The Cleveland Monsters were able to get back into the win column with a victory over the Binghamton Devils in their first of two matchups.
The Cleveland Monsters took on the visiting Binghamton Devils Friday looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss to the Rochester Americans. Cleveland did just that with a comfortable 3-0 win.
Veini Vehvilainen returned to his starting spot in net after Matiss Kivlenieks started Wednesday. Columbus recalled Kivlenieks Thursday, leaving Cleveland with Vehvilainen and Brad Thiessen as their options in goal.
The following players were inactive for Friday’s game: Ryan Collins, Justin Scott, Michael Prapavessis, Zac Dalpe, and Markus Hannikainen.
Binghamton was in control to start the period, keeping the puck in Cleveland’s defensive zone fairly easily. The Monsters were unable to register a shot on goal until after four minutes had passed.
After what briefly looked like to be a repeat of Wednesday’s shot differential, Cleveland was able to even things out just a bit. The Monsters were able to get the puck into Binghamton’s zone quite often and their shots on goal not only increased in number but increased in quality as well. They were able to manufacture good shots on goal, they just were not going in yet.
With just under four minutes left to play in the 1st, Gabriel Carlsson was sent to the penalty box for holding the stick. Cleveland and their 7th ranked penalty kill went to work and kept Binghamton from getting a goal with their man advantage.
Shortly after returning to full strength Derek Barach was able to get the Monsters on the board first, this was Barach’s 6th goal of the season. Stefan Matteau and Trey Fix-Wolansky assisted on the first goal of the game. Barach would later describe the buildup leading to his goal.
Cleveland outshot Binghamton 10-6 in the 1st period, a refreshing change from Wednesday.
Three minutes into the period the Monsters found themselves on the power play. Binghamton’s Matt Tennyson was called for interference, resulting in a two-minute penalty. Unfortunately, their 25th ranked power-play unit was not able to take advantage of a golden situation. Cleveland had some good looks and had a chance to score, but just were not able to make it happen.
It did not take long for the Monsters to be back on the power play. Matt Tennyson went back to the box due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The time Cleveland would not let this chance get away from them. Paul Bittner was able to get the puck past Cory Schneider to give Cleveland a two-goal lead. Jakob Lilja and Adam Clendening were credited with assists on Bittner’s 6th goal of the season.
There was an all-out brawl with several Monsters and Devils players resulting in the following penalties: Michael McCleod roughing, Brett Gallant roughing, Bryan Moore boarding. Cleveland found themselves down a man due to the penalties. A cross-checking penalty on Derek Barach saw Cleveland go down two men. The Monsters managed to work their way out of being on the wrong side of a 5-on-3 situation.
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It was a bit of reversal in the shot department in the 2nd period. Binghamton had 10 more shots than Cleveland in the period (16-6). This was partly due to the fact of the back-to-back penalties resulting in the Monsters being on the wrong side of a 5-on-3. Binghamton was able to rack up the shots on goal during their power play opportunities.
The 3rd period started as a 4-on-4 due to both Cleveland’s Kole Sherwood and Binghamton’s Josh Jacobs receiving roughing penalties for their post-2nd period fight.
The 3rd period was mostly both teams taking shots on goal without success. Each team would take their turn attacking, but nothing really came of it.
With 15:17 gone in the period, Cleveland’s Kole Sherwood was called for holding resulting in yet another power play for Binghamton. For the fourth and final time, Cleveland’s penalty kill did their job and kept the Devils off the board.
Derek Barach scored an empty-net goal with just 15 seconds remaining in the game. Anton Karlsson and Dillon Simpson assisted on Barach’s second goal of the evening.
Binghamton finished with an edge on shots on goal (34-20). The Devils were. not able to score despite 14 more shot attempts. This is a massive improvement from Cleveland’s last game where they were nearly doubled up and allowed four goals.
Monsters goalie Veini Vehvilainen was fantastic in the win, saving all 34 shots on goal. This was Vehvilainein’s third shutout of the season. Mike Eaves would later comment on Vehvilainen’s performance and how it is was crucial to their victory.
A crucial part of the win was the Monsters’ special team’s performance. Eaves would also comment on how excelling in that area helped lead the team to a win.
Friday’s win is massive for Cleveland and where they are in the standings. Mike Eaves would address that fact and that the team needs to go out and do it again Sunday.