Monsters Shocked by Rocket on Home Ice, 5-4

Collins, Sherwood, Bittner, Cross all score in first of three games in three nights for Cleveland

The AHL’s Cleveland Monsters were defeated by the Laval Rocket on Thursday at The Q by a final score of 5-4. With the loss, the Monsters are now 26-24-6-1 overall this season and with 59 points, remain alone in sixth place in the AHL’s North Division standings.

Cleveland grabbed a 2-0 lead in the opening period on Thursday as Ryan Collins struck for an even-strength marker at 3:53 on feeds from Zac Dalpe and Paul Bittner before Kole Sherwood posted a five-on-five tally of his own at 4:31, assisted by Mark Letestu.

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In the second, the Rocket found the scoresheet at 3:05 when Lukas Vejdemo made it 2-1, but Bittner pushed the lead to 3-1 Monsters at 6:29 of the frame with a five-on-five finish courtesy of Justin Scott’s lone helper.


Laval’s Hayden Verbeek drew the Rocket within one at 3-2 with an even-strength tally at 8:58, but Cleveland’s Tommy Cross made it 4-2 Cleveland with a four-on-four strike at 14:25 thanks to assists from Kevin Stenlund and Dillon Simpson. Verbeek and the Rocket had the last laugh in the middle stanza, however, as the Laval forward potted his second on the frame at 19:58 to make it 4-3 Monsters through 40 minutes of play. The Rocket didn’t let up in the third, as Vejdemo potted an even-strength marker at 10:46 and Jake Evans connected on the power-play at 15:32 to claim a come-from-behind 5-4 win for Laval.

Cleveland goaltender Jean-Francois Berube stopped 21 of the 26 shots he faced to fall to 18-17-5 this season while Laval’s Charlie Lindgren stopped seven of the ten pucks he faced in the first 26:29 of the game before Michael McNiven improved to 9-6-2 in net for the Rocket this season by virtue of a 13-save performance in relief.

Next up for the Monsters, it’s a Friday rematch vs. the Rocket with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 7:00 pm on FOX Sports Ohio, Alt 99.1, AHLTV and the Monsters Hockey Network.