There are good weekends, and then there are great weekends.
For the Cleveland Monsters, this past weekend was a great weekend.
The AHL affiliate of the Blue Jackets put the pedal to the metal and then kept going, scoring 12 unanswered goals after visiting Rockford took a 1-0 lead in the opener of a two-game set. The end result was a pair of wins by scores of 7-1 and 5-0, and some history was made as well.
The Cleveland franchise scored 12 unanswered goals for the first time in team history, while the streak of three straight games with five goals also set a record.
There were plenty of firsts as well, such as rookie defenseman Andrew Peeke's first career professional goal.
Also, Swedish defenseman Anton Karlsson notched his first goal since coming over to North America this year.
Finnish goaltender Veini Vehvilainen also made some personal history, as his shutout in the 5-0 win Saturday was his first in North American hockey after he dominated the Liiga in his home country the past two seasons.
Cleveland gave up the first goal in the opener vs. Rockford and then dominated, using goals from seven different players to earn the 7-1 win. After Rockford's Tyler Sikura scored 9:52 into the game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Karlsson scored 12 seconds later to tie the game and Ryan MacInnis gave the Monsters the lead at 13:01.
From there, it was off to the races for the Monsters. Nathan Gerbe and Paul Bittner scored before the period was over, Calvin Thurkauf and Sam Vigneault tallied in the second, and Zac Dalpe put a capper on things with a third-period goal.
Thurkauf and MacInnis each finished with 1-2-3 lines, while Karlsson added an assist and Kevin Stenlund had two helpers. Karlsson, MacInnis and defenseman Doyle Somerby were each plus-4. Matiss Kivlenieks made 24 saves.
A night later, Vehvilainen stopped all 29 shots he saw on the way to the shutout, while Cleveland again saw five different player score in the 5-0 win. Defenseman Ryan Collins got the party started before goals from MacInnis, Peeke, Eric Robinson and Gerbe. Peeke (1-1-2) and Dalpe (0-2-2) finished with multipoint games.
The Monsters are now 5-3-0-1 and in fourth place in the AHL North Division, though two of the teams ahead of them - Utica (7-0-0-0) and Toronto (6-0-2-0) -- have yet to lose. So far, veterans Dalpe (4-4-8) and Gerbe (2-6-8), while Thurkauf and Justin Scott have matching 2-4-6 lines and Adam Clendening (1-5-6) also has six points.
The Right Angle
If you've been following this space this season, you're probably aware of just how well Tyler Angle is playing.
The seventh-round pick of the Blue Jackets this past summer has been tearing it up in his fourth year in the OHL, as he leads the Windsor Spitfires with 10 goals and 19 points in the first 13 games of the campaign. Currently, he's tied for 10th in the OHL in goals and is well on pace to top last year's totals of 20 goals and 44 points.
As you can tell, he's done more than just score, as well, as he's helped control play for the Spits this season.
The website OHL Network caught up with Angle and Windsor coach Trevor Letowski, himself a former Blue Jacket, to see how the season has gone so far. Included is this quote from Letowski:
"He has become our most dangerous offensive player and he is a guy I think is going to be a good pro. I think it comes with strength. A couple years ago he had a real sleight frame and those players don't usually come in with heavy shots. I think that it's something in his game that has slowly developed as well. Now it's gotten to a point where it's really dangerous."
For more on Angle, here's a feature I wrote on him as he attended the Blue Jackets' development camp this summer.
- As for the other OHL guys, 2019 fourth-round pick Eric Hjorth added another goal over the weekend, and the Swedish defenseman has shown he's needed little time to adjust to North America. So far with Sarnia, the 18-year-old has a 4-8-12 line in 13 games. Meanwhile, 2018 first-round pick Liam Foudy has 3-4-7 in five games since returning from injury with London.
- On the college front, 2017 sixth-round pick Carson Meyer had an excellent weekend for an Ohio State team that dominated Mercyhurst in a road sweep. Meyer had his second goal of the season and three assists in the two games, and if you're into rivalries, it's a good weekend to head to campus -- the Buckeyes host Michigan on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Two Russians will represent their country at upcoming international events. Goaltender Daniil Tarasov, a 2017 third-round pick, has been named to the Russian roster for the upcoming Germany Cup, which will take place the second weekend of November. Forward Kirill Marchenko, a 2018 second-round pick, will take part in the U-20 Four Nations tournament in Finland the same weekend. As we noted last week, 2018 third-round pick Markus Karlberg will also take part for Sweden.