CLEVELAND MONSTERS AHL HOCKEY CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS 2019

Tony Brown's Playoff Notebook (5.6.19)

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Tony’s Playoff Notebook
Monday, May 6th
Optional Practice – Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, OH

After a 2-0 home loss to the Toronto Marlies in Game 3 of the North Division Final on Sunday afternoon, the Monsters now trail the defending Calder Cup Champions three games to none in the best-of-seven game series heading into Tuesday’s Game 4 at 7:00 pm at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Speaking prior to an optional practice on Monday, relative Monsters newcomers Trey Fix-Wolansky and Derek Barach discussed the team’s outlook heading into a must-win fourth game of the series.

 

PRACTICE NOTES:

  • While Monsters players were in attendance for meetings and video work, only the scratched players from Game 3 took to the ice Monday morning, along with goaltenders Hayden Stewart and Matiss Kivlenieks.

 

GAME 3 REACTIONS

Despite outshooting the Marlies 35-26 in Sunday’s Game 2, the Monsters were stymied by Toronto net-minder Kasimir Kaskisuo who improved to 6-0 in the playoffs by virtue of a 35-save showing, the Finland native’s first shutout of the postseason. Both Fix-Wolansky and Barach discussed Monday how the Monsters are, despite their results in the win/loss column in the series, playing in large part in the manner in which they’re aiming to play.

Derek Barach, F
“I like our game – the last two games we felt like we were a bit of the better team and on the short end of the stick…We’re running into a hot goaltender right now, I think the Game 4 emphasis is going to be ‘We need to get traffic on this guy,’ we’ve got to make it a little more difficult on him and hopefully some chances will find the back of the net.”

Trey Fix-Wolansky, F
“I think both games [two and three] we played really well. Obviously a couple bounces could have gone our way and they went their way so we’re just going to stick to our same structure, same game plan and get ‘em next game...Just playing below their goal line. I think when we get pucks in and start our cycle, get shots on the net from the point and just crash the net…That’s when we’re having our most success.”

Derek Barach, F
“You just have to stay positive. Obviously positivity is a huge factor being down [three games to none] in a series…Our season’s on the line, each game is do or die now so we have to come in with that mentality and have our jump right from the beginning of the first period. If we do that and we play the way we’ve been playing, hopefully we can get some bounces here and our luck will turn.”

 

QUICK TURNAROUND

Following a highly successful major junior career, punctuated by a 100-plus point season in 2018-19 for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, Fix-Wolansky made his pro debut in Friday’s Game 2 in Toronto and spoke Monday about his adjustment to the professional game, his style of play and the atmosphere inside his new home rink, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Barach, who joined the Monsters for the final 15 games of the regular season after completing his collegiate career at Mercyhurst University, also discussed Monday how the Monsters are incorporating new faces like Fix-Wolansky into the lineup on the fly in the postseason.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, F
“It’s a little bit different obviously…Guys are stronger, faster, they play a more structured game…You’ve just got to play a simpler game, start slow, get your feet into it. As your shifts get up, as you get more time on the ice, you feel more comfortable and just being able to get out here and play a couple games, it’s been super nice and a great experience.”

Derek Barach, F
“I think [incorporating the new faces] has been good. Obviously it goes back to the leadership corps we’ve got in our locker room. They make it easy for guys coming in and feeling comfortable right away and trying to be impactful as soon as they get here. That transition happened for me and now I’ve got 20 games under my belt…Any wisdom I can shed on [the new players] I try to do that.”

Trey Fix-Wolansky, F
“I just try to work as hard as I can, if I give the puck up, try to get it back…I’m a little bit of an undersized forward, but don’t shy away from contact, don’t shy away from the corners, have a little bit of a skill game in there too, can shoot the puck and I think my vision and being able to read plays well, that’s what I use to my advantage and that’s going to be super important as I move into pro…[Playing at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse] is unbelievable, I’ll for sure never forget it – the crowd was really engaged and it’s an unbelievable rink so I’m very fortunate to be playing here.”

 

Here’s your friendly broadcast reminder - be sure to join me and Jock Callander for Game 4 of the best-of-seven game North Division Final as we’ll bring you every second of the action, live from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, on Tuesday, May 7th at 7:00 pm EST on Alt 99.1, AHLTV and the Monsters Hockey Network.