CLEVELAND – Despite a season-high three power-play goals to their credit, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters were defeated by the Charlotte Checkers in a shootout on Saturday at The Q by a final score of 6-5.
With the shootout loss, the Monsters improved to 4-1-0-2 overall this season and with ten points and a .714 points percentage, currently rank second in the AHL’s Central Division standings.
The Monsters grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the first period on Saturday when Daniel Zaar’s first goal of the season sailed past Charlotte net-minder Drew MacIntyre at even-strength just 92 seconds into the game.
Kerby Rychel and Michael Paliotta collected assists on the play. Less than one minute later, Sonny Milano scraped his first of the season through MacIntyre’s legs at 2:25 to make it 2-0 Monsters thanks to a Rychel power-play setup before the Checkers drew within a goal at 7:01 of the first on Brody Sutter’s third goal of the season.
In the middle frame, Rychel blasted home his fourth marker of the year on the power-play at 4:41 to extend the Monsters’ advantage to 3-1 with Andrew Bodnarchuk and Milano notching assists on the play. The Checkers responded with back-to-back goals, however, from Brenden Woods at 10:12 and Derek Ryan at 11:35, to head into the second intermission tied at three.
Lake Erie pulled back in front at 5:00 of the third when Zaar tapped home his second of the game on a crisp, power-play finish from Michael Chaput and Paliotta before Trent Vogelhuber rifled a shorthanded goal past MacIntyre at 9:13 to make it 5-3 Lake Erie with Lukas Sedlak and Bodnarchuk combining to assist the Cleveland native on his first tally this season.
Charlotte persevered down the stretch though, and after a Danny Biega goal at 12:18 of the period, the Checkers forced overtime when Phil Di Giuseppe solved Monsters goaltender Joonas Korpisalo with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
After a scoreless overtime session, a three-round shootout saw Korpisalo shut down two of Charlotte’s three skaters with the Checkers’ lone conversion coming in the top of round three from Ryan. That goal, combined with three MacIntyre saves, on Rychel, Chaput and Zaar respectively, delivered Charlotte a 6-5 victory.
Korpisalo fell to 1-0-2 on the season despite 29 saves and MacIntyre’s 19 stops were enough to register the win. Lake Erie’s specialty teams turned in excellent performances in defeat with the Monsters posting a season-best 3/5 mark on the power-play and a steady 6/7 mark on the penalty kill. Next up for the Monsters, it’s a Friday road tilt vs. the Milwaukee Admirals at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.