The scenario was set: A win in the Monsters’ season finale on Saturday night would have clinched them a spot in the AHL’s Western Conference playoff race. Unfortunately, Lake Erie failed to capitalize on several key chances during the game and ended up losing to its division rivals from Rochester, 2-1.
Coupled with wins from the Milwaukee Admirals and Charlotte Checkers later that night, the Monsters were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to capitalize on your opportunities,” head coach David Quinn said. “Two open nets, a couple of posts and a crossbar. I certainly can’t fault our effort; we had plenty of scoring chances. They capitalized on two of theirs and we only capitalized on one of ours.”
Monsters netminder Cedrick Desjardins stopped 24 of 26 shots and finished the regular season with a 16-11-5 record.
Evan Brophey led the Lake Erie Monsters with 39 points (18g/21)…his 18 goals were a personal best and his 39 points tied his career high set in 2008-09 with Rockford.
Mike Connolly ended the season on a three-game assist streak…the rookie earned 37 points (13g/24a), including seven points (3g/4a) in 13 games with Lake Erie.
Fellow rookie Brad Malone finished the season ranked second in assists (25) and tied for third in points (36)…Malone also ranked fifth in penalty minutes (89).
Despite appearing in only 49 games, rookie Tyson Barrie led team defensemen with 32 points (5g/27a).
Defenseman Cameron Gaunce led the Monsters with a +17 rating…also ranked fourth in penalty minutes (90).
Troy Rutkowski (Portland Winterhawks) was a +1 in a 2-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Game 7 of the Kal Tire Western Conference Semi-Final. The Winterhawks will face the Tri-City Americans in the conference final beginning on April 20. Rutkowski has earned three points (1g/2a) with a +6 rating through 11 playoff games thus far.
Despite being eliminated in the QMJHL playoffs, Dillon Donnelly and his Shawinigan Cataractes squad will have an automatic berth into the Memorial Cup, as the host team.