Tony Brown's Playoff Notebook (4.24.19)



Tony’s Playoff Notebook
Wednesday, April 24th
Meetings, Optional Skate – Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, OH

Despite a spirited comeback attempt in Game 3 of the Monsters’ best-of-five North Division Semi-Final series on Tuesday, Cleveland was defeated by the Syracuse Crunch at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse by a final score of 2-1. Syracuse’s win extended their season and ended the Monsters’ 11-game postseason winning streak, simultaneously snapping the Crunch’s six-game playoff skid. Tuesday’s loss notwithstanding, the Monsters maintain a 2-1 series edge heading into a potentially decisive Game 4 on Thursday at home and on Wednesday, the club focused on off-ice meetings as only scratched players from Game 2 took part in an optional skate.


  • Monday’s on-ice participants, under the guidance of Blue Jackets Development Coach Gregory Campbell, included forwards Paul Bittner, Brett Gallant, Nikita Korostelev, Miles Koules and Calvin Thurkauf, defensemen Desmond Bergin, Will Lochead and Michael Prapavessis, and goaltenders Matiss Kivlenieks and Jeff Smith.
  • Defenseman Garret Cockerill (upper-body injury), captain Nathan Gerbe (lower-body injury) and goaltender Jean-Francois Berube (lower-body injury) remain unavailable for Cleveland for Thursday’s Game 4.



After posting a combined eight shots on net in the first 40 minutes of play in Game 3, the Monsters entered the third period trailing the Crunch just 1-0 before racking up 18 final-frame shots in a 2-1 defeat. Cleveland Assistant Coach Trent Vogelhuber discussed his team’s third-period play in Game 3, in comparison to the Monsters’ effort in the first two stanzas.

Trent Vogelhuber, Assistant Coach
“We just had to simplify our game…We had good opportunities to score in the first two periods and we didn’t shoot or take advantage or over-passed…Especially this time of year and against a good team like that, you have to simplify the game and we did that in the third, especially after [Justin Scott]’s goal we knew we just needed one more and we started throwing pucks on the net and crashing and suddenly opportunities came up for us…If you go behind all the blueprints and the strategies, it’s a pretty simple game if you get down to it and we got back to that, we just need to do it a little sooner next game.”



Following an injury to defenseman Garret Cockerill in Cleveland’s 5-1 Game 2 road win in Syracuse on Saturday, the Monsters recalled former Notre Dame blue-liner Justin Wade from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. Despite appearing in eight games for Cleveland during the regular season, Tuesday’s Game 3 marked the Aurora, IL native’s first AHL postseason action. Speaking Wednesday morning, both Wade and Cleveland assistant coach Trent Vogelhuber discussed the rugged D-man’s contributions.

Trent Vogelhuber, Assistant Coach
“He’s hard to play against, he’s a physical guy out there…He’s a playoff player for sure, he’ll battle, he’s a warrior, so I thought he came in and filled in nicely, made the simple plays that were there for him and definitely anytime he’s got a chance to lay the body, he’s going to take advantage of that opportunity for sure.”

Justin Wade, D
“I’m a shut-down D – I just play hard. I thought I was able to bring that last game and I’m going to continue to bring that. Being hard to play against…Being an [expletive] out there and just keeping that going.”



Prior to Game 3, Wade hadn’t competed for the Monsters since early January, but at the time of his recall earlier this week, was in the midst of a Kelly Cup Playoff push with his ECHL club, the Florida Everblades. Wade spoke Wednesday to how his postseason attitude, already in full swing, helped him make a seamless transition into the Cleveland lineup.

Justin Wade, D
“In playoff hockey, I always say everybody hits their sixth gear as soon as you step in so I was glad to be playing in the playoffs in the ECHL because I was hitting that sixth gear there so it was a nice transition going from [the Everblades’] playoff to this playoff series.”


Here’s your friendly broadcast reminder - be sure to join Jock Callander and me for Game 4 of the best-of-five game North Division Semi-Final as we’ll bring you every second of the action, live from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, tomorrow night at 7:00 pm EST on Alt 99.1, AHLTV and the Monsters Hockey Network.