Monsters Fall in Shootout to League's Best

After a hard fought 65 minutes of regulation and overtime, the Lake Erie Monsters took the AHL’s best team, the Hershey Bears, to the full five-man shootout before dropping a 3-2 contest Wednesday morning at Quicken Loans Arena. Despite scoring the game’s first two goals, the Monsters were unable to hold the lead, and the Bears would score in the second and third period before taking the game in the five-man shootout competition.

Former Monsters goalie Jason Bacashihua stopped all five Monsters shooters in the shootout for the Bears and turned away 24 of 26 in the game. Bacashihua also made 24 saves on 25 shots on Saturday in the Bears 4-1 win against the Monsters in Hershey.

Tom Preissing started the scoring early for the Monsters, netting his fifth of the year on the power play just two minutes into the game. After a Hershey defender turned the puck over in the high slot, Preissing intercepted the clearing attempt and blew a slapshot past the low blocker of Bacashihua. With the goal, Preissing has recorded a point in the past five consecutive games (2G, 3A).

Before the first 20 minutes would end, Phil Dupuis would give the Monsters a two-goal lead, snapping a wrist shot past Bacashihua’s glove from the top of the circle. The goal, which was Dupuis’ 13th of the year, came with just five seconds left in the first.

After making five saves in the first 19:41 of play, Monsters goalie Trevor Cann would be replaced by Billy Sauer.

Heading into the middle frame up two, the Monsters would keep their two-goal cushion until the 15:32 mark of the second, when Greg Amadio netted his second of the season. Coming in on a two-on-one, Andrew Joudrey’s shot hit Sauer and trickled into the crease behind the Monsters goalie. Skating past the cage, Amadio tapped the puck into the open net, cutting the Monsters lead in half. The goal, which was the lone score of the second period, was a shorthanded goal.

Trailing by one, the Bears tied the game seven minutes into the third, as Chris Bourque netted his 17th of the season on the power play. With the puck in between the wall and the faceoff dot, Bourque put a shot toward the Monsters net that deflected off a Lake Erie defender in front and went through Sauer’s fivehole. John Carlson and Keith Aucoin picked up the assists.

After Bourque’s tally, the final 13 minutes of regulation would go by without score, and the Monsters would head into overtime tied at two with the AHL’s top squad.

In the sudden death frame, Bacashihua and Sauer made two saves apiece, keeping the game knotted at two, sending it into a shootout.

In the shootout, the first two players for both teams – T.J. Hensick and Matt Ford for the Monsters and Kyle Wilson and Aucoin for the Bears – were turned away. After captain Brian Willsie, Lake Erie’s third shooter, was stonewalled by Bacashihua, it set the table for Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux to come in solo on Sauer. Coming in on Sauer, Giroux faked a shot and deked to the forehand, getting Sauer to go down and slipping the puck in between the outstretched leg of the Monsters goalie and the post.

After Giroux, Sauer would turn away Francois Bouchard. Then, Cedric McNicoll and Brock Bradford – Lake Erie’s fourth and fifth shooters – would be unable to beat Bacashihua, giving the Bears a 3-2 shootout win.

“I thought we played pretty well and defended well against a team with a lot of fire power,” said Monsters head coach David Quinn. “Overall, that’s the best team in the AHL and we had some great chances to make it 3-2. I’m happy with our effort.”

The Monsters return to the ice Friday, when they host the Syracuse Crunch at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (216) 420-0000, by visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or by visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

Sights and Sounds
 
Head Coach David Quinn Interview
 
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