Monsters Claim Third Straight Win with 3-2 Shootout Victory Over Moose

Zaar pots shootout winner, Korpisalo stops 39 in front of 11,625 fans at The Q.

CLEVELAND – The AHL’s defending Calder Cup Champions, the Cleveland Monsters, proudly powered by Constellation, defeated the Manitoba Moose in a shootout on Friday in front of 11,625 fans at The Q by a final score of 3-2. With the win, the Monsters’ third consecutive victory, Cleveland improved to 23-18-2-3 overall this season and with a .554 points percentage, climbed into fourth place in the AHL’s Central Division standings.

The Monsters grabbed a 1-0 lead at 11:37 of the opening frame when Markus Hannikainen wired a left-circle transition wrist shot past Manitoba net-minder Eric Comrie on power-play feeds from Dean Kukan and Oliver Bjorkstrand. The Moose battled back to tie the game, however, at 19:41 of the first when Manitoba captain Patrice Cormier muscled an even-strength score over sprawling Cleveland backstop Joonas Korpisalo to knot things at one heading into the second.

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Cormier and the Moose picked up right where they left off in the middle frame as the veteran centerman potted his second of the game at even strength at 3:58 of the period to make it 2-1 Manitoba. Cleveland’s answer came swiftly, though, as defenseman Dillon Heatherington lifted a transition backhand over Comrie’s left pad at 11:02 thanks to five-on-five feeds from Bjorkstrand and T.J. Tynan to level the score heading into the final stanza.

After a scoreless third period led to a scoreless overtime frame, the Monsters were pushed into their eighth shootout of the season. Following Comrie’s denial of Cleveland’s Sonny Milano in the top of the first round, Kyle Connor scored for the Moose in the bottom of the frame before the Monsters’ Hannikainen and Manitoba’s Jack Roslovic both failed to tally in the second round. With the Moose leading 1-0 entering the third, Bjorkstrand leveled the shootout in the top of the round and Korpisalo denied Manitoba’s Chase De Leo to keep things knotted at one apiece heading into the top of the fourth. In his third game back in the Monsters’ lineup since enduring a 12-game injury absence, Daniel Zaar put the Monsters ahead 2-1 and Korpisalo slammed the door on Moose left wing Brendan Lemieux in the bottom of the round to preserve a 3-2 Cleveland victory.

Korpisalo improved to 7-5-2 in net for the Monsters by virtue of a 39-save performance through regulation and overtime, and a three-for-four showing in the shootout, while Manitoba’s Comrie is now 10-15-4 after stopping 29 pucks and two more in the shootout. Next up for the Monsters, it’s a Sunday rematch vs. the Moose with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 3:00 pm on CLE 43 WUAB, 99X and the Monsters Hockey Network.

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