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  • Writer's pictureNick Michaels

Monsters Knock Out Senators, Advance In Playoffs

Nick Michaels

Cleveland, Ohio

Game four at Rocket Mortage Fieldhouse Friday night turned out to be a defensive war in which the Monsters prevailed and sent the pesky Belleville Senators into the offseason. Finishing off this wild best of five series didn’t come easy for the Monsters, but they were able to remain resilient though all four games. Things started out with a bang, less than three minutes into the game the Monsters took the early lead off a deflected goal by Marcus Bork that hit a Senator defender before falling into the back of the net to sound the horn with 18:21 to play in the first. The lead didn't last long as the Senators would get on the board with a goal of their own from Stephan Halliday with 5:58 to play, making the score 1-1 after the 1st period.

The second period had a much more tense feeling offensively for both teams and lead to a solid defensive effort for the Monsters down the stretch. Owen Sillinger would give the Monsters the lead for good for the second game in a row off a beautiful pass from Mikael Pyyhtia making the score 2-1 Cleveland with six minutes left in the 2nd period. Friday night's victory wouldn't come without a little adversity though as the Monsters were faced with a double penalty for 1:16 making it a five on three power play for the Senators that would carry over into the third period. But defensive minds would prevail in this situation, the Monsters were led by exceptional play by Billy Sweezy and the glue of this team, goaltender Jet Greaves.

Cleveland’s goalie talked about battling through the odds, “Obviously we’ve been through plenty of power plays and penalty kills throughout the season so it’s just part of the fall of it, we watched some filmed on what they might do in a 5/3 situation at intermission and just focused on winning the period like we always do.”

After holding off Belleville’s five on three penalty kill attempt at the start of the third period, the Monsters would regain full strength and attack the ice more by being more aggressive in the final period. Several attempts were made to ice the game away but the Senators would not go down without a valiant effort. Jet Greaves made a spectacular glove save with 1:44 to go in the game keeping the Monster lead at 2-1. That save set up one last surge by the Cleveland offense to put Belleville away for good. With 2.2 seconds left in the game off of great defensive stops, Monster's wing Justin Pearson scored on the empty net to secure the 3-1 win over the Senators winning the series three games to one.

Pearson explained his empty net goal with seconds left in the game, “Energy was high at the end there protecting the lead but just have to have confidence and a little bit of swagger getting it done. Our defense made a great play getting it out then it was just a foot race and I beat him (the defender). “

In his second season, head coach Trent Vogelhuber picked up his first ever playoff series win as a head coach. “I Just think we played hard, especially defensively and didn’t let our emotions get the best of us in this series and that’s what it’s really all about.”

Cleveland now will advance to the north division finals of the Calder Cup playoffs against the Syracuse Crunch. The Monsters will have home ice advantage and host game one this coming Thursday.


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