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Monsters Report: Playoff chase is in full swing

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Monsters are coming home and they’re playing some darn good hockey.

At this time of year when points are at a premium and every team in the American Hockey League is looking to boost its points percentage and get into the playoffs, it’s imperative to not only win at home (which Lake Erie does with regularity), but also get the job done on the road.

After a two-game weekend sweep in San Antonio, the Monsters are back to doing the latter, as well.

They opened the weekend with a come-from-behind win on Friday night at the AT&T Center, scoring three straight goals to erase a 2-0 first period deficit and lock up two big points. Lake Erie appeared to be entering the first intermission needing two goals to draw even, but Alex Broadhurst scored a huge goal at 19:41 to get the Monsters on the board.

In the second period, it was stay-at-home defenseman Dillon Heatherington getting involved offensively, scoring the tying goal at 11:50 and setting up a big middle frame for Lake Erie. They were the better team in the final 40 minutes and got the go-ahead goal from Broadhurst (his second of the night), beating a goaltender in Reto Berra who’s played well all season and long and gave the Monsters fits when San Antonio visited Quicken Loans Arena.

Anton Forsberg made 32 saves to pick up the win between the pipes, improving his record to 17-9-4 on the season.

Contrary to their rally on Friday night, the Monsters dictated the game on Sunday afternoon and built a lead as large as 4-1 before hanging on in the third period.

Joonas Korpisalo made his first start since being assigned to Lake Erie earlier in the week, and he was tremendous between the pipes. He made 28 saves including a handful of highlight-reel ones, leading the Monsters to a 4-2 win that gave them two more valuable points as the regular season winds down.

Lukas Sedlak, Josh Anderson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and TJ Tynan scored for the Monsters, who return to Cleveland this week for five straight games at The Q that could go a long way toward determining their playoff chances.

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As the day began Tuesday, Lake Erie’s record stood at 33-19-5-5 (76 points), a .613 points percentage good for fourth-best in the Central Division. On a pure points basis, they’re four back of the Grand Rapids Griffins, who have 80 points and a .656 points percentage.

On deck for the Monsters is a Friday night game against Manitoba, a 7 p.m. start that will be televised live on SportsTime Ohio.

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