Checkers beat shorthanded Monsters 5-1   
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Charlotte Checkers defeated the Cleveland Monsters 5-1 Saturday night from the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. The Monsters were one forward short going in and then lost another player to injury during the game.

The scoring started just 2:07 into the first period. A scrum against the boards led to a puck landing on the stick of Morgan Geekie, who shot the puck. It tipped off of Spencer Smallman’s stick under Matiss and went in. The Monsters were able to tie things up with less than five minutes to play in the first. Adam Clendening unleashed a slap shot from the blue line, which went off of Alex Nedkovic’s pads, and Sam Vigneault was waiting to tap the puck in. It was a power play goal, which is good considering most of the Monsters’ normal power play group is in Columbus and the Checkers have the #1 penalty kill in the League. At the end of the period, a turnover in the Monsters zone led to Matiss Kivlenieks bouncing on the puck outside of the crease. Brian Gibbons poked Matiss late and this led to a huge scrum between the teams in the far corner. No fight came of it, but Somerby got two minutes for cross checking and Gibbons got two for slashing and two for roughing. About halfway through the first, Marko Dano collided with the Checkers’ Max McCormick; he did not finish the first. 

Of to note Marko Dano did not come out to the second. The second period led to some big hits being laid by Kole Sherwood. The lone goal in the second went to the Checkers on the power play at 6:53. Chase Priskie took a shot from next to the face off dot; it went off the very end of Kivlenieks’ skate and the rebound was picked up by Julien Gauthie, who scored his 14th of the season. 

Early in the third, the Checkers thought they scored their third goal of the game but it was waved off after Max McCormick accidentally brushed Kivlenieks. Almost immediately after play resumed, the Checkers did get their third of the game. A Fredrik Claesson slap shot found its way to the back of the net, assisted by Jacob Pritchard and Clark Bishop. After this goal things got chippy. At 8:11 Trey Fix-Wolansky and Morgan Geekie got into it on the ice and each were given two minutes for roughing. The conversation between the two continued on the way to the penalty boxes and they were yelling at each other through the penalty box glass. Then at 15:43 Clark Bishop hit Kole Sherwood as Sherwood entered the Monsters’ zone and then held him after play moved away from them. They fell to the ice where Kole tried to not engage in extra activities but eventually dropped his gloves and went after Bishop; they both got two for unsportsmanlike conduct. Play went to 4/4 and the Monsters pulled their goalie. After a couple icings Max McCormick got an empty net goal assisted by Morgan Geekie and Gustav Forsling. Just ten seconds later the Checkers got their fifth goal - a slap shot by Gustav Forsling beat Kivlenieks. With a little bit more than a minute remaining in the third, Alex Nedeljkovic slashed a Monsters player going by the net. Brett Gallant took exception to this and cross checked Nedeljkovic. He was given a two minute minor for cross checking and a ten minute misconduct. At the end of the game Derek Barach and Roland Mckeown were chirping at each other and received ten minute misconducts. 

The Monsters started Matiss Kivlenieks in net; he stopped 33 of 36 shots faced in 54:03 of game time. The Checkers countered with northeast Ohio native Alex Nedeljkovic who stopped 18 of 19 shots faced. The first star went to the Checkers’ Julien Gauthier with a goal, the second star went to Clark Bishop with two assists, and the third star went to Gustav Forsling with a goal and an assist.

Looking back at keys to the game: The first one was to continue to battle through tough times. The Monsters definitely did this, being down a forward to start with and stepped it up even more when Dano got hurt. The second key was to limit the Checkers’ power play chances; the Monsters did an okay job at this, having five minor penalties. The final key to the game was to continue to play hard hitting hockey, which the Monsters did very well. The player of the game goes to Kole Sherwood who played a very good and aggressive game. After Dano left the game with his injury, the Monsters were down to 10 forward. Mike Eaves has this to say about being shorthanded - “it’s a chance, it’s an opportunity for the guys to step up.” He went on to say “it happens sometimes. It’s all part of the journey and the guys just have to keep their heads up.”

Next up for Cleveland is a rematch with the Checkers Monday at 12:00 p.m.. The first key will be to continue to battle being short handed as the Monsters are missing 13 everyday guys to call ups right now and have a few guys out due to injury themselves. The second key will be to play a smart physical game on Monday and not take stupid penalties but also don’t let them control the physical game. The final key will be to continue to play solid.
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​POSTED 12/28/2019 23:32
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