Stewart's Hat Trick Leads Way to Win

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It was a night of firsts for the Lake Erie Monsters, as the team won their first game back at home from a six-game road trip, compliments of the first hat trick of the season from the hot stick of Chris Stewart. The right wing’s hat trick, along with the team scoring four goals in 4:48 in the third period, paved the way for a remarkable 6-4 come-from-behind win against the Hamilton Bulldogs Sunday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

“This is a huge booster, scoring a hat trick,” said Stewart. “You have a lot of pressure on yourself as a second year player and a guy who we went to for scoring last year, so now you don’t want to look back from here. “

The Monsters started out the game fast, outshooting the Bulldogs 19-4 in the first period, before eventually setting a franchise record with 45 shots in the game. But it would be the Bulldogs who would get on the board first when Yannick Weber beat goaltender Tyler Weiman 12 minutes into the game. But the Bulldogs wouldn’t keep the lead for long.

Stewart responded quickly, tying the game at one with his second goal of the season approximately three minutes later. Standing pat on the hash marks, Stewart was the recipient of a T.J. Galiardi faceoff win. As soon as the puck was on Stewart’s stick, the 6’2, 228 pound forward snapped the biscuit off the glove of Bulldogs goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and into the net.

Stewart would strike again, making it the first multi-goal game of the year for a Monsters player, 7:38 into the second period on the power play. After taking a feed from Kyle Cumiskey, Stewart pulled up in between the faceoff circles, throwing goaltender Desjardins’ timing off before snapping a wrist shot through the wickets of the Bulldogs goalie.

The power play scoring would continue, it just wouldn’t be the Monsters capitalizing on the man advantage as the team took seven penalties in the second frame. A little more than two minutes after Stewart’s goal, David Desharnais fished a rebound out of the pads of Weiman, pulled it back and put it over the goalie’s sprawled out body.

Max D’Agostini would continue the power play scoring for the Bulldogs, tipping in a Yanick Lehoux shot 13 minutes into the second period. D’Agostini would again cash in on the power play, splitting the Monsters defense and flipping the puck under Weiman’s glove with just under three minutes left in the second. Down but not out, the team would head into the locker room to heed the advice of head coach Joe Sacco.

“We played a great first period,” said Sacco. “I thought we had total control of the game but we had seven penalties in the second period and you just can’t keep any momentum going that way.

“Like I said before, if we got it to the third period at 4-2 I thought we’d have a chance to come back, and they did it,” said Sacco. “Again, real hard work and determination.”

Although the team would score four goals in under five minutes, it was a play that won’t appear on the score sheet that began the team’s monumental turn around. At the 14 minute mark of the third period, Bulldogs forward Max Pacioretty broke in shorthanded on Weiman. After faking a shot and attempting a deke to the back hand, Weiman stoned the smooth attempt from Pacioretty to keep the Monsters within two.

After Weiman shut the door, the offense did the rest. The scoring outburst began when Galiardi deflected a Mike Vernace point shot at 14:44 of the third. Chris Stewart would be credited with the second assist on the goal. A minute-and- a-half later, Vernace would knot the game at four. With his head up behind the net, Phil Dupuis would send a pass through a slew of sticks in front, finding Vernace, who was sneaking in from his spot at the point. Without hesitation, Vernace took Dupuis’ pass and wired a shot over the glove of Desjardins. Galiardi was credited with the second assist on the goal.

Then, with just under two minutes left in the game, Dupuis would put the Monsters ahead 5-4, and the team would never look back. Taking a pass from Cumiskey below the goal line, Dupuis toe dragged the puck out from behind the net and squeezed the rubber disc in between the post and the glove of Desjardins. Jesse Boulerice was given the second assist on the goal.

With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Stewart would get his hat trick. Coming down on a two-on-one from the red line, Cumiskey fed Stewart the puck and the power forward would lift the puck into the empty net from just inside the Bulldogs blue line to ice the win for the Monsters. The goal would be the last of four in a 4:48 span and would cap the team’s come-from-behind win.

The Monsters will return to action against the Houston Aeros at home on Friday, November 14th at 7:30 p.m.

Sights and Sounds
Chris Stewart Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

“It’s great to see the team win. Tough loss the other night, so the main thing was to get the win here tonight. We were down two goals going into the third period and we had a great third period and came back and won, so that was awesome.” - Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey


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