Monsters topple Stars 5-2 
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Monsters defeated the Texas Stars by a final score of 5-2 Sunday evening from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland came out of the gate strong, but the important question was would they be able to finish? 

Cleveland was able to put the dreaded end to Saturday's game behind them quickly and got off to another rocket hot start. Gavin Bayreuther shot the puck from an odd angle, it went off the post, and Tyler Sikura jammed away at the puck in the crease until it went into the net. Sikura did a great job playing until the whistle sounded and it paid off with a goal. Just over three minutes later Nathan Gerbe got his third of the year to make it 2-0 Cleveland. Gavin Bayreuther took a shot that went off the pads of Stars' goaltender Tomas Skull and the rebound went into the slot where Nathan Gerbe shot the puck, scoring five hole. Yet Cleveland wasn't satisfied and made it 3-0 before the end of the first. Andrew Peeke took a shot next to the right face off circle and it was blocked in front by Jerad Rosburg. Evan Polei backhanded the loose puck into the net to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead. After this goal, Texas took a timeout to regroup. The first period was a mirror image of Saturday's night game, and the question begged to asked: would Cleveland be able to carry their strong start into the second?

Texas came into the second with a different attitude, playing hard out of the gate. At 3:48 of the period they were rewarded. Off a rush into the zone, Adam Mascherin shot the puck; Brad made the save but Nick Baptiste was right in front to score on the rebound. Cleveland argued that the goal went off its holders but to avail. Just over five minutes into the period, Justin Scott and Anthony Lewis got into it along the boards. They dropped the gloves and wrestled each other to the ground. Scott received four minutes for roughing and Anthony Lewi and Derek Barach each got two for roughing for Texas. After the scrum Texas controlled the majority of the period. They cut Cleveland's lead to one at 8:43. Jered Rosburg shot the puck from the blue line; the puck was knocked down and loose in the slot where Adam Mascherin backhanded the puck. It went off the skate of Brad Thiessen and went into the net. It looked like Brad, in an attempt to cover the puck, pushed it into the net. Things were starting to look like deja vu of Saturday's night contest between the two clubs. Texas applied heavy pressure the rest of the period but Cleveland held onto the 3-2 lead.

Cleveland came out to the third re-energized and looked like the team that played in the first period. Carson Meyer picked up a loose puck and entered the Monsters' offensive zone. He did some fancy stick handling to get around Dawson Barteaux in the slot and headed toward the net. He then passed across the crease to Evan Polei who tapped it into a wide open net. With just under three minutes remaining in the game, Tyler Sikura sealed the deal with an empty net goal.  

Cleveland played an overall good game and besides a lackluster second period, they were able to hold onto the lead. Something that has been noted multiple times throughout this three-game home stand was the inability to capitalize on the power play. When coach Eaves was asked about it, he said, "it's a really good question. We had a power play meeting this morning. We have a power play list of things we want to check off, which is seven things we did. Six of them just couldn't put the puck in the net."

Looking back at keys to the game and player to watch. 1. The power play needs to be better. It looked better but still wasn't great and failed to produce any goals. 2. Keep it simple. Overall Cleveland did a better job at this as they focused on the simpler aspects and avoided trying to get fancy. 3. Get the puck into our zone better. Cleveland did a great job at entering their zone Sunday evening. Tyler Angle was the player to watch, he was quiet on the score sheet but still played really well.

Cleveland started Brad Thiessen in goal for the second straight game;he stopped 24/26 shots faced. The Stars countered with Tomas Sholl, who stopped 31/35 shots faced. Evan Pole's two-goal performance earned him the first star of the game; the second star went to Gavin Bayreuther who had four assists; and the third star went to Tyler Sikura who also had two goals. 

Next up for Cleveland is the Rochester Americans Wednesday evening from the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York, with the puck drop scheduled for 6:05pm. Let's look at keys to the game and player to watch. 1. Cleveland needs to keep guys out of the front of the net. Texas did a great job at being in front of Brad and in his crease. 2. We can't give Rochester any length of time where they control the game like the Monsters did with Texas. 3. The power play. It's been a horrible series against Texas while on the power play. They were 0/12 in the series. Cleveland will have to regain its success on the power play and quickly. Looking at my player to watch, it is Gavin Bayreuther who had four assists and was a huge playmaker in Sunday's game. 
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​POSTED 03/28/2021 21:18
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