Tough Start to Road Trip on Tuesday

Lake Erie hit the road on Tuesday facing four games in the next five days.  The tough road trip got off to a tough start, as the Monsters began the swing with a 7-3 loss in Iowa.

Although the Monsters and Stars had met three times prior to Tuesday's contest, they had not done so since October.  The teams played all three games within a 12-day span, with Iowa claiming two victories in Cleveland.  The lone Monsters win occurred in Iowa.

Lake Erie started Tuesday's game looking like they had picked up right where they left off the last time they played at Wells Fargo Arena.  Brad Richardson put the Monsters on the board quickly, scoring on a power play just 1:56 into the opening period.  Jamie Lundmark was credited with the assist, as was Eric Healey, who leads Lake Erie with 38 points (15G, 23A) on the season.  Healey has now recorded six points (3G, 3A) in four games against Iowa.  

The Monsters would maintain their 1-0 advantage for more than a full period, before B.J. Crombeen evened it up for the Stars with his power play goal at 6:46 of the second period.  He was assisted by Marius Holtet and Marty Sertich, and it would not be the last time the Monsters would hear from Crombeen on the night.

Iowa wasted little time in taking the lead for themselves, going up by a goal with Francis Wathier's score less than a minute later.  His goal at 7:55 was helped by Janos Vas and Tommy Wandell.

Wyatt Smith tied it back up with his power play goal at 11:11 of the middle stanza.  Richardson and Vladimir Denisov were given the assists.  Richardson has a four-game scoring streak going, recording eight points (2G, 6A) in that time.

Iowa would get the last word in the second, scoring again at 16:02 to regain the lead for good.  Chris Connor's goal was assisted by Konstantin Pushkarev and Bryce Lampman. 

Crombeen would continue his own scoring on the night, as well as that of Iowa, with his second goal at the 9:34 point of the third period.  Assists on the play were credited to James Neal and Brett Westgarth.

Just two minutes later, Michael Vernace closed the gap to just one goal for Lake Erie.  His goal at 11:46 was helped by T.J. Hensick, who now has three points (1G, 2A) against the Stars this season.

Iowa fired right back, pushing their lead back to two with Perttu Lindgren's goal at the 14:19 mark of the last period.  Pushkarev was again in on the assist, as was Connor.

The Stars would just pad their lead from there.  Crombeen finished off his hat trick at 16:48, off a pass from Sertich.  Neal then converted on the power play at 19:38 to give Iowa their 7-3 final result.  Neal's score was assisted by Crombeen and Jussi Timonen

Mike Wall was between the pipes for Lake Erie, posting 35 saves on a whopping 42 shots.  Across the ice, Tobias Stephan had 22 saves on 25 shots for Iowa.

The Monsters will have little time to dwell on Tuesday's game, as they head straight to Quad City to face the Flames on Wednesday.

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