CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - It was a night that belonged to two all-star rookie forwards, as the Lake Erie Monsters topped the Toronto Marlies 4-3 in OT at Quicken Loans Arena.
Mike Sgarbossa scored twice, the second time just :53 seconds into OT with the game tied at three for the game-winner to send the crowd home happy.
Andrew Agozzino picked up three points for the Monsters, in the pair’s second-to-last game before heading to Providence, Rhode Island for the American Hockey League All-Star Classic.
Bill Thomas added a pair of assists as well, while rookie goalie Calvin Pickard won for the sixth time in his last seven starts in net.
The Monsters continue to play excellent hockey, as they have now won four straight games and six of their last seven. Thursday marked the return of the Monsters from a six-game road swing, beginning a stretch now of five straight at home.
David van der Gulik opened the scoring for the Monsters with a shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off a pair of Marlies and past goalie Jussi Rynnas to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead at 3:53 of the first period, with assists to Agozzino and Cameron Gaunce. The goal was the 12th of the season for van der Gulik.
Toronto answered with a pair. The first was a Nicolas Deschamps on a wrist shot from a tight angle at 10:11, and Simon Gysbers on the power play from the center of the blue line at 18:33, giving Toronto a 2-1 lead after one period.
Sgarbossa tapped in a rebound to tie the game for the Monsters at 7:43 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2 with the Monsters on the power play. Thomas and Agozzino assisted on Sgarbossa’s 15th goal of the season.
Tim Connolly scored on a one-timer from the left circle to tie the game for Toronto on the power play at 9:22 of the second period, but Thomas Pock joined the rush to tie the game at 3-3 for the Monsters 3:30 later.
Thomas centered a pass to Pock, who without hesitation, tapped a puck top-shelf on Rynnas. Sgarbossa also assisted on the goal.
After a third period with no scoring, overtime was needed to break the 3-3 tie. Following a diving poke check from Calvin Pickard in the Monsters net, Agozzino hauled the puck down the ice, dropped it to a trailing Sgarbossa, who wristed the puck past Rynnas for the game-winning goal.
Pickard is 12-9-1 after stopping 26 of 29 shots for the Monsters. Rynnas stopped 23 of 27 in the loss; he is 6-5-1 for Toronto.
The Monsters are back in action Saturday night at 7:30 PM when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs.