CLEVELAND – By virtue of a 2-1 double overtime victory vs. the defending Calder Cup Champions, the Ontario Reign, on Thursday in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters swept the series and earned a berth in the Calder Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The Monsters grabbed a 1-0 lead at 6:26 of the opening period when Lukas Sedlak potted his seventh marker of the postseason at even-strength, thanks to an end-wall feed from Kerby Rychel and Sonny Milano. After a scoreless middle frame, the Reign tied the game at one on an unassisted five-on-five tally by Joel Lowry at 2:44 that ultimately forced overtime.
After a hard-fought first OT frame, the Monsters turned again to Sedlak at 6:25 of double overtime and, after a perseverant play by Josh Anderson and Rychel, buried a rebound score to claim Game 4, to win the Western Conference and to hoist Lake Erie into the Calder Cup Finals for the first time in the franchise’s nine-year history.
Anton Forsberg improved to 5-0 in the playoffs in net for the Monsters by virtue of a 41-save performance, while Peter Budaj made 29 saves between the pipes for Ontario in defeat.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals vs. the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, currently led by the Hershey Bears, three games to none over the Toronto Marlies. The Monsters are the first Cleveland team to appear in the Calder Cup Finals since the 1965-66 Cleveland Barons. Cleveland hasn’t claimed the Calder Cup since 1964, when the Barons won their then-record ninth AHL title. This will be Cleveland’s 15th appearance in the Calder Cup Finals.
The Monsters have advanced to their first-ever American Hockey League Calder Cup Finals Championship Series! TICKETS FOR HOME GAMES 1, 2 AND 3 (if necessary) OF THE CALDER CUP FINALS CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES ARE ON SALE NOW! TICKETS START AT JUST $15 and are available at www.lakeeriemonsters.com/playoffs, by calling 216-420-0000, going to The Q Box Office or visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.