Monsters Outlast Griffins, 4-2, in Preseason Finale
WINDSOR, ONTARIO - Cleveland's Lake Erie Monsters, proud affiliate of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario by a final score of 4-2 in the second of back-to-back AHL preseason clashes between the two teams. With the win, the Monsters wrapped up the 2015 preseason with a 1-1-0 record in the wake of a 5-1 Friday loss to the Griffins at the BGSU Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The Monsters stormed to a 2-0 lead early in the first period on consecutive even-strength scores, from Alex Broadhurst and Derek Deblois respectively, before the Griffins drew within one thanks to an Alden Hirschfeld tally at 10:30, assisted by Marek Tvrdon and Martin Frk.
Fresh off a one-goal performance for Columbus on Friday in Buffalo, Monsters center Lukas Sedlak pushed the Lake Erie lead to 3-1 early in the second period, when the Czech center took advantage of a miscue by Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum and poked his first of the preseason into an empty net at 3:10 of the frame.
In the third, the Griffins cut the Monsters' lead to 3-2 when Frk supplied a power-play goal at 14:12, assisted by Tvrdon and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan, but Lake Erie hung tough down the stretch, and thanks to an Oliver Bjorkstrand empty-netter at 18:15, assisted by T.J. Tynan, skated away winners by a 4-2 final score. In his first preseason start, Lake Erie's Anton Forsberg made 21 saves to claim victory for the Monsters while McCollum took the loss for Grand Rapids despite a 33-save performance.
Next up for the Monsters, it's the 2015-16 regular-season opener vs. the Rochester Americans with the opening faceoff set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday, October 9th at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.