CLEVELAND – In the team’s first home game since December 29th, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters earned a point in the standings, but fell in overtime on Wednesday at The Q to the Grand Rapids Griffins by a final score of 3-2.
With the overtime loss, the Monsters are 20-14-4-3 overall this season and with a .573 points percentage, remain alone in fifth place in the AHL’s Central Division standings.
The Griffins grabbed a 1-0 lead on Wednesday when Tyler Bertuzzi rifled a power-play goal past Lake Erie backstop Anton Forsberg at 10:00 of the first period, but the Monsters tied the game at 17:16 on Oliver Bjorkstrand’s sixth tally of the season, an even strength marker assisted by Dillon Heatherington and Eric Roy.
In a hard-fought middle stanza, Bjorkstrand struck again at 13:17, knifing home a rebound on feeds from John Ramage and Oleg Yevenko to claim the Monsters’ first lead of the game at 2-1.
A Mitch Callahan power-play goal just 46 seconds into the third period tied the game at two for Grand Rapids, and after the rest of the frame slid by scoreless, a Lake Erie turnover at 3:32 of overtime gave Griffins defenseman Ryan Sproul enough room to wire home the deciding goal in a 3-2 Grand Rapids victory.
A single-game season-high 43 saves for Forsberg left the Lake Erie net-minder at 13-7-3 overall this season after Wednesday’s overtime loss, while Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau improved to 20-5-2 in net for Grand Rapids thanks to a 30-save performance.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s a Friday home tilt vs. the Milwaukee Admirals with full coverage underway from The Q at 7:00 pm.