The Lake Erie Monsters opened their 2014-15 regular season with back-to-back games against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Monsters split the series with the Griffins, giving them a 1-1-0-0 record to begin the new season.
On Friday, Calvin Pickard’s 37-save shutout led Lake Erie to a 4-0 victory over the Griffins on opening night of the American Hockey League season at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. Pickard’s shutout was his eighth as a member of the Monsters, which places him second on the team’s all-time shutout list.
Defenseman Karl Stollery scored twice in the first period against Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek to give Lake Erie a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Kenny Ryan scored his first goal in a Monsters uniform 8:06 into the second period, and defenseman Maxim Noreau added an empty net goal late in the game to seal the victory.
Forwards Michael Sgarbossa and Paul Carey both finished with two assists and a plus-2 rating for the Monsters on opening night.
On Saturday, Lake Erie returned to Quicken Loans Arena for their second game against the Griffins in the home-and-home series. Grand Rapids spoiled the Monsters' home opener as it held onto a 3-2 victory.
Carey opened the scoring for Lake Erie when he notched his first goal of the season with assists from Sgarbossa and Ryan. Grand Rapids forwards Mitch Callahan and Kevin Porter each scored before the end of the period, giving the Griffins a 2-1 advantage heading into the first intermission.
Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen scored 1:03 into the second period against Pickard to give the Griffins a 3-1 lead, but Borna Rendulic scored his first AHL goal against Griffins goalie Tom McCollum early in the third period to cut the Grand Rapids lead down to one goal. It was also Rendulic's first tally in a North American league.
The Monsters had a good push at the end of the game in an attempt to tie the score, but the Griffins were able to hold on for the 3-2 win.
Pickard made 22 saves on 25 shots while McCollum finished with 17 saves on 19 shots.
Carey (goal, two assists) and Sgarbossa (three assists) finished the weekend with three points each, while newcomer Ryan (goal, assist) and forward Andrew Agozzino (two assists) each tallied two points.
The Monsters will now travel to Allstate Arena on Friday and Saturday to take on the Chicago Wolves in back-to-back games.
Oct. 17 at Chicago
Oct. 18 at Chicago
Oct. 24 at Grand Rapids
Chris Bigras (Owen Sound Attack): The Owen Sound Attack began its first of three road games this past weekend with a 3-2 overtime victory on Thursday against the North Bay Battalion. Bigras finished the game with two assists and a plus-1 rating, including the primary assist on Holden Cook’s overtime-winning goal. Owen Sound traveled to Sudbury the following night and cruised to an 8-2 win against the Wolves. Bigras tallied two more assists in the victory. The Attack closed out the weekend with a 7-4 loss against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Bigras had a goal and an assist in the losing effort, giving him a total of six points (two goals, four assists) during the three-game weekend. He now has eight points in eight games this season.
Nick Magyar (Kitchener Rangers): The Kitchener Rangers opened their home-and-home series against the Erie Otters on Friday with an 8-3 loss at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. The Rangers played much better in their rematch against the Otters the following night, but they ultimately fell 5-4 in a shootout. Kitchener hosted the Guelph Storm on Monday and came away with a 6-5 victory. Magyar scored two goals for the Rangers in the win against the defending OHL champions.
Spencer Martin (Mississauga Steelheads): Martin made 42 saves to lead the Steelheads to a 5-1 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday at K-Rock Centre. The Steelheads won their second consecutive game against the Frontenacs on Monday with a 3-2 shootout victory. Martin made 35 saves on 37 shots during the game and also stopped two out of the three Kingston shooters in the shootout.
Kyle Wood (North Bay Battalion): The North Bay Battalion hosted the Owen Sound Attack on Thursday at North Bay Memorial Gardens but lost 3-2 in overtime. The Battalion played another strong game the following night against the Guelph Storm at Sleeman Centre, but the team dropped their second consecutive game with another 3-2 overtime loss. Wood scored the tying goal late in the third period to send the game against the Storm to overtime. North Bay finished its long weekend with a 4-1 win against the Barrie Colts on Monday.
Conner Bleackley (Red Deer Rebels): The Red Deer Rebels played two home games this past weekend at Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta. The Rebels hosted Medicine Hat on Friday, losing 5-1 to the Tigers. Red Deer would lose again the following night as the Brandon Wheat Kings defeated the Rebels 6-4. Red Deer (3-5-0-0) currently sit in four place in the Western Hockey League’s Central Division. It was also announced last week that Red Deer will host the 2016 Memorial Cup Tournament.
Mason Geertsen (Vancouver Giants): The Vancouver Giants played two games against the Prince George Cougars this past weekend, but they dropped both contests by the same score of 2-1. Geertsen was held scoreless in the first game against the Cougars on Friday, but he picked up an assist on the Giants' lone goal in the second game against Prince George on Saturday.
Julien Nantel (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies): The Huskies had a successful weekend, picking up two wins in two home games at Arena Iamgold. The team beat the Moncton Wildcats 3-2 on Friday, followed by a 2-1 victory against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday. Nantel scored the game-winning goal at 14:12 of the third period against the Screaming Eagles, earning him first star of the game honors. Nantel now has seven points in eight games this season.
Alexis Pepin (Gatineau Olympiques): The Olympiques hosted the Moncton Wildcats last Wednesday at Centre Robert-Guertin, falling 2-1 in a shootout. On Saturday, the team traveled to Baie-Comeau where it lost 5-2 against Drakkar. Gatineau beat Chicoutimi 5-2 the following night, with five different players scoring for the Olympiques. Alexis Pepin has still not seen any game action this season as he continues to recover from an injury.
Will Butcher (University of Denver): Butcher participated in the University of Denver's intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday at Magness Arena, the team's final preparation for the 2014-15 season. The Pioneers open their season this weekend as they host RPI on Friday and Saturday.
Ben Storm (St. Cloud State University): St. Cloud State opened its season by hosting Colgate University in a two-game series this past weekend at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn. The team lost 3-1 to Colgate on Friday, but it was able to bounce back with a 3-1 victory the following night. The Huskies have this weekend off before traveling to Schenectady, N.Y., to take on defending national champion Union College on Oct. 24-25.
Maximilian Pajpach (Tappara U20, Ligga Jr. A): Goalie Maximilian Pajpach has yet to see any game action this season with Tappara U20 of the Ligga Jr. A league. His Tappara team lost 3-1 to Jokipojat on Saturday and won 6-1 versus KalPa on Sunday. Pajpach appeared in seven games for Slovakia’s U-20 team last season, posting a 2.74 goals-against average.
Anton Lindholm (Skelleftea AIK, SHL): Lindholm has one assist in seven games played with Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League this season. Skelleftea lost 5-4 in a shootout last Thursday to Orebo before pulling out a 3-2 win over Djurgarden on Saturday. Skelleftea lost 5-3 to IFK Helsinki last Tuesday as part of Champions Hockey League play. Lindholm has one goal in six CHL games. Skellefetea's next Champions league games are Nov. 4 and 11 against JYP Jyvaskyla in the first round of the playoffs.
Wilhelm Westlund (Djurgarden, SHL/Vita Hasten, Allsvenskan): Westlund has recorded two assists in seven games since being loaned from Djurgarden (SHL) to Vita Hasten of the Allsvenskan league.
Luke Walker (Graz 99ers. Eishockey Liga): Luke Walker has seven points (four goals, three assists) in 10 games for the Grazz 99ers this season and ranks second on the team in scoring. Walker had a goal on Friday in the Graz 99ers' 4-3 victory over HC Orli Znojmo on Friday. The 99ers lost 2-1 to the UPC Vienna Capitals on Sunday.
Jonas Holos (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl): Jonas Holos has four points (two goals, two assists) in 14 games played with Lokomotiv this season. Lokomotiv lost 2-0 to Dynamo MSK last Tuesday before dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to Torpedo on Sunday.
Denis Parshin (Avangard Omsk): Avangard lost 2-0 to Metallurg NK on Friday with Parshin having two shots and finishing with a minus-1 rating in the game. Avangard Omsk played their second game of the weekend on Sunday, pulling out a 4-1 victory against Amur. Parshin tallied a goal and two assists to lead the offense in the win. He is tied for first in team scoring with 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 16 games this season.