The Lake Erie Monsters began their three-game week in Michigan, where they locked down a hard-fought 3-2 overtime victory against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday. The second-straight overtime win pushed the Monsters' point streak to a season-high seven games.
With the only goal of the first period, Cody Corbett put the Monsters on the board with a power-play tally at 16:31. It was Corbett’s first goal of his professional career.
Grand Rapids scored twice in the second period, but Mitchell Heard knotted the game with his first goal of the season in the third period. His top-shelf bullet tied the contest 2-2, pushing the two teams into overtime.
The back-and-forth match against the Griffins ended victoriously for the Monsters at 2:54 of overtime with a clutch setup from Kenny Ryan, passing a quick puck to Maxin Noreau. Noreau’s goal was his fifth of the season and led to the Monsters' fifth straight victory. He scored goals in each contest of the Monsters’ two-game road trip, which began in Rockford on Dec. 7.
Sami Aittokallio stopped 27-of-29 shots, moving his record to 4-1-1 after the victory.
On Friday, the Monsters recorded their sixth straight win, beating the division-leading Rockford IceHogs 4-2 at home.
The Rockford IceHogs scored the first goal of the game only 27 seconds after the puck dropped, lighting a fire under the Monsters’ skates and leading them to score the next four goals. Noreau started the Lake Erie scoring on the power play at 15:45 in the first period with his sixth goal of the season and his third in the past three contests.
A pair of second-period goals carried the Monsters to a 3-1 lead, beginning with Troy Bourke taking a pass from Ryan and one-timing a shot past the IceHogs goalie. Bourke’s goal gave the Monsters a 2-1 lead and was his third of the season.
With less than a minute left in the second period, Stefan Elliott fired a low puck from the slot into the back of the net, pushing the Monsters to a 3-1 advantage going into the third period.
Continuing the fast-scoring game, Joey Hishon spotted Colin Smith at the net for a scoring opportunity and Smith quickly tapped in Hishon's pass for the goal. Smith’s goal extended his point streak to five games, and he now leads the Monsters in goals this season with seven. Hishon’s assist on Smith’s tally was his eighth point in the last eight contests for the Monsters.
Aittokallio stopped 32-of-34 shots for the win. The Monsters went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-4 on the power play.
Lake Erie's second contest of the weekend doubleheader against Rockford was on Saturday and ended in a tough 5-2 loss, simultaneously ending the Monsters’ six-game winning streak.
The first five minutes of the game began with a 2-0 lead from the IceHogs, but Monsters captain Bruno Gervais answered with a goal at 6:29, making the deficit only 2-1.
Rockford retook a two-goal advantage in the second period, but Markus Lauridsen scored for the Monsters at 7:54 of the third period to close the score to 3-2 with his fourth goal of the season.
In the end, two power-play goals, a hat trick and an empty-net tally pushed the IceHogs to a 5-2 victory over the Monsters and seized Smith's point streak (fives games). With an assist on Lauridsen's tally, Noreau was able to stretch his point streak to four games.
Aittokallio stopped 31-of-35 shots, making his record 5-2-1 after the weekend’s games.
Dec. 16 vs. Milwaukee
Dec. 18 vs. Milwaukee
Dec. 20 vs. Grand Rapids
Dec. 26 at Rochester
Garrett Meurs (Fort Wayne Komets): The Komets went 2-1 this past week, starting with a doubleheader against the Evansville IceMen on Friday and Saturday. The Komets’ 4-2 victory Friday propelled Fort Wayne to a six-game winning streak, making it their longest winning streak since 2011. Meurs registered a goal in the contest. Fort Wayne's close 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday advanced its win streak to seven, but on Sunday the Komets fell 5-4 in overtime against the visiting Toledo Walleye. Meurs had a goal and two assists against the Walleye, and he now has eight goals and four assists in 12 games so far this season for the Komets.
Chris Bigras (Owen Sound Attack): Owen Sound lost 4-3 to the Guelph Storm on Friday. Owen Sound played the next night but fell again, losing 4-3 against the Mississauga Steelheads. Bigras was in Toronto attending Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp the past week, but was reassigned from the camp on Sunday. Bigras, who has 10 goals and 18 assists in 28 games with the Attack in the 2014-15 season, will rejoin the team for Wednesday’s match against Plymouth.
Nick Magyar (Kitchener Rangers): The Rangers played three games last week, going 1-2. On Tuesday, Kitchener triumphed in a 7-4 victory over the Erie Otters. The Rangers fell 4-1 on Friday to the Sarnia Sting, where Magyar tallied an assist. The following night, the Rangers lost 4-1 to the Barrie Colts. Magyar did not have any points during Saturday’s match.
Spencer Martin (Mississauga Steelheads): Mississauga lost 5-0 on Friday to the North Bay Battalion. Martin was the starting goalie, saving 10-of-14 shots he faced. On Saturday, the Steelheads beat Owen Sound 4-3 where Martin saved 29-of-32 shots. Finishing up the weekend games, Martin stopped 37-of-43 shots in a 6-1 loss for Mississauga on Sunday against the Barrie Colts.
Kyle Wood (North Bay Battalion): On Thursday, North Bay fell 4-1 to the Windsor Spitfires. Wood has three assists as North Bay won in a 5-0 shutout against the Mississauga Steelheads the following night. North Bay beat the Kingston Frontenacs 2-1 on Monday, where Wood had an assist. Wood has tallied four assists in North Bay’s last three games.
Conner Bleackley (Red Deer Rebels): The Rebels' Friday contest against the Blazers resulted in a 6-2 win for Red Deer. Bleackley scored two goals in the victory. Bleackley had an assist in the Rebels' 4-1 win on Saturday against Moose Jaw. Red Deer fell 4-0 on Sunday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Mason Geertsen (Vancouver Giants): Vancouver began the week with a 3-0 shutout win against the Prince Albert Raiders last Wednesday. The Giants played again on Friday, winning 6-3 over the Victoria Royals. Geertsen scored a goal and an assist in the victory. The following night, the Giants beat Victoria 4-0 as Geertsen earned the No. 1 star of the game by scoring two goals and tallying one assist.
Julien Nantel (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies): Nantel tallied an assist in Rouyn-Noranda's 5-1 win on Friday against Saint John. He recorded another assist in the Huskies' 3-2 shootout victory over Blainville-Boisbriand on Saturday. Nantel now has 18 assists in 30 games this season.
Alexis Pepin (Gatineau Olympiques): The Olympiques fell 3-2 to Drummondville on Wednesday and fell 6-3 to Rimouski on Friday. Pepin recorded two goals as the Olympiques won 5-3 over Drummondville on Sunday.
Will Butcher (University of Denver): The weekend matches between the University of Denver and North Dakota proved that home ice might be a factor in winning. On Friday, the No. 11 Pioneers beat then-No. 1 North Dakota 4-1 at home with Butcher tallying a goal. North Dakota came back the following night at Magness Arena and beat DU 3-1. Butcher is now in Boston for the U.S. National Junior Team training camp, looking to make the USA roster for the Dec. 26 to Jan. 4 World Junior Championship in Canada.
Ben Storm (St. Cloud State University): St. Cloud State fell in both of its weekend contests against the University of Nebraska at Omaha. St. Cloud fell 3-2 on Friday and 5-3 the next night. Storm did not register any points in the losses.
Maximilian Pajpach (Tappara U20, Jr. A SM-Ligga): Pajpach's junior Tappara team fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Aces on Wednesday.
Anton Lindholm (Skelleftea AIK, SHL/Malmo Redhawks, Allsvenskan): Lindholm returned to the SHL and Skelleftea last week after a brief stint with the Malmo Redhawks in the Allsvenskan league. Skelleftea defeated Brynas IF 2-1 on Thursday and won again on Saturday, beating Djurgarden Hockey 3-2 in a shootout.
Wilhelm Westlund (Vita Hasten, Allsvenskan/ Djurgarden, SHL): Vita Hasten won 4-1 last Tuesday against Asploven HC and was victorious again on Thursday, beating Almtuna IS 2-1. Vita Hasten fell 4-3 to IK Oskarshamn on Sunday. Westlund has played the entire season with Vita Hasten, recording two goals and eight assists in 24 games.
Luke Walker (Graz 99ers): The Graz 99ers fell 3-1 to HDD Telemach Olimpija Ljubljana last Friday. The 99ers played again on Sunday, losing 4-1 to UPC Vienna Capitals. Walker has tallied eight goals and five assists so far this year for the Graz 99ers.
Jonas Holos (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl): Lokomotiv fell 2-1 to Severstal last Wednesday. On Friday, Lokomotiv defeated Torpedo 2-1 before winning again on Sunday, beating HC Sochi 9-2. Holos had an assist on Sunday.
Denis Parshin (Avangard Omsk): Avangard beat Medvescak 6-2 on Wednesday, with Parshin picking up two goals. The tables seemed to turn for Avangard on Friday with a 6-2 loss to Dinamo Minsk, but Parshin still skated away with a goal. On Sunday, Avangard fell 3-1 to Atlant.