CLEVELAND, Ohio- The trek for the Calder Cup Playoffs continued on Tuesday night for the Cleveland Monsters, as they welcomed the Chicago Wolves into The Q for a divisional clash.
The Monsters started off with one of the weirder lineups we’ve seen all year, as they put in their “Bad Boys” lineup led by penalty minutes leader Brett Gallant. Gallant was joined by John Ramage, Ryan Stanton, Nick Moutrey and Justin Scott to contest with the Chicago physicality. Head Coach John Madden talked about the peculiar lineup, a lineup that had a combined 285 penalty minutes heading into tonight’s game.
“They played well. I thought they were our best line our last game we had. I thought they played heavy and they know what they’re gonna do with the puck: It’s always gonna go deep. They’re gonna finish checks, so I just wanted to kinda set a tone. It was nothing to do with anything other than basically our brand of hockey we want to play.”
For some reason, that lineup was in for just a minute before a line change commenced. Chicago would seem to be the aggressor in the opening frame and the scoreboard would reflect that with a 1-0 Wolves lead. Ty Loney would put the Wolves in front first, as he deflected the puck into the back of the net off of Jordan Caron’s initial shot from the blue line. Cleveland would have to come from behind for the second straight game, something they did successfully on Saturday night.
The middle stanza was an excellent gameplan executed from Cleveland, as they evened the score at one apiece. Marc-Andre Bergeron, who started the Cleveland scoring on Saturday, played a big part in getting the Monsters going Tuesday. Bergeron fired a shot from the high slot that was redirected by Markus Hannikainen in the low slot. The puck went over Husso’s head and the result was an equalizer for the Monsters at the 3:04 mark of the frame. Thought the Monsters only shot five shots on goal in the frame, they held the high-powered Chicago offense to six shots in the period to keep the Wolves at bay. The game had swung in favor of the Monsters, who would not waste their opportunities in the final frame of play.
The Monsters erupted for fourteen shots on goal in the final stanza, matching their total shots on goal in the first two periods combined. Ryan Craig put the team on top when he fired a shot while streaking down the mid-slot and followed up the shot for a rebound attempt that Husso was still looking for while the goal horn sounded. The goal would go on to be the game-winner and Craig’s second in as many games. A Nick Moutrey high-sticking didn’t slow down Cleveland, as T.J. Tynan got involved with a gorgeous snapshot from the left faceoff circle that found the back-right pocket at the 7:34 mark. Petteri Lindbohm would get sent into the sin bin for cross-checking Jordan Maletta and then proceeded to ram his head into the ice. The Wolves would pay for their foul play, as Justin Scott would put the finishing touches on the game with a shot that whizzed past Husso at the 17:03 mark. Cleveland would take the 4-1 win over the Wolves and make it two straight wins.
“We’re back at home, where we’re real comfortable playing. We’ve had some good games here. Still a lot of work to do. We took care of our business tonight. They’ll be ready to go tomorrow and so will we.” said Captain Ryan Craig when talking about the win and the team’s mentality to be able to have a quick turnaround.
When asked about tomorrow’s adjustments, Coach Madden was made it quite simple: “Everything’s on the table still.”
The Monsters continue to chase Iowa and Charlotte with the games winding down. Tomorrow night, the Monsters play Chicago for another chance at two points.