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Bjorkstrand's OT goal gives Monsters a 1-0 series lead

by Tony Brown / Columbus Blue Jackets

CLEVELAND – Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins in overtime on Thursday by a final score of 3-2 in game one of the two teams’ second-round Calder Cup Playoff series at Quicken Loans Arena. With the win, the Monsters claimed a 1-0 series lead over the Griffins in the best-of-seven game Central Division Finals.

After a scoreless first period, Grand Rapids grabbed a 1-0 lead just 58 seconds into the second period when Eric Tangradi poked a rebound past Lake Erie net-minder Joonas Korpisalo. The Monsters tied the game at 4:29 when Lukas Sedlak posted his second score of the playoffs at even-strength on feeds from Jaime Sifers and Josh Anderson.

The Monsters claimed their first lead at 11:29, when a power-play net-front scramble yielded Alex Broadhurst’s second of the postseason with Ryan Craig and Daniel Zaar notching assists on the play before a shorthanded Brian Lashoff score leveled things at two apiece for Grand Rapids at 16:11 of the middle period.

With most of the third period having slid by scoreless, the Monsters survived a final-minute penalty shot attempt by Griffins center Andy Miele and a video review in the opening minutes of overtime that saw a would-be Grand Rapids game-winning goal disallowed due to the puck being batted into the Lake Erie net by the hand of a Griffins player. Then, at 12:23 of the first extra session, Oliver Bjorkstrand pumped home a power-play feed from Broadhurst and Dean Kukan from the left faceoff dot to lift the Monsters to victory in Lake Erie’s first second-round playoff game in franchise history.

Korpisalo improved to 4-0 in the playoffs by virtue of a 22-save performance while Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced in defeat.

Next up for the Monsters, it’s game two of the Central Division Finals on Saturday vs. the Griffins at The Q with full coverage, underway at 12:00 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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