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The Lake Erie Monsters faced one of the top teams in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins came to Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night and left town with a 6-3 victory.
The Monsters opened the scoring on the night when Chris Stewart put the biscuit in the basket off Dan DaSilva’s pass from behind the Penguins cage. DaSilva has recorded points in three of his last four games, totaling one goal and three assists. He has also posted eight points in his last nine games (3G, 5A).
“I went hard to the net. DaSilva made a great pass and a great play and it resulted with the puck in the net,” said Stewart.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tied the game on a shot from Ned Havern at 14:44 of the first. Alex Goligoski was credited with the lone assist on Havern’s third goal of the season.
Ryan Stone gave the Penguins the lead on a pass from Tim Wallace with less than two minutes remaining in the period. Tim Brent was also credited with an assist.
At the beginning of the second period, Wallace added a goal of his own as he split the Lake Erie defense in the slot and scored to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead at the 1:38 mark. Wallace’s marker was assisted by Stone and Goligoski.
Wilkes-Barre padded their lead (4-1) as Goligoski netted a goal on a slapper from the slot. Kurtis McLean and Havern were given the assists on Goligoski’s eighth goal of the season.
To cut the deficit to two, Stewart found himself in front of the net just beyond heavy traffic and netted his second goal of the night on a pass from Mark McCutcheon at 18:52 of the middle period. Stewart’s marker is his team-leading 18th of the season and it marks his fifth multi-point effort of the year.
As the third stanza began, the Penguins continued their scoring at the 8:24 mark when Nathan Smith scored on a pass from Connor James, giving them a 5-2 lead. Also given a helper was Alain Nasreddine.
Brent Kelly did his part to trim the lead as he netted his 10th goal of the season, which put the Monsters down, 5-3, with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. Brad Richardson made the pass to Kelly as the Monsters were short-handed and Kelly cashed it in at 16:18 of the third. The short-handed tally is the Monsters’ eighth of the season.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton did not take the pedal off the metal even in the late moments as McLean added a goal of his own to give the Penguins a 6-3 lead that they would not relinquish.
“We knew going into the game that they were a team that went to the net hard. We put shots on goal and tried to get rebounds. They did a great job tonight executing the goals. We just didn’t put in the effort that we needed to,” said Monsters head coach Joe Sacco.
Monsters netminder Tyler Weiman denied 25 of 31 shots on the night. Opposing goalie John Curry made 23 stops on 26 shots.
The Monsters are back home Saturday night to take on the division rival Grand Rapids Griffins at 7:30 p.m. The Monsters will be donning custom tie-dyed jerseys that will be auctioned off to raise money for the Veggie U program within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The first 5,000 fans through the gate will receive a free Monsters tie-dyed t-shirt courtesy of Kaiser Permanente.
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