Cleveland, OH– Fans were lined up outside the Quicken Loans Arena for bobble-head night and their home hockey team. Coming off a three-game winning streak, the Monsters in full Cleveland regalia looked to put the bulldogs in the dog house but couldn’t quite manage. The atmosphere was invigorating, fans chanting and showing why the players get so much out of playing at home, winning more than half their home games so far.
Maggio and Bakker started the game off with a bang, fighting center ice just six minutes in. Maggio went off the ice to a cheering crowd, encouraging them to get riled up. That gave the Monsters a wake-up call and the game picked up a bit.
Pickard struggled throughout this game. In net he seemed fidgety, and tired which makes sense considering he has started in five of their last ten games. Despite outshooting the Bulldogs 34-26, the Monsters could just never get past Mike Condon. Monster defense seemed to be spread too thin and left holes for Hamilton to squeeze through. Condon came to this game rested off of a two game break after his six game starting streak.
These teams were pretty evenly matched in terms of skill, however there were some distinct differences, namely the rebound presence in front of the net. There were a couple times, mostly in the second period and a couple in the third when there could have been another shot after the first was knocked away. The Monsters also struggled on the power play, not quite being able to set up or keep the puck in their opponent’s zone.
The third period was a flurry of events. The home team fought to keep it together and Pickard was pulled after the fourth goal was scored. Monsters did a really good job of creating shooting opportunities with the extra man and still covering their goal.
Maggio was ejected after his second fight of the game. Leach was on his knees keeping the puck away from at least two Bulldogs in the neutral zone and the crowd never lost heart.
Frustrations showed after the fourth goal when Heard broke his stick on the goal in frustration. This seemed demonstrative of the general mood on the bench. The team made opportunities for themselves and could just not get past the brick wall in Hamilton’s net.
The Monsters kept a consistent effort throughout this game and one that head coach Dean Chynoweth was proud of. After the game, he praised their effort and presence on the ice. Back on the ice, February 10, the Monsters go head to head with the Charlotte Checkers and look to get on the board and stay ahead of the curve while the Checkers try to recover from their 4 game losing streak.