Monsters Open Season In Dramatic Fashion

The Lake Erie Monsters opened their third season in the American Hockey League in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, as the team battled back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Rochester Americans 3-2 in overtime. Phil Dupuis was the hero of the night, as the French-Canadian center beat Americans goalie Tyler Plante with just six seconds remaining in the five-minute sudden-death frame.

Defenseman Clay Wilson opened the scoring at the 3:07 mark of the first, putting the Americans ahead in front of the home crowd with a power play tally. Mike York and Graham Mink were credited with assists on the goal. But Wilson’s tally would be the lone marker of the first frame, as Monsters goaltender Tyler Weiman kept Lake Erie’s deficit at one, making 12 saves on 13 shots in the first 20 minutes of the game.

The Americans, looking to keep the foot on the gas in front of their home crowd, would strike first in the second period and score another special teams goal. Kenndal McArdle would put Rochester up 2-0 at 11:46 of the second while down a man. Jamie Johnson would get the lone assist on McArdle’s shorthanded marker.

But if the Americans thought the Monsters would accept defeat quietly, they were wrong. Brian Willsie would cut Rochester’s lead in half, netting a shorthanded score at the 17:45 mark of the second. Defenseman Derek Peltier assisted on the tally.

Heading into regulation’s final frame Dupuis, Lake Erie’s leader in points and assists last year, would tie the game at 10:55 of the third. Boston College product Brock Bradford would notch his first professional point with an assist on the goal, and the AHL’s sixth-leading scorer last season, Darren Haydar, would also pick up a helper on the Dupuis tally.

After battling to a 2-2 tie through the first 60 minutes of the game, the Monsters and Americans would head to a five-minute, sudden-death overtime period to settle the score. With just six seconds left in the extra frame, Dupuis would net the game-winner, giving Lake Erie a season-opening win for the second consecutive season. Haydar would pick up an assist on the goal. For his late-game heroics, Dupuis was named the first star of the game. The Monsters are now 7-4-1-1 all-time against the Americans.

The Monsters return to Rochester on Friday before their home-opener against the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday, October 10th, at 7:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Monsters magnetic schedule, courtesy of Sugardale. Tickets are available by calling 216-420-0000 or visiting LakeErieMonsters.com.

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