By Doug Plagens, Special to WFNY
Defenseman Matt Hunwick forced overtime in the first outdoor game in Lake Erie Monsters history when he scored with under one second remaining in the third period. The Monsters (12-11-0-2), however, fell to the Rochester Americans (12-10-2-2) 5-4 in a shootout Friday night at the Frozen Frontier at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York. Hunwick scored twice in the game, and now has points in five straight contests. Mark Olver and Garrett Meurs also scored for the Monsters, who continue their road trip at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday in Utica.
Rochester’s Matt Ellis scored the game’s first goal at 3:36 of the opening frame, but center Mark Olver’s one-timer on the power play tied the game for the Monsters 6:58 later. Olver’s fifth goal of the season was assisted by Andrew Agozzino. The Monsters gained a 2-1 lead just 1:05 later on another power play when Hunwick slipped behind the Rochester defense and took a brilliant pass from Agozzino, who was set up in the right wing corner. Hunwick’s fourth goal of the season was also assisted by Lerg at the 11:39 mark of the first period.
The Monsters led 2-1 heading into the second period, and Garrett Meurs’ shot from the right wing extended the Monsters lead to 3-1 at 9:02 of the middle frame. Olver and Karl Stollery assisted on the third goal of the season for Meurs, but a Rochester comeback would follow.
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Phil Varone scored for Rochester in the final 5:03 of the period to send the game into the second intermission tied 3-3, and Rochester took a 4-3 lead when Colton Gillies scored at 3:07 of the third period.
After a scramble for the puck, Hunwick managed to snap home the game-tying goal shortly before time expired at 19:59 of the third period to force overtime. The goal was Hunwick’s fifth of the season and second of the game, and also his second power play goal of the game. Olver and Agozzino assisted on the goal, which forced overtime, and ultimately a shootout.
In a shootout that saw the Monsters take a lead when Colin Smith and Bryan Lerg scored in the second and third round respectively, Rochester once again battled back. Mike Zigomanis, Johan Larsson, and Matt Ellis scored to secure the shootout win for the Americans.
With the shootout loss in net for the Monsters, Calvin Pickard is 7-7-2; he stopped 26 of 30 shots. With the win in net for Rochester, Matt Hackett is 7-8-2; he also stopped 26 of 30 shots.
NOTES: Lerg’s assist also extends his point streak to five games; the five-game point streaks for Lerg and Hunwick are Monsters season-bests… The Monsters are now 4-7-0-0 on the road… The Monsters are now 1-2-0-1 against Rochester this season, and they will face the Americans againnext Friday and Saturday… The Monsters next home game is against Rochester next Saturday, December 21st… The Monsters are 8-6-0-2 against the North Division this season… Mark Olver’s goal and two assists give him 20 points on the season; the second-highest total on the Monsters… The Monsters were 3-7 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.