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Anderson's hat trick sends Monsters home with chance to advance

by Tony Brown / Columbus Blue Jackets

ROCKFORD, IL – In game two of the team’s first Calder Cup Playoff series since 2011, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters defeated the Rockford IceHogs 5-1 on Thursday at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, IL to claim a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five game Central Division Semi-Finals. With a victory in game three of the two teams’ first-round series, set for Saturday at 7:00 pm at Quicken Loans Arena, the Monsters can punch their ticket to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Rockford’s Ryan Hartman made it 1-0 IceHogs with a power-play goal at 5:45 of the opening frame, but the Monsters battled back to tie the game at one just 34 seconds into the middle period on an even-strength net-mouth scramble that was eventually forced home by Josh Anderson on feeds from Markus Hannikainen and Lukas Sedlak. After an impressive five-on-five deflection from Oliver Bjorkstrand at 3:48 of the middle stanza, assisted by Justin Falk and Jaime Sifers, made it 2-1 Lake Erie, Sedlak banked an even-strength goal off a Rockford defenseman at 4:08 to make it 3-1 on feeds from Dillon Heatherington and Anderson.

In the third, Anderson and the Monsters kept their foot on the gas, as the Burlington, ON native finished off a point-blank even-strength Hannikainen feed at 15:38 and completed the first Lake Erie hat trick of the season, and a 5-1 Monsters victory, in the game’s final minute with an empty-net score from his own zone at 19:24, assisted by Heatherington.

Joonas Korpisalo improved to 2-0 in net for the Monsters in the playoffs by virtue of a 24-save performance while Rockford net-minder Mac Carruth provided 34 saves in defeat for the IceHogs.

Game three of the Monsters’ first-round series vs. Rockford awaits on Saturday at The Q and great seats remain available, but fans are encouraged to secure their seats quickly to avoid missing out on the return of Playoff Hockey to Cleveland! Tickets to Lake Erie’s second and third home playoff games (date, time and opponent TBD) are also ON SALE NOW.

Next up for the Monsters, it’s game three of the Central Division Semi-Finals vs. the IceHogs on Saturday with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 7:00 pm on 99X and the Monsters Hockey Network.

Tickets for every Monsters home game start at just $10 and are on sale now! Full and partial season ticket memberships are also available and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits and the lowest ticket prices. Group outing and birthday bash packages for 10 or more people are also on sale now.

All tickets can be purchased by visiting LakeErieMonsters.com, calling (216) 420-0000, visiting The Q Box Office or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart. Be sure to follow the Monsters on Twitter @monstershockey, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lakeeriemonsters, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/monstershockey.

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