Calls of the Week with Ben Holden

Hello again Monsters fans and welcome to our first-ever Calder Cup Playoff edition of “Calls of the Week”. What an exciting time in Monsters hockey right now. The Monsters are locked into their first-ever playoff series, a series that as of today is tied at 1-1 with Manitoba. The Monsters and Moose split Games 1 and 2 on home ice at The Q this past Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was such a proud day for our organization, as so many people have worked so hard to make the playoff dream a reality. From our ownership, to our players and coaches, our front office, our sales staff, everyone involved with our team was so proud that playoff hockey is finally here with the Monsters after an amazing and record-breaking season for our team on the ice.

As for Saturday and Game 1 of the North Division Semifinal series with Manitoba, 7,908 great Monsters fans were on hand at The Q to witness a great chapter in our franchise history, the first-ever playoff game! Our guys did not disappoint either, it was a 6-4 win and it gave us a 1-0 series lead.

Let’s now look back and listen back to some of the key moments and highlights from Game 1. Matt Ford, who tied a Monsters franchise record with 26 goals during the regular season, picked up right where he left off in the regular season and had a brilliant Game 1 of the series against the Moose. Here’s how Monsters play-by-play announcer Ben Holden, on ESPN 850 WKNR and the Monsters Hockey Network, called the first ever Monsters playoff goal, when Ford made it a 1-0 game at the 3:27 mark of the first period.

With the game in favor of Manitoba after 20 minutes, Justin Mercier, who played in every regular season and playoff game this season for the Monsters, tied the game at 2-2 with an unassisted shorthanded breakaway goal. Here’s how the call sounded with Ben Holden.

Midway through the second period, with the game still tied at 2-2, captain Ben Walter found the back of the net with a power play goal to give the Monsters a lead they would never relinquish. Walter was set up by Shawn Belle and Greg Mauldin.

In the late stages of the second period, with the score still 3-2 Monsters, rookie Brad Malone, just signed by the Avalanche earlier in the week and playing in his first pro game, made a great centering pass from the corner to Ryan Stoa, who banged in his first career playoff goal to give the Monsters a 4-2 lead. Here’s how Holden described the goal.

In the third period the Monsters had a 4-3 lead, until Matt Ford struck again for his second of the game and it came from nearly the exact same spot as his first playoff goal did early in the game. Here’s a listen to Ford’s second goal of the day.

Manitoba again cut their deficit to one goal later in the game, but the Monsters got an insurance goal from rookie Mark Olver with :18 seconds remaining in regulation, when the Burnaby, B.C. native found the empty net to secure a 6-4 win, the first-ever playoff win for the Lake Erie Monsters! Here’s how the goal sounded.

So after that 6-4 win on Saturday, the Monsters and Moose were right back at The Q on Sunday afternoon for another matinee tilt. Lake Erie was looking to take a commanding 2-0 series lead on the Moose before heading north to Winnipeg for Games 3, 4 and 5. The Moose got the first goal of the game on Sunday in the opening period from Aaron Volpatti, but the Monsters came alive late in the opening period. Mike Carman had a chance up the left wing on former Lake Erie goalie Tyler Weiman, but a penalty called on the play eventually helped the Monsters before the period was over.

A slashing penalty was called on Nolan Baumgartner at 19:26 of the period, and at 19:34, David van der Gulik made the Moose pay with a game-tying power play goal from Shawn Belle and captain Ben Walter. Here’s how Holden described the scoring play on ESPN 850 WKNR and the Monsters Hockey Network.

Defenseman Steve Oleksy, who did not play in Game 1, was back in the lineup for Game 2 and did he ever deliver a great open ice hit midway through the game.

Later in the second period, in fact with time winding down in the period, the Moose crashed the Monsters net and goaltender John Grahame. It turned into quite a melee and it featured Manitoba defenseman Nolan Baumgartner swinging his stick at Grahame. Surprisingly, Baumgartner was given only a two-minute minor penalty on play. Here’s a listen back to that clip at the end of the second period of Game 2.

Midway through the third period, with the game still tied at 1-1, the Monsters called on their top line to try and take the lead and they did not disappoint. David van der Gulik and Greg Mauldin helped set up defenseman Julien Brouillette for his first career playoff goal to make it 2-1. Here’s how Holden described the go-ahead goal at 11:28 of the third.

The Monsters held that 2-1 lead until the final minute of regulation, before Moose forward Marco Rosa found the back of the net from the left wing boards to even the score at 2-2 with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Here’s how call sounded.

In the overtime session, the Monsters were outshot 8-3, but had a couple of great chances early in extra session, courtesy of Matt Ford and Julian Talbot.

Shortly after that the Moose would get the game-winning goal after the puck was redirected into the Monsters’ net off the skate of Rick Rypien. The goal stood and the Moose won Game 2 by a final count of 3-2. The best-of-seven series was tied at 1-1 with the next three games coming in Manitoba.

Game 3 can be heard on AM 1220 and the Monsters Hockey Network beginning at 8:25 p.m. EST with the pregame show that always features head coach David Quinn and Monsters play-by-play announcer Ben Holden. Be sure to continue to check our website daily for videos, audio clips and news throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs. Until next week’s second playoff edition of the “Calls of the Week”, keep rooting on the Monsters in their quest for the 2011 Calder Cup.

Go Monsters!

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