Monsters Win Big in Opener

Andrew Agozzino’s first professional goal with 3:33 left in regulation sent the Lake Erie Monsters (1-0-0-0) to a 2-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons (0-1-0-0) in the season opener before a crowd of 12,011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.  Rookie goalie Sami Aittokallio stopped 29 of 30 shots for the Monsters to earn his first AHL win in Dean Chynoweth’s coaching debut for the Monsters.  Bill Thomas also scored for the Monsters in his first game with the club.

After a scoreless first period, Aittokallio and reigning AHL Goalie of the Year- Oklahoma City’s Yann Danis- showed all the makings of a classic goaltenders’ duel.  Thomas gave the Monsters a 1-0 lead when he tapped in a loose puck at the side of the net at 3:05 of the second period, with assists going to Thomas Pock and Brad Malone. 

Oklahoma City tied the game on a five-on-three power play at 14:16 of the third period when Magnus Paajarvi spotted Mark Arcobello open at the inside edge of the left circle.  Arcobello caught the pass and wristed a puck past a diving Aittokallio to tie the game.

The game remained tied 1-1 until Agozzino found a lane up the right side of the ice late in the third.  Agozzino, accompanied on the two-on-one rush by Patrick Bordeleau, opted to shoot the puck, and sailed one into the top portion of the net behind Danis for the eventual game-winner.  Ben Wilson, whose effort to get the puck out of Monsters territory ignited the rush, assisted on Agozzino’s first of the year.

Aittokallio stopped 29 of 30 Barons shots and is 1-0-0.  Danis is 0-1-0 after turning away 27 of 29 pucks sent his way.

The Monsters are back in action Saturday at 1:00 PM at Quicken Loans Arena against the same Oklahoma City Barons; the final time the two teams will meet in Cleveland this season.  All the action can be heard on ESPN 850 WKNR and Sirius 207/XM 92 via SiriusXM NHL Network Radio. 

Sunday, the Monsters conclude their three-game opening weekend with the first road game of the season; a 3:00 PM date with the Marlies in Toronto.  Catch all of Sunday’s action live on AM 1220 WHKW.
NOTES: The Monsters improve to 3-3-0-0 in home openers, and are now 4-2-0-0 in season openers… Agozzino’s first goal as a Monster and first professional goal comes in his third game; the rookie forward played two games for Peoria (AHL) in 2009-10… The Monsters were 6-7 on the penalty kill in the game, but were 0-6 on the power play… The Monsters registered 12 shots in each of the first two periods, but were outshot 9-5 by the Barons in the third period… Ben Wilson of the Monsters and Dane Byers of the Barons were assessed fighting majors at 7:30 of the first period; the only fight in the game… The Monsters and Barons meet four times between 10/12 and 10/23, and will not see each other the rest of the season.