By Doug Plagens, Special to WFNY
Four second-period goals pushed the Lake Erie Monsters (8-6-0-0) to a 5-3 road win over the Hamilton Bulldogs (5-7-0-3) Friday night at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario. The win marks the Monsters third straight victory. Mitchell Heard and Stefan Elliott led the way offensively with a goal and two assists each, while Heard also finished with a plus-four rating. Sami Aittokallio earned the win in net for the Monsters, who conclude three games in three nights at Quicken Loans Arena tomorrow night against Hamilton.
Hamilton struck first in the opening period when Gabriel Dumont took a puck to the net, and Justin Courtnall slipped a backhand shot past Sami Aittokallio at the 8:27 mark.
Hamilton’s Joonas Nattinen gave Hamilton a 2-0 lead early in the second period at 3:04, but the Monsters quickly turned the tables on the Bulldogs. After a clean faceoff win from Mitchell Heard, Gabe Beaupre sent a slap shot past Hamilton goalie Robert Mayer to cut the deficit in half at 5:43; the second goal of the season and second in as many nights for Beaupre. Heard collected the lone assist on the goal.
The Monsters tied the game when Stefan Elliott’s shot from the center of the Hamilton blue line was tipped in by Guillaume Desbiens at 6:18; his second goal of the season. Heard also assisted on the goal that tied the game at 2-2.
Elliott gave the Monsters a 3-2 lead shortly thereafter at 8:15 of the second period. After being denied on a shot from the right side, Elliott tracked a loose puck along the right wing boards, and sent a pass to the front of the net that bounced off a Hamilton defender and into the goal. Elliott’s third goal of the season was assisted by Joey Hishon.
Mayer was pulled from the Hamilton net in favor of Dustin Tokarski after the Monsters took a 4-2 lead at 11:44 of the second period. Tyson Barrie’s point shot was tipped in front by Heard, and the puck crossed the line, giving Heard his first goal of the season. J.T. Wyman also assisted on Heard’s goal, which gave him a three-point second period.
At 16:19 of the third period, Wyman carried a puck up the left wing and behind the Hamilton goal, and played a puck into the Hamilton goal crease that ultimately rolled over the goal line behind Tokarski. Markus Lauridsen and Stefan Elliott assisted on the goal that gave the Monsters a 5-3 lead.
Aittokallio stopped 31 of 34 shots in net for the Monsters; he is now 3-2-0 in net. Mayer stopped 15 of 19 shots for Hamilton and takes the loss; he is 1-4-2. Tokarski stopped nine of 10 shots in relief for Hamilton.
The Monsters and Bulldogs meet at Quicken Loans Arena Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
NOTES: The Monsters three-game win streak is their longest of the season, and they have also won their last three road games… The Monsters are 3-2-0-0 on the road this season, and 2-0-0-0 against Hamilton… The Monsters and Bulldogs were both 0-5 on the power play in the game… The Monsters are 22-23 on the penalty kill over their last five games… The Monsters and Bulldogs were each assessed seven penalties for 14 total penalty minutes… Mitchell Heard and Stefan Elliott (Goal, two assists each) and J.T. Wyman (Goal, assist) had multi-point games for the Monsters… Guillaume Desbiens was a plus-three for the Monsters.
(Image via John Saraya/LEM)