HERSHEY, PA – In a Cleveland team’s first Calder Cup Finals appearance in 50 years, the Lake Erie Monsters claimed a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series vs. the Hershey Bears for the AHL Championship, thanks to a 4-1 game 1 win on Wednesday at Giant Center in Hershey, PA. With the victory, the Monsters improved to 12-2 in the playoffs and tied their longest postseason winning streak this season with the team’s sixth consecutive victory.
The Bears grabbed a 1-0 lead on an even-strength goal from Jakub Vrana at 15:42 of the opening period, but the Monsters managed to equalize in the middle frame at 7:48 when Alex Broadhurst and Steve Eminger combined to spring Daniel Zaar on a five-on-five partial breakaway that the Swedish-born sniper finished off for his fourth tally of the postseason.
In the third, Trent Vogelhuber bounced home an even-strength goal at 5:39 on feeds from Ryan Craig and Eminger to make it 2-1 before an unassisted five-on-five marker from Zaar at 13:33 gave way to a Markus Hannikainen tip-in goal at 15:09 thanks to assists from Dean Kukan and Oliver Bjorkstrand that capped the scoring at 4-1 Monsters.
Anton Forsberg improved to 6-0 in net for the Monsters following a 26-save Game 1 performance, while Justin Peters stopped 22 pucks in defeat for the Bears.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday with full coverage, live from Giant Center in Hershey, PA, underway at 7:00 pm on ESPN 850 WKNR and simulcast on CLE 43 WUAB and the Monsters Hockey Network.
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