The Cleveland Monsters got back on the right track with a big home weekend.
The team's five-game losing streak came to an end Thursday as the Monsters downed visiting Chicago by a 5-3 score. Then Cleveland completed the two-game set with another win, this one a shutout victory by a 3-0 final on Friday.
In the opening game, the Monsters scored the only two goals of the third period to earn the victory at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Derek Barach scored the winning goal just 2:41 into the third stanza off assists from Sam Vigneault and Anton Karlsson, while Vigneault's goal later in the period cemented the win for Cleveland.
Andrew Peeke, Kevin Stenlund and Adam Clendening also scored for the Monsters against former CBJ goalie prospect Oscar Dansk, while Karlsson and Ryan MacInnis each had two assists. Matiss Kivlenieks stopped 24 of 27 shots against. The only bad news was that forward Markus Hannikainen, who has been up and down with the Blue Jackets this season, left the game with injury and did not skate in the second game of the weekend.
It didn't matter, though, as the Monsters allowed just 16 shots against in a 3-0 blanking of the Wolves. That defensive performance was particularly impressive considering Chicago had six power-play chances.
Veini Vehvilainen stopped all 16 shots against, while Nathan Gerbe got the winning goal in the first, Stenlund added a tally in the second and Jakob Lilja scored his first goal in North America in the third. Stefan Matteau added three assists.
Vehvilainen continues to impress, as the 22-year-old Finn sits second in the AHL with a 2.03 goals-against average to go with a .924 save percentage and two shutouts. Gerbe continues to be impressive with a 5-10-15 line to lead the team thus far, while Zac Dalpe's seven goals lead the team in scoring. Peeke and Clendening each have match 4-7-11 lines to lead the way from the blue line.
The Monsters visit Charlotte for games Tuesday and Wednesday night vs. the Checkers before returning home Saturday to take on Rochester in a game that will be on SportsTime Ohio.
In addition to the games, the Monsters celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer night on Friday. For more on the team's special jerseys, click here, and below you can hear from Dalpe as he performs a very special song in honor of his late mother, who passed from cancer in 2015.
Foudy's big weekend: At this point, everyone knows Liam Foudy can play. The 2018 first-round pick of the Blue Jackets had 36 goals last year for London of the OHL and shows no signs of stopping this year with 11 tallies to go with 10 helpers in his first 14 games this year.
The 19-year-old speedster had an exemplary weekend, though, that earned notice across the league. In three games, Foudy had three goals and four assists for seven points as the Knights swept past Mississauga, Kitchener and Erie.
One of his two goals in Thursday night's victory over Mississauga turned heads for its fantastic individual effort (at the 50-second mark).
Foudy missed the first few weeks of the season with an injury picked up with the Blue Jackets while in Traverse City this preseason, but he's made up for lost time. With 1.50 points per game this year, he sits 16th in the OHL.
That's just ahead of Windsor's Tyler Angle, a seventh-round pick of the Blue Jackets this year who is up to 1.33 points per game (14-14-28) in 20 games to place 23rd in the OHL.
Meyer's big night: Local product Carson Meyer has four goals and four assists for eight points in 11 games so far this year with Ohio State. The Powell native had a goal and a helper Friday night as the No. 11 Buckeyes lost at sixth-ranked Penn State, though OSU got a measure of revenge a night later with a 4-3 win in Hockey Valley.