Motte's Hat Trick Lifts Monsters to 7-4 Victory
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Monsters, proud American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, defeated the Ontario Reign on Friday at The Q by a final score of 7-4. With the win, the Monsters improved to 3-2-1-0 overall this season and with a .583 points percentage, currently sit alone in third place in the AHL’s Central Division standings.
The Monsters leapt to a quick 1-0 lead at 1:23 of the opening frame when Tyler Motte buried a five-on-five chance on feeds from Carter Camper and Hayden Hodgson. Then, at 5:27, Cleveland doubled their advantage when Justin Scott posted an even-strength marker from John Ramage and Brett Gallant before a shorthanded breakaway tally from Jordan Schroeder at 14:55 capped the Monsters’ opening-frame advantage at 3-0.
In the middle stanza, the Reign pulled within a goal thanks to an even-strength Sean Walker marker at 4:45 and a Kevin Gravel power-play strike at 10:49, but Motte, once more from Camper and Hodgson, pushed the Cleveland edge to 4-2 with a five-on-five finish at 12:42 of the second. In the third, Andre Benoit and Paul Bittner combined to supply Calvin Thurkauf with an even-strength tip-in at 5:19 to make it 5-2 Cleveland before Reign captain Brett Sutter posted a shorthanded goal at 12:33 that made it 5-3.
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Thurkauf struck again for what proved to be the game-winning goal at 15:55, thanks to even-strength assists from Sam Vigneault and Blake Siebenaler, before Ontario pulled within a pair at 6-4 with a Michael Mersch goal at 18:40, and Motte capped off a hat-trick, and a 7-4 Cleveland win, with an unassisted, shorthanded, empty-net finish at 19:51.
Monsters net-minder Brad Thiessen improved to 3-1-0 in net for Cleveland by virtue of a 23-save performance while Cal Peterson took the loss between the pipes for Ontario despite stopping 14 of the 18 shots he faced in the second and third periods, in relief of the Reign’s starting goalie Jack Campbell, who gave up three goals on 12 shots faced in the opening stanza.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s a Saturday rematch vs. the Reign with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 1:00 pm on 99X and the Monsters Hockey Network.
Full and partial season ticket memberships are on sale now and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits and the lowest ticket prices starting at only $10 per game. Group outing and birthday bash packages for 10 or more people are also on sale now. All tickets can be purchased by visiting ClevelandMonsters.com, calling (216) 420-0000, visiting The Q Box Office or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart. Be sure to follow the Monsters on Twitter @monstershockey, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/monstershockey, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/monstershockey.