Monsters Drop Close Game, Head Back Home

The Cleveland Monsters lost a close game to division rivals, the Grand Rapids Griffins, to close out a long stretch of road games. The Griffins defeated the Monsters in a shootout, giving Cleveland their first overtime loss of the season.

Grand Rapids found their way onto the scoreboard first; however, a Monsters goal followed it only 20 seconds later. The game was tied at one in under five minutes of regulation time. A high-scoring first period ended with a Cleveland lead of 3-2 heading into the second period.

In contrast to the five total goals put up in the first period, the second period remained quiet as neither team found the back of the net in the second period. The third period allowed two quick unanswered goals by Grand Rapids to put themselves up by a margin of 4-3 early in the period.

Roughly three minutes later, Monsters’ right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand notched the tying goal that allowed Cleveland to force overtime with the game tied 4-4 at the end of regulation.

The AHL overtime format features a five minute three-on-three winner-takes-all period before heading to a one-on-one shootout. Both the Griffins and Monsters came up empty in this overtime frame, sending the game to a shootout.

In case you don’t know, a shootout is where each team sends a single skater out at a time to try to score. Each team gets an initial three skaters to try to break the tie; however, if the score of the shootout is also tied after three shots per team, the shootout progresses in a frame by frame sudden death shootout.

That’s what happened for the Monsters. After forcing overtime, a scoreless overtime period at that, the Griffins and Monsters advanced to the shootout. The first two Monsters skaters were held without a goal while the second Griffins skater found the back of the net to take the lead in the shootout. The Monsters tied the shootout at one in the bottom of the third frame to force a fourth frame.

But the Monsters fell short as Grand Rapids scored the game winning shootout goal in the fourth frame. The Griffins took the win and thus ended a very tough stretch of road games for Cleveland.

After allowing 40 goals in their last nine games, the defending Calder Cup champions find themselves with a record of 3-7-0-1 on the season. The Monsters will face off with the Chicago Wolves at home in a pair of back to back games. The hockey season is lengthy and maybe a long return to the Q will be just what the Monsters need to get back on track.


–Craig Davenport


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