For most of the game Rockfords Darling, was the only thing keeping it alive in Cleveland last night. The Monsters had great control and communication throughout and it payed off in the end. True to form, Dan Maggio tussled with Cody Bass not five minutes into the first. Playing his record 119th game in net was Calvin Pickard who now leads the franchise is games played, as well as being tied with former Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman with 51 games won.
The second period was a waiting game, after the scoreless first. The Monsters defense playing at the top of their game to keep the IceHogs from getting any shots off while still letting the offensive line rack up 29 shots on Darling. Rockford’s Kirill Gotovets got his first AHL goal at 13:51. Peter Regin got a backhanded pass over to Gotovets who sent it high, right into the Monsters net. There were only three penalties called in this period all on the IceHogs who were having trouble matching up with the home team.
Michael Shumacher got his first of the night only 1:12 into the third and tied up the game. Only a short time after the goal, Pickard goes behind the net to grab a puck and gets clipped by Matt Carey sending him to the ground. Struggling to get up he still blocks a shot after the whistle had been called for goaltender interference. The fans shouted their encouragement and after the staff checked him out, he was back in net and ready to finish what he started. At the rate the Monsters were going, it wasn’t long before they scored again. Shumacher netted his second of the night, giving the Monsters a 2-1 lead with less than 15:00 to go.
Rockford’s Garret Ross tied the game up halfway through with an assist from TJ Brennan. Neither goalie letting in anything else till the last minute. One shot went off the pipes and Pickards skate soon after Ross’s goal and neither team was giving up. Finally, with 32.4 seconds to go, Andrew Agozzino picks up a wayward puck and sneaks it in past Darling for the game winning goal.
After the game, Pickard spoke about the hit and the effort his team made. “We deserved to win tonight, we stuck with it.. We had a full 60-minute effort”. When asked about the hit he said “ It happened quick.. he caught me up high. But no, I’m fine, those things happen. You get your bell rung, get right back up and back at it.” He finished the game strong and didn’t let it shake him up.
Coach Chynoweth also spoke of the effort of his team. “We took the momentum from them… it’s a fun game to play.” There were seven inactive for Erie, some of their leading players. Chynoweth touched on his other players stepping up and making most of their increased ice time.
All in all this game was big for the Home team, with new records for Pickard and Agozzino’s 128th point with the franchise. They ended the game with 36 shots on goal and the win, it was a good night for Monsters Hockey.