By Doug Plagens, Special to WFNY
Defenceman Matt Hunwick’s shorthanded goal in the third period pushed the Lake Erie Monsters (11-9-0-1) past the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies (12-8-1-0) by a 2-1 score Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Hunwick, along with left wing Bryan Lerg, scored for the Monsters, while Calvin Pickard earned the win in net against Toronto, who entered the game on a three-game winning streak. The game marked the start of three games over a four-day span for the Monsters, who host Hamilton Friday night.
Marlies defenceman T.J. Brennan’s point shot eight seconds into a Toronto power play was tipped by Troy Bodie at 19:01 of the first period, and the puck slipped past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard for the game’s first goal. Toronto held their 1-0 lead through the end of the first period.
The Monsters tied the game on a power play of their own at 4:43 of the second period. Bryan Lerg carried the puck from the right side to the high slot and ripped a slap shot top-shelf past Toronto goalie Christopher Gibson. Lerg’s team-leading 10th goal was assisted by Matt Hunwick and tied the game at 1-1.
In the third period, the Monsters scored again on special teams, but it was a shorthanded goal that proved to be the game-winner. Paul Carey caused a Toronto turnover, and sent a pass to Hunwick on the right side. Hunwick’s shot from the circle was denied, but he picked up a loose puck behind the net, and wrapped the puck around to beat Gibson and give the Monsters a 2-1 lead with his second goal of the season.
Pickard stopped 29 of 30 shots, and improved to 6-6-1 on the season. Gibson stopped 20 of 22 shots, and falls to 1-1-0 with the loss for Toronto.
The Monsters are back on the ice Friday at home against Hamilton at 7:30 PM.
NOTES: The Monsters are 2-1-0-0 against Toronto this season… Each of Hunwick’s two goals this season are game-winning goals… Carey has points in back-to-back games… Pickard has started all three games for the Monsters against Toronto for the Monsters this season, and is 2-1-0 against the Marlies… The Monsters were 1-5 on the power play and 6-7 on the penalty kill… The game marked the fifth of 11 straight games against the North Division for the Monsters.