as a Monster… Tyson Barrie, who had been called up to the Colorado Avalanche and had not played for the Monsters since February 17, had a pair of assists and was +2… With a goal and an assist, David van der Gulik has now mustered both a goal and an assist on six occasions this season… The Monsters have won four consecutive games; the only other time the Monsters accomplished this feat this season was between February 8 and February 15… The Monsters are 17-6-1-6 since the all-star break, earning points in 24 of their last 30 games… The Monsters were 4-4 on the penalty kill, and are now 43-50 on the penalty kill over their last 11 games.

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