Monsters Fall at Home to Houston

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In their first game back after an exhilarating 6-4 come-from-behind win at home against Hamilton last Sunday, the Lake Erie Monsters couldn’t muster up enough offense to get by the defensive-minded Houston Aeros, dropping the game by a 3-1 score Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

“Their goalie, Barry Brust, did a great job tonight,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “He looked like he was square to the puck tonight and he did a good job.”

It was Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman who held the team in the game early, making 12 of 13 saves in the first period. But the Monsters goalie was left helpless with less than a minute left in the first period. Corey Locke, a man who has scored 11 points in his last four games at The Q, sauced a pass between two Monsters players on to the stick of Ryan Hamilton. Cutting to the net, Hamilton moved the puck from forehand to backhand and calmly deposited it between the legs of Weiman and into the back of the net.

The Aeros drew blood again in the second period, getting on the board at 12:02 thanks to a Maxim Noreau power play goal. Standing just above the faceoff circle to the left of Weiman, Noreau one-timed a feed from Locke and blew it past the glove of Weiman.

A mere 37 seconds later, the Aeros would get on the scoreboard again. And again, it would be a power play tally, but this time, it would be with a two-man advantage. After Clayton Stoner’s shot from the point missed wide, it caromed off the boards right to the stick of Marco Rosa, who slipped the rubber disc between the glove of Weiman and the post. By the second period’s end, the Monsters found themselves down by three.

“We knew it would be a difficult task coming back from 3-0, but we still had some really good chances in the third period,” said Sacco. “It’s tough getting behind a team like that. You really have to work extra hard for your chances. It took us until the third period to get that mindset.”

Regardless of the circumstances, the Monsters weren’t about to go away without a fight. Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey led the charge, putting on a skating clinic just a few minutes into the third period. Gathering the puck in the neutral zone, Cumiskey pushed forward into Aeros territory, ragging the puck around two opposing defenders. With Nathan Smith driving the net, Cumiskey put a cross-crease feed on the stick of a trailing Tom Fritsche, who would deposit his own rebound over Brust to cut the lead to two 3:13 in the third. Chris Mueller registered his first point of the year, picking up the second assist on Fritsche’s goal.

Although the Monsters had numerous chances, Brust continued to shut the door. By the end of the game, Brust had stopped 29 of 30 Monsters shots, including 10 saves in the final frame. Monsters goalie Weiman turned aside 23 of 26 shots on the evening.

“We had a great crowd here tonight, but its tough playing from behind against a team like Houston,” said Sacco. “We try to play a similar style of hockey, but once Houston gets a lead on you they try to shut you down and they do a good job of it.”

The Monsters won’t have too much time to dwell on the loss. The team will return to The Q in less than 48 hours, playing host to the Hartford Wolf Pack for the first time in franchise history on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Sights and Sounds
Tom Fritsche Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

“It’s a strong division with Manitoba, Syracuse, and Grand Rapids. It’s critical to get some wins here at home. Tonight would’ve been a good night to start, we had a great crowd here tonight, but its tough playing from behind against a team like Houston. I’m not going to call it boring because it’s great hockey, they’re very structured, very organized. We try to play a similar style of hockey but once they get a lead on you they try to shut you down and they do a good job of it.” - Head Coach Joe Sacco


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