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Bjorkstrand scores twice, Monsters bring 2-0 series lead back to Cleveland

by Tony Brown / Columbus Blue Jackets

HERSHEY, PA – In the wake of a 4-1 Game 1 win on Wednesday, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters claimed a 2-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals following a 5-3 Game 2 victory over the Hershey Bears on Friday at Giant Center in Hershey, PA. Lake Erie is now two wins away from Cleveland’s first AHL Championship in 52 years as the best-of-seven series shifts to Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland for Monday’s Game 3.

The Monsters leapt to a 1-0 lead on Friday courtesy of a Zach Werenski power-play goal at 3:05 of the opening stanza, thanks to a sharp set-up from Ryan Craig and T.J. Tynan. In the second, a five-on-five Oliver Bjorkstrand goal at 4:29, assisted by Markus Hannikainen, made it 2-0 Monsters before Hershey’s Zach Sill pounded a five-on-three power-play marker past the left pad of Lake Erie net-minder Anton Forsberg at 8:48 to draw the Bears within a goal. Late in the middle frame, Lukas Sedlak posted his playoff-best ninth marker at 13:51 thanks to helpers from Kerby Rychel and Hannikainen to give the Monsters a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame.

In the third, Bjorkstrand rallied after absorbing a hard hit following the opening faceoff to post his second goal of the game at 2:04, a power-play tally, assisted by Michael Chaput and Daniel Zaar, that made it 4-1 Monsters. Hershey rallied with two unanswered even-strength goals, from Tyler Lewington and Liam O’Brien at 9:57 and 11:51 respectively, before Zaar buried an empty-net score at 18:59, fed by Craig and Chaput, to cap a 5-3 Lake Erie win.

Forsberg improved to 7-0 in the playoffs between the pipes for the Monsters by virtue of a 27-save performance while Hershey’s Justin Peters stopped 24 of the 28 pucks he faced in defeat.

Next up for the Monsters, it’s Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals on Monday with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 7:00 pm on ESPN 850 WKNR and simulcast on Fox Sports Ohio and the Monsters Hockey Network.

PLAYOFF TICKETS AVAILABLE: Tickets for all Monsters Calder Cup Finals Home Games (Game 3 - Mon., June 6th; Game 4 - Sat., June 11th and Game 5 - Sun., June 12th) are ON SALE NOW and start at just $13 per game! Full and partial season ticket memberships are also available for the 2016-17 season and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits, the lowest ticket prices and FREE playoff tickets for select plans. 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/playoffs, 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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