Grand Rapids Griffins 2 at Cleveland Monsters 6
Feb. 11, 2020
CLEVELAND – The Grand Rapids Griffins saw their three-game point streak come to an end when they fell 6-2 to the Cleveland Monsters on Tuesday night at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
The Monsters (23-23-2-2) came out of the gate strong as they surged to a 2-0 advantage after the opening period. That lead doubled in the middle frame before Evgeny Svechnikov tallied his fourth power-play goal in his last three outings. However, Cleveland netted four in the period, which propelled them to a five-goal advantage after 40 minutes. Eric Tangradi’s tally in the third was not enough as the Monsters took the two points.
The Griffins (22-22-3-4) will welcome Cleveland for a rematch on Friday at Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m. in the final game of the season series before heading on a three-game road trip.
The Monsters did not waste any time getting on the scoresheet when they scored the opening goal just 1:01 into the contest. After Cleveland won a faceoff in the Griffins’ zone, Jakob Lilja fired a shot from the right point that deflected off Joe Hicketts in front of the net. The puck bounced to Gabriel Carlsson near the left post and his one-timer beat the outstretched leg of Calvin Pickard.
Cleveland netted its 11th shorthanded goal of the campaign at 15:03, which ranks fourth in the AHL. Ryan MacInnis found Stefan Matteau skating out on a 2-on-1 break and Matteau’s wrist shot from the left circle sailed over the glove of Pickard for his 12th of the season.
The Monsters made it a 3-0 game just 1:50 into the second period when Paul Bittner scored his seventh of the year. Kole Sherwood backhanded a pass from behind the net toward the bottom of the right circle, where Bittner awaited the puck. From a sharp angle, Bittner’s one-timer floated over the left shoulder of the netminder.
With 14:57 left in the middle frame, the Griffins found themselves in a four-goal deficit thanks Lilja’s fifth of the campaign. Adam Clendening hammered a shot from the right point that was deflected by Lilja between the circles and over the glove of Pickard.
Svechnikov got things going for the Griffins at the 6:17 mark when he netted his 10th of the season. From the high slot, Moritz Seider blasted a shot toward the top of the crease that was deflected by Svechnikov and into the left corner to make it a 4-1 contest. Svechnikov now has six points in the last three games (4-2—6).
Grand Rapids’ momentum was cut short as Cleveland scored once more with 11:09 left in the second when Trey Fix-Wolansky tallied his eighth of the year. A centering pass by MacInnis from behind the cage found Fix-Wolansky at the top of the crease and his shot drifted into the left corner.
The nightmare continued for the Griffins as the Monsters tallied their fourth goal of the frame just one minute later. Steve Johnson skated behind the goal and his wraparound attempt at the right post was saved by Pickard. However, the rebound crept over to Maxime Fortier and his one-timer beat the skate of the goaltender for his second tally in two seasons with Cleveland.
Pickard was replaced by Pat Nagle with 10:09 remaining in the period after making 14 saves on 20 shots.
The offense for the Griffins came to life in the final frame, outshooting the Monsters 14-6. Grand Rapids scored its 14th power-play goal in just as many games when Tangradi netted his eighth tally in 12 outings at 13:42. From the blue line near the left wing, Dennis Cholowski rifled a shot that was deflected by Tangradi in the middle of the zone and into the right corner of the goal. The Griffins failed to score again and the Monsters took the 6-2 home victory.
Notes: Nagle stopped all 14 attempts he faced…Grand Rapids outshot Cleveland 39-34…The Griffins power play went 2-for-7 while the penalty kill went 3-for-3..Taro Hirose extended his season-high assist streak to six games (0-9—9)…Chris Terry moved his point streak to four games (1-4—5)…Despite the loss, the Griffins have points in 11 of their last 14 contests (8-3-1-2)…The four goals scored by the Monsters in the second frame is the most conceded by the Griffins in a period this season.
Three Stars: 1. CLE Lilja (goal, assist); 2. CLE Clendening (three assists); 3. CLE Thiessen (W, 37 saves)
Photo by Cleveland Monsters