Monsters shoot down Stars 3-1
BY ANDREW GUARINO
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Monsters defeated the Texas Stars by a final score of 3-1 Thursday evening at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. This was the best game the Monsters played all year. They played fast, smart, hard and physical hockey. They let 35-year old Brad Thiessen and 21-year old Tyler Angle lead the way.
Cleveland controlled the momentum most of the first period. They had several chances to take the lead but couldn't. Justin Scott and Tyler Angle had the best opportunities. Cleveland came into the game against the Stars with the number one power play in the League but struggled Thursday night on the power play. The Stars had their best opportunity at the end of the first when former Monster Derek Barach had a wide open net, but Thiessen moved across his crease to deny him.
Period two was a physical period between the two teams. There were several post-whistle scrums. Cleveland got themselves a well-deserved lead 7:35 into the period. Justin Scott stopped a clearing attempt; however, Derek Barach tripped him up. Scott made a pass, falling down to Carson Meyer who was next to the left face off circle. He fed to Adam Clendening in the slot who faked a slap shot then deked out Tomas Sholl to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead. Texas got two power plays and had their chances but couldn't convert.
Texas came out swinging to start the third period, trying desperately to tie up the game. They would do this while on the power play at 10:19 into the third. Juilus Honda took a shot from the blue line; Thiessen made the stop, but Nick Baptiste was all alone in front to just knock in the rebound. Cleveland was once again short-handed at the fourteen minute mark but they got a go ahead short-handed goal. Liam Foudy cleared the puck out of the Monsters' defensive zone; the clearing attempt was caught up to by Tyler Angle at center, who scored under the arm of Tomas Sholl to make it a 2-1 game. Tyler, who had several chances before this, said, "I was fighting the puck all game. All I thought is 'third time's the charm' and I better convert this because I don't know how many more chances I'll have." Angle did get one more an empty net goal to seal the deal and lead the Monsters to a 3-1 victory.
Brad Thiessen was incredible Thursday night for the Monsters and a big reason why they won the game. What makes Brad's performance more incredible is he is the second oldest goalie in the American Hockey League. Despite not having to face a lot of breakaways and odd man rushes, there was chaos in front of him most of the night. Coach Eaves had a lot of good things to say regarding his goaltender, such as "there aren't enough adjectives to describe Brad. If you looked up good pro in the dictionary, Brad's picture would be next to it." Brad said his good performance was "all about being ready for his opportunities, which he doesn't take lightly." Then he joked about not having young legs anymore." Brad was expected to be the Monsters' goalie coach this year and be the Monsters third or fourth option in goal, but he has played 6/10 games so far this year. When asked about going from coach to player, he said, "it's a different mentality. I always think to myself this will be the year that I'm just a coach but then I'm the only person left."
Looking back on keys to the game and my player to watch: 1. Keep guys out of the front of the net. Cleveland did a tremendous job at this until the third period. 2. Stop leaving Thiessen out to dry. This was a job well done by Cleveland. The Stars didn't have many odd man wishes or any breakaways. 3. Play confident for the whole sixty minutes. Once again, this was a job well done for Cleveland as they looked great the whole game. My player to watch was Kole Sherwood. Sherwood was quiet on the scoreboard, but he did the little things like setting up plays.
The Texas Stars started Tomas Sholl in net; he stopped 32/34 shots faced. Cleveland countered with Brad Thiessen, who performed the best he had all season, stopping 31/32 shots faced. This earned him the second star of the game. Tyler Angle earned the first star with two goals and Adam Clendening got the third star with his one goal.
Next up for the Monsters is a rematch with the Stars Saturday night at 7pm. Let's look at keys to the game: 1. The one thing Cleveland really struggled with is getting out of their zone, and this is something we'll need to improve on. 2. Physicality needs to be at a high level. For Cleveland not playing the Stars yet this year, Thursday night was a physical game and we'll need to keep that up. 3. We need to be better on the power play. Coming into Thursday's night game, the Monsters had the number one power play in the American Hockey League, however, they struggled against Texas. My player to watch will be Brad Thiessen for Saturday night. Coming off his best start of the year, he'll look to beat his 31 save performance.
POSTED 03/25/2021 22:44