HOUSTON (92.3 The Fan) – Playing the fourth game of a season-long seven-game road swing on Friday night, the Lake Erie Monsters (8-4-0-0) improved to 3-0 in shootouts so far this season. Rookie Mike Sgarbossa scored twice to lead Lake Erie to a 5-4 shootout win over the Houston Aeros (5-4-1-2) at the Toyota Center.
Bryan Lerg, Thomas Pock and Andrew Agozzino also registered two-point games for the Monsters, and first-year goalie Sami Aittokallio turned away all four Aeros shootout attempts to help the Monsters earn the second point in the win.
The Monsters have now won four of their last five games, with three of those wins coming in a shootout.
Pock began the scoring for the Monsters when the defenseman rifled a slap shot from the left point over the shoulder of Aeros goalie Matt Hackett for his third of the season at 5:17 of the opening period. Agozzino assisted on the goal.
At 9:34 of the first period, Sgarbossa sent a wrister past Hackett from the top of the left circle for his fourth goal of the season to give the Monsters a 2-0 lead. Luke Walker and Lerg assisted on the goal.
Nick Palmieri caught up to a puck that took an Aeros bounce off the glass to the front of the Monsters goal, tapping the puck in to pull Houston to within a goal at 15:27 of the first period.
Justin Fontaine streaked up the right wing side and fired a puck past Aittokallio at the 2:08 mark of the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
Agozzino answered for the Monsters with his sixth goal of the season on a wrist shot from the front of the Aeros net at 13:35 of the second period- with assists from Paul Carey and Mark Olver- to capture a 3-2 lead for the Monsters.
Chad Rau tied the game at 3-3 for Houston on a shot from the slot at 7:39 of the third period, before the Monsters once again took a one-goal lead.
Shortly after beginning a power play, Sgarbossa sent a rebound top-shelf from a sharp angle, giving the Monsters a 4-3 lead. Lerg and Pock assisted on the goal.
With 1:16 remaining in the game, Jason Zucker scored from a sharp angle to tie the game at 4-4 and force overtime, and ultimately, a shootout.
Aittokallio denied all four Aeros shooters and Sgarbossa and Lerg scored in the shootout for the Monsters, capturing the second point and the victory for Lake Erie.
Aittokallio stopped 26 of 30 shots in 65 minutes, and is now 4-1-0. Hackett is 2-4-2 after the shootout loss; he stopped 27 of 31.
The Monsters are back in action Saturday night on the road against the Texas Stars, with all the action beginning at 8:00 PM.
NOTES: Sgarbossa and Lerg are each 3-3 in shootouts this season… Aittokallio is 2-0 in shootouts… Three of the last five Lake Erie games have ended in a shootout, with the Monsters winning all three… The Monsters were 1-2 on the power play on Friday, and are now 6-2-0-0 when scoring at least one power play goal in a game… The Monsters are 6-2-0-0 when Pock gets a point… The Monsters are 6-2-0-0 on the road so far this season… Agozzino has five goals and four assists for nine points over his last 10 games