By Sarah Jamieson, Special to WFNY
Cleveland’s own Lake Erie Monsters secured their first win of the season thanks to Stefan Elliott’s late goal and Calvin Pickard’s highlight-reel save with three seconds remaining. The 3-2 victory over the Abbotsford Heat (1-1-0-0) Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena takes the Monster to 1-1 on the year. After losing to Abbotsford the previous night in the season opener, the win on Saturday was the first of the 2013-14 season for the Monsters. Elliott picked up two goals and an assist, factoring into each Monsters goal. Also scoring for the Monsters was Brad Malone, who scored for the second time in as many nights. Captain Bryan Lerg posted two assists, after scoring in Friday’s game.
Corban Knight netted the game’s first goal just 31 seconds into the game, quickly putting the Heat in front 1-0, but the Monsters power play would answer twice before the end of the first period.
Elliott scored on a point shot on the power play from the right side to tie the game at 1-1. The power play goal at 6:29 was assisted by Mike Sgarbossa and Lerg. The goal was the first of the season for Elliott.
Malone netted his second goal in as many games at 11:05 of the first period on a five-on-three power play to give the Monsters a 2-1 lead. Elliott and Karl Stollery assisted on the goal.
In the second period, Abbotsford scored the frame’s only goal when Max Reinhart finished a tic-tac-toe passing play with his first goal of the season at 12:54 of the period, tying the game at 2-2.
Elliott redirected a Lerg shot from the left wing on the rush in the third period at 10:08 to give the Monsters a 3-2 lead; the goal was the second of the season and second of the game for Elliott, with Lerg getting the assist.
With three seconds left in the game, Pickard made an acrobatic glove save on Reinhart to keep the Monsters in front by a goal and preserve the 3-2 win.
Pickard stopped 24 of 26 shots and is 1-0-0 in net for the Monsters. Reto Berra stopped 30 of 33 in net for Abbotsford, and is 1-1-0.
The Monsters play their first away game of the season Sunday in Toronto to finish a three-in-three weekend.
NOTES: Pickard earns his first win of the season in his 50th appearance in a Monsters uniform; Pickard had 20 wins in net last season… Elliott has four points on two goals and two assists over the first two games of the season… Four sets of fighting majors were handed out in Saturday’s game, with the teams combining for 74 penalty minutes… The Monsters were perfect on the penalty kill (8-8)… The Monsters were 2-7 on the power play, and now have three power play goals in the first two games of the season.
(Image credit John Saraya/Lake Erie Monsters)