Biggest 10 Games of the Season
Our 10 Biggest Games of the Year
Friday, October 5th vs. Rockford IceHogs
For the third straight year, the Cleveland Monsters faced the Rockford IceHogs at home (2-1-0-0) to win the season opener for the seventh time in franchise history (7-5-0-0). Jean-Francois Berube stopped 24 shots in his first game and win as a Monster, becoming the 24th goalie in franchise history. Eric Robinson scored his first professional goal while Zac Dalpe picked up his first assist of the season. Eight other Cleveland players recorded points including Michael Prapavessis and Kevin Stenlund tallying their first professional points while Dillon Simpson had his first assist as a Monster. Stenlund’s first of four game-winning goals this esason eventually placed him in second for deciding tallies (4).
Saturday, October 20th at Binghamton Devils
The Monsters traveled to Binghamton for the first time in franchise history and posted first shutout of the season behind Matiss Kivlenieks, with a career-high 31 saves for his second career shutout. Eight Monsters skaters recorded points with Zac Dalpe and Paul Bittner producing multi-point nights (1G, 2A). Dalpe’s three-point evening marked his third multi-point night just seven games into the 2018-19 season. Binghamton was one of four teams Cleveland faced in 2018-19 for the first time in franchise history and this 4-0 win contributed to the Monsters' 14-8-1-1 record versus new opponents.
Friday, November 2nd vs. Toronto Marlies
7-6 Shootout Win
The Toronto Marlies' first visit to Cleveland was the first of 13 extra-time home games, setting a new record. Cleveland tied a previous record for the most goals scored at a home game with seven. Cleveland and Toronto combined for six goals in the first period (the highest all season) and the Monsters' four goals were the most scored in a single period. Nine Monsters players tallied a point including multi-point nights for Zac Dalpe, Eric Robinson and Paul Bittner. Dalpe had his first hat trick of the season and after another on March 29th, tied a Franchise Record for most hat tricks in a season. Dalpe’s power-play goal added to his team-leading 10 and Letestu’s assist contributed to his team-leading 15 power-play points. Letestu was one of three skaters in the shootout, beginning his team leading records of seven shootout attempts for three shootout goals.
Friday, March 8th vs. Belleville Senators
The Monsters' last regular-season homestand against the Senators proved a turning point. Cleveland began the match in the North Division's 6th place but closed out the weekend with four standing points against Belleville to begin tightening the separation, pulling within two points of the 5th place Senators. Cleveland completed the season with a 4-0-0-0 record at home against Belleville behind Brad Thiessen’s 27th regular season shutout and seventh as a Monster, while the Monsters’ penalty kill unit assisted by stopping all Senators' extra-man efforts. Despite Cleveland taking only 20 shots in the game, eight Monsters skaters registered a point. Mark Letestu scored two goals, including the game winner, adding to his eventual team-leading, franchise record of seven. Adam Clendening assisted the game-winning goal, contributing to his team-leading 33 helpers.
Friday, March 15th at Chicago Wolves
Cleveland’s win over Chicago began the team’s franchise record-breaking nine-game point run (7-0-1-1). Zac Dalpe’s assist contributed to an 11-game point streak that totaled 11 goals and five assists, making it the second best in franchise history. Derek Barach picked up his first professional point and multi-point night after assisting on two goals in his second AHL game. Kole Sherwood scored two goals for his fourth multi-point night making this the second time he had two markers in a single game during the year.
Friday, March 22nd at Rochester Americans
The team overcame additional adversity in Rochester with just over 2:30 left in the game after starting-goaltender Jean-Francois Berube left with injury. Brad Thiessen stepped in as relief and unknowingly began a new franchise record for most consecutive games played by a goalie (13 games, 3/18/19 – 4/14/19). Four players finished with multi-point nights: Tommy Cross, Zac Dalpe, Garett Cockerill and Mark Letestu. Cockerill earned a career night, finishing with three assists and tying four other Monsters skaters for the most assists in a single game this season. Alexandre Texier appeared in his second AHL game, scoring his first professional goal to jump start a three-game point streak.
Saturday, March 23rd vs. Hershey Bears
The Monsters returned home to 15,290 fans marking the second of five consecutive home games with a crowd of more than 10,000 people. Cleveland finished the season with a 9-2-0-1 record at home playing in front of 10,000 or more fans. The matchup against the Bears came amid a season-best six game win streak at home and was Brad Thiessen’s first start that would eventually run through the season's end. For the second consecutive game, four Cleveland players finished with multi-point nights: Alexandre Texier, Dan DeSalvo, Zac Dalpe and Mark Letestu. Texier’s third game in the AHL consisted of a three-point night (1G, 2A). The win helped the Monsters gain two more standing points and began an eleven-game back-and-forth with the Belleville Senators for the final North Division playoff spot.
Wednesday, April 3rd at Laval Rocket
Theissen’s 20-save performance moved him to third place in franchise history for the most shutouts as a Monster (8). The midweek game began the Monsters' final regular-season road trip, ending in two wins to help move Cleveland to 4th place in the North. While 12 Monsters players picked up a point, Alexandre Texier had a multi-point night including the game winner. April 3rd also marked the first game for Zac Dalpe since receiving CCM/AHL Player of the Month and CCM/AHL Player of the Week accolades.
Sunday, April 14th at Toronto Marlies
The final spot for the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs came down to the Cleveland Monsters and Belleville Senators' last games of the season. After a 4-2 regulation loss from Belleville, Cleveland needed only one point to reach the postseason. The Monsters poured a season-high 20 shots on net in the first period before Zac Dalpe scored his 33rd goal of the year to solidify a franchise record for most goals scored in a single season. Mark Letestu’s seventh game-winning goal punched the Monsters playoff ticket with additional offensive aid from Doyle Somerby’s second multi-point night, Justin Scott’s 13th goal of the year and Derek Barach’s seventh goal over 15 games.
Saturday, April 20th at Syracuse Crunch
5-1 Game 2 Win
For the third time in franchise history, the Cleveland Monsters appeared in the postseason and traveled to Syracuse for the first two games of the North Division Semi-Finals, leaving with a 2-0 series lead. It was the fifth time in franchise history the Monsters had a 2-0 series lead and extended their franchise postseason win streak to 11 games. Brad Thiessen started in his 13th consecutive game since March 23rd - eight of which allowed two goals or fewer. Justin Scott, Dan DeSalvo, Derek Barach and Gabriel Carlsson all recorded first professional playoff points in the Game 2 win, while Sonny Milano compiled one goal and two assists. Mark Letestu led the team with a +4 rating and rounded out the weekend at +5 with two goals. Milano and Ryan MacInnis helped lead the weekend’s offense finishing with four points (1G, 3A) and three points (1G, 2A), respectively.