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Monsters Monday: Sherwood's two-goal game helps in playoff battle

Cleveland stays in race for AHL postseason play

by Jeffrey Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

A look at the past week for the Cleveland Monsters, the top AHL farm team of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who went 1-1-1 last week while battling for a playoff spot.

Results

March 13: 2-1 loss at Milwaukee. In a 10:37 a.m. Central time start, the Monsters couldn't get the offense going. Despite outshooting the Admirals 30-18, Cleveland got only one goal, it coming off the stick of Zac Dalpe with 1:38 remaining. Brad Thiessen made 16 saves but was victimized by a spectacular goal by top Nashville prospect Eeli Tolvanen. 

March 15: 3-2 win at Chicago. Two goals from Kole Sherwood helped propel the Monsters to a huge win. After Chicago's T.J. Tynan, a former Jackets draft pick, made it 1-0 in the first, Sherwood scored back-to-back goals in the second before Tommy Cross made it 3-1. Jean-Francois Berube helped make the lead stand up with 24 saves. Newly signed forward David Barach out of Mercyhurst had two assists and was plus-3, while defenseman Ryan Collins had an assist and was plus-2.

Tweet from @monstershockey: Score First Sherwood strikes again 🎯 pic.twitter.com/HniGBoLbFj

March 16: 3-2 overtime loss at Rockford. In the North American pro debut of 2017 second-round pick Alexandre Texier, Cleveland twice answered Ice Hogs goals before falling in the extra period. Dillon Simpson and Zac Dalpe scored while Brad Thiessen piled up 30 saves.

Notes

Sherwood's goal gave him 12 goals in the last 22 games and 16 goals overall with the Monsters in his first professional season. He is now tied for seventh in the AHL among rookies in goal scoring.

Texier reported to the team after finishing his season in Finland, where he had 14 goals and 27 assists to lead his KalPa team in scoring with 41 points.

Letestu now has points in eight of his last 10 games and has a 4-7-11 line in that span.

Dalpe has eight goals in his last 10 games since returning from a month-long injury lay-off. His 23 goals tie a career AHL high, set when he scored that number with Charlotte in 2010-11, but it took him 18 more games to accomplish the feat eight years ago.

The Monsters continue to be without forwards Nathan Gerbe, Alex Broadhurst, Sonny Milano and Calvin Thurkauf, while Paul Bittner was out injured as well and Mark Letestu missed the weekend games with illness. In addition, defenseman Adam Clendening is out indefinitely. That's fine of the team's top seven point scorers on the shelf.

With Clendening and fellow D-man Michael Prapavessis out, Cleveland recalled Garret Cockerill from Reading of the ECHL during the week. The 25-year-old, who spent most of last season with the Monsters, played in all three games during the week and was minus-1. 

Over his last four games, defenseman Doyle Somerby has three assists and is plus-5. 

The AHL's playoff primer updates where each team stands down the stretch along with schedules and more in a posting updated daily. It can be accessed here.

Team leaders through 64 games  

Points: Zac Dalpe 41, Mark Letestu 37, Nathan Gerbe 32, Adam Clendening 32, Alex Broadhurst 29, Paul Bittner 29, Tommy Cross 29

Goals: Zac Dalpe 23, Mark Letestu 17, Kole Sherwood 16, Eric Robinson 12 (with CBJ), Vitaly Abramov 12 (traded), Kevin Stenlund 12

Assists: Adam Clendening 28, Tommy Cross 24, Nathan Gerbe 22, Alex Broadhurst 21, Paul Bittner 20, Mark Letestu 20

FULL STATS

Standings Update  

With 12 games remaining, the Monsters remain on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff race, but Cleveland is still within striking distance of Belleville, which owns the final spot in the North Division. The Monsters are 30-26-7-1, four points behind the B-Sens, and also have a game in hand.

Up Next  

Friday, March 22 at Rochester, 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 vs. Hershey, 7 p.m. (Sports Time Ohio broadcast)

Sunday, March 24 vs. Hershey, 3 p.m.

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