Mercier Starts New Year with Big Win

Monsters rookie Justin Mercier picked quite a time to score his first - and second - goal as a professional. The Miami (OH) University alum scored two of Lake Erie's three goals in their 3-2 win over the Bulldogs in Hamilton on Saturday night. It was the first win at Copps Coliseum in Lake Erie franchise history, and is the Monsters seventh win in the last nine games.

The victory was also the first of the season for the Monsters against North Division-leading Hamilton. The first two times the teams met, in a back-to-back at Quicken Loans Arena over Thanksgiving weekend, the Bulldogs shut out the Monsters in both games. Saturday was the first of four games between the teams in Hamilton over the course of the next 11 days.

Mercier scored the first Lake Erie goal of 2010 less than five minutes into the game. His goal at 4:43 of the first period was the first of his professional career. Marty Sertich and Brian Willsie assisted on the score. With the helper, Willsie has registered a point in four consecutive games (3G, 3A).

The Monsters maintained their 1-0 lead for two full periods, as neither team would score through the remainder of the first or second periods. Hamilton outshot the visiting Monsters, 23-12, over the course of the first 40 minutes.

Matt Ford doubled the Lake Erie lead with his goal at the 5:40 mark of the third period. Patrick Bordeleau and Cedric McNicoll were credited with the assists.

While it looked as if Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman might pick up his third shutout of the season, J.T. Wyman put an end to that with his goal with a little more than two minutes to go in the game. The goal at 17:49 was assisted by P.K. Subban.

With the Bulldogs down by only one, Mercier struck again, pushing the Monsters lead back up to two with his empty-netter at 19:14. Sertich again assisted on Mercier's goal, his second multi-point game of the season. Sertich has recorded points in the last three straight games (1G, 4A).

Hamilton would not go quietly into the night, however, and cut the Lake Erie advantage back to one with Ben Maxwell's goal with 21 seconds to play in regulation. Carl Mathieu and Tom Pyatt recorded the assists. However, the Monsters were able to hold off the Bulldogs and finished with the 3-2 win to start 2010.

Weiman ended the night with 31 saves on 33 shots. Bulldogs netminder Cedric Desjardins had 14 saves on 16 shots faced.

The Monsters will travel to Grand Rapids to face the Griffins on Sunday afternoon before returning home to host Milwaukee on Tuesday. Tickets for all games at The Q are available by calling 216-420-0000, visiting or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

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