Monsters Roll Over Rochester on Saturday

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The Lake Erie Monsters push for a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs keeps getting stronger, as the team picked up its seventh win in the past eight games with a 6-2 romp over the Rochester Americans Saturday afternoon at The Q. The game was also Lake Erie’s ninth win in the past 11 games at home.

Attempting to pick up their second win in just as many days against the Americans, the Monsters jumped out of the starting gate, posting three goals in the first period.

“It always helps when you get a start like that,” said head coach Joe Sacco. “We came out with a lot of energy. Both teams were battling and it just seemed like we were fresher for some reason.”

Defenseman Derek Peltier started the scoring just 17 seconds into the game, a franchise record for the fastest goal to start a game. Coming into the zone, forward T.J. Galiardi dropped a pass for captain Chris Durno. With the puck at the top of the circle, Durno whipped a cross-ice feed to Peltier, who one-timed the puck past Rochester goalie Tyler Plante for his second goal of the season.

Less than five minutes later, at the 4:48 mark of the first, defenseman Darcy Campbell would put the Monsters up by two with his fifth goal of the season on the power play. Holding the puck on the half wall, Phil Dupuis fed a pass to Campbell, who wired a one-timer into the top corner of the net past the blocker of Plante. Mike Vernace picked up the second assist on the goal.

Before the first period would end, the Monsters would pad their lead to 3-0 on Galiardi’s ninth goal of the season, which was the Monsters second power play tally of the game. With the puck in the slot, forward Randy Rowe faked a shot, freezing Plante and passing off to Galiardi who was cutting toward the net. Streaking toward the net with the puck, Galiardi cut across the slot, turning the puck over to his backhand and putting it past Plante. Ray Macias picked up the second assist on the goal. With the score, Galiardi has recorded six points (2G, 4A) in the past three games.

The second period would start slow in terms of scoring, but the first goal would finally come at the 12:26 mark of the middle frame from the stick of Matt Hendricks to give the Monsters a 4-0 lead. With the puck at the point, Peltier fired a shot toward the Rochester goal that hit Plante and fell to the ice. Jostling for position, Ledin would chip the rebound over the Americans goalie, where it would lie in the crease, inches from crossing the goal line. Eyeing the puck from a few feet away, Hendricks crashed the net, going through a Rochester defenseman on the way to poking home his 10th goal of the season. With the goal, Hendricks has posted 12 points in his past 11 games (7G, 5A).

But before the second period would come to a close, the Americans would ruin Lake Erie goalie Tyler Weiman’s bid for his seventh shutout of the season with Michal Repik’s 17th tally of the year. With the puck at the point, Stefan Meyer threw a shot toward the Lake Erie goal. After initially being stopped by Weiman, the disc lay inches from the goal line. In front, Repik battled through the stick work of a Monsters defender and the forward backhanded the rebound into the net for the Americans first goal of the game at the 19:06 mark of the second. Captain Rory Fitzpatrick picked up the second assist on the goal.

Heading into the third with a three-goal lead, the Monsters would keep the foot on the gas, looking to increase their lead, and pull closer to a playoff spot. At the 4:45 mark of the third period, the team would push its lead to four on Ledin’s sixth goal of the season. Slithering down the right side of the boards, Macias threw a puck toward the net as Ledin crashed the cage. Both the puck and Ledin arrived at Plante’s crease at the same time, as the puck careened off the body of Ledin and into the net. Hendricks picked up the second assist on the goal.

As if Ledin’s tally and a four-goal lead weren’t enough, the Monsters kept pressing, and two-and-a-half minutes later Hendricks would pick up his third point of the game with his 11th goal of the season. Flying down the left side of the ice, Hendricks put what appeared to be a harmless shot on net. Watching the puck into his midsection, Plante attempted to trap the disc between his glove and blocker. Instead, the puck squeezed through, hitting the ice and dribbling inches over the goal line. Wes O’Neill and Ledin picked up assists on the goal.

Although down 6-1, the Americans would not surrender, as defenseman Keaton Ellerby would notch his first goal as a professional at the 16:16 mark of the third. Having the puck come to him at the point, Ellerby walked in to the top of the faceoff dot and put a flame thrower on net from 60 feet out into the top corner of the net, past the glove of Weiman. Michael Duco and Jarret Lukin picked up the assists on the rookie defenseman’s goal.

Although the offensive outburst was appreciated, forward Matt Hendricks turned it around to look at the other side of the puck to find a reason for the team’s recent success.

“We have a lot of confidence in our goaltending right now,” said Hendricks. “Both Bacashihua and Weiman are playing great for us. We are playing with a lot of confidence and playing hard and we are starting to see what hard work can do when it pays off.”

The Monsters wrap-up their three-game weekend with a Sunday afternoon game against the Hershey Bears Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

Sights and Sounds
Matt Hendricks Interview
Coach Joe Sacco Interview
Quote, Unquote

"We set a goal for ourselves to make that last spot in the playoffs and we are doing everything we can right now to make it happen. We know its going to be tough to get there but we are going to go out the rest of the season and do everything we can. At least we can force the other teams to keep winning.” - Center Matt Hendricks


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