GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI by a final score of 5-4 in game four of the two teams’ best-of-seven Central Division Finals series. With the loss, the Monsters will try to end the Griffins’ season and advance to the Western Conference Finals and the third round of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a victory in game five at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday at 7:00 pm.
A Michael Chaput power-play deflection gave the Monsters a 1-0 lead at 8:33 of the first period on feeds from Daniel Zaar and Alex Broadhurst, before Grand Rapids tied the game at one thanks to an even-strength Tyler Bertuzzi goal at 13:32. A sublime, spinning, sharp-angle, five-on-five backhander from Sonny Milano put the Monsters back in front at 14:26 with Ryan Craig and Jaime Sifers registering assists on the play, then a Lukas Sedlak tally from the left faceoff dot at 8:36 of the second period, on feeds from Markus Hannikainen and Zach Werenski, made it 3-1 Lake Erie.
The Monsters pushed their lead to its largest point at 4-1 with an Oliver Bjorkstrand even-strength finish at 13:31 of the middle frame, thanks to Sedlak’s setup off an o-zone draw, but Grand Rapids rattled off four consecutive markers the rest of the way, from Anthony Mantha at 19:05 of the second on the power-play, Louis-Marc Aubry at 3:12 of the third, Robbie Russo at 4:40 of the third and Andrews Athanasiou at 18:05 of the final frame, respectively, to register a 5-4 season-saving win.
Joonas Korpisalo fell to 6-1 in net for the Monsters in the playoffs despite a 30-save performance, while Griffins backstop Tom McCollum was pulled after allowing four goals on 21 shots faced through 33:31, before Jared Coreau earned the win between the pipes for Grand Rapids in his 2016 playoff debut thanks to 16 saves in relief.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s game five of the Central Division Finals with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 7:00 pm on Saturday on 99X and simulcast on CLE 43 WUAB and the Monsters Hockey Network. Tickets for game five of the Central Division Finals are ON SALE NOW at www.LakeErieMonsters.com/playoffs.
Tickets for every Monsters home game start at just $10 and are on sale now! Full and partial season ticket memberships are also available and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits and the lowest ticket prices. Group outing and birthday bash packages for 10 or more people are also on sale now.
All tickets can be purchased by visiting LakeErieMonsters.com, calling (216) 420-0000, visiting The Q Box Office or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart. Be sure to follow the Monsters on Twitter @monstershockey, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lakeeriemonsters, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/monstershockey.