Griffins shut out Monsters 2-0  
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Cleveland Monsters 2-0 Tuesday night from the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It was the first time Cleveland got shutout all year. They didn't look like themselves Tuesday night as they struggled to maintain any substantial offensive zone time. Coach Eaves said, "it was an interesting game, for sure. The first three or four minutes we looked like ourselves. After that, the penalty kill took a lot out of us. But it was a hard competitive game. We just didn't generate as many shots as we wanted to." 

Griffins' center and alternate captain Kyle Criscuolo had a rough first period. He was the recipient of a big hit on the blue line courtesy of Brandon Crawley. Later in the period, he took a hard hit into the boards by Gavin Bayreuther. This hit resulted in a five minute power play for the Griffins. It started off slow, but they spent more time in their offensive zone as the power play went on. Taro Hirose had the puck on the right face off dot and he passed through the slot over to Joe Veleno, who was behind Kivlenieks, and he just tapped it into the net to make it 1-0. Grand Rapids got their second power play of game late into the first period on which they were able to convert at 18:17. After spending a considerable amount of time in their offensive zone, Grand Rapids got the puck off to Riley Barber in the left face off dot, who fired a wrist shot that just got under the pads of Matiss Kivlenieks to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead. 

Period two had no scoring, but physicality picked up quite a bit with a decent amount of shoving going on after whistles. It also featured a conversation between Zach Jordan and Dylan Mcllrath, and then another much lengthier chat between Brett Gallant and Givani Smith. The Monsters did have their best scoring chance of the game in the second when Tyler Angle hit the cross bar off the rush. 

Grand Rapids controlled the first half of the third period. Cleveland didn't even get their first shot until a little over halfway through the period. While the Monsters did turn up the heat last half of the period and got a few opportunities, they couldn't get anything passed Kaden Fulcher. Cleveland finished with three shots in the third. 

Following up on keys to the game and the players to watch. 1. Be ready for a tough physical game. This wasn't as physical as I expected it to be, but with only three games left for Cleveland and four for the Griffins and both being in the hunt for the top of the division, this isn't necessarily a surprise. 2. Get bodies in front of the net. This is something Cleveland didn't accomplish. They had a hard time getting guys in front of the net in their offensive zone. 3. Don't let the Griffins play their style of game. For the most part this was done. It also looked the the Griffins toned down their mind games. My player to watch is Jake Christiansen. He had a quiet night but did manage to fire off three shots. 

Cleveland started Matiss Kivlenieks in net; he stopped 34/36 shots faced. Grand Rapids countered with Kaden Fulcher, who stopped all 22 he shots faced. Fulcher's performance earned him the first star of the game. The second star went to Riley Barber with a goal and an assist. Joe Veleno took the third star with a goal. 

Next up for the Monsters is the home finale against the Griffins with the puck drop set for 7pm from the FieldHouse. Let's look at the keys to the game and player to watch. 1 Fix the power play. Not only has Cleveland not been able to cash in these last few games while on the power play, they haven't looked good either. They struggle to even maintain puck possession and have even given up a few short-handed chances. 2. Penalty trouble has bit the Monsters a few times throughout the year and it did once again Tuesday night as they spent 13 minutes on the kill. Granted, that was in part due to the five minute boarding major, but still, in order to get chances, we can't spend almost an entire period on the kill. They have struggled in the last two games and Eaves said, "Assistant Coach Trent Vogelhuber noticed some holes in the penalty kill and we'll look to fix that before Friday." 3. Get back to the basic of getting shots on net. Cleveland didn't record their first shot of the third period until over halfway through it. That is not a recipe for success.
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​POSTED 05/11/2021 23:14
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