CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Four unanswered goals over the final two periods pushed the Lake Erie Monsters (24-16-2-2) to a 4-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat (22-14-3-4) on Thursday, vaulting the Monsters into the top spot in the North Division.
The Monsters scored three times in the third period against Abbotsford, who entered Thursday having allowed the fewest goals in the American Hockey League this season.
Paul Carey, Brad Malone, and Bill Thomas each registered a goal and an assist, while Gabriel Beaupre netted his first AHL goal, helping rookie goalie Calvin Pickard to his 13th victory and seventh in his last eight starts. The Monsters are 5-0-0-1 over their last six games; the team’s longest unbeaten-in-regulation streak on the season.
Despite Lake Erie outshooting the Heat 16-9 in the first period, Quintin Laing scored a rebound goal for Abbotsford with 13.3 seconds remaining in the opening frame to give the Heat a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
With Lake Erie once again outshooting the Heat in the second period, 18-8, Carey’s shorthanded goal shifted the pendulum in the Monsters favor. Abbotsford turned the puck over at their own line, and Carey cruised toward the net alone, beating Heat goalie Danny Taylor stick-side for his eighth goal of the season, unassisted, at 7:51 of the second period. The score was knotted 1-1 after 40 minutes.
Just 45 seconds into the third period, Malone, in his first game back with the Monsters after a one-game stint with the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche, fielded a favorable Monsters bounce at the side of the Abbotsford net and backhanded a puck over the line for the eventual game-winning marker, giving the Monsters a 2-1 lead. Thomas and Thomas McNeely assisted on Malone’s seventh goal.
Beaupre sent a low slap shot past Taylor at 3:01 of the third period for his first AHL tally, assisted by Carey and David van der Gulik, giving the Monsters a 3-1 lead. Beaupre’s goal marked the end of the night for Taylor, who was relieved by Barry Brust in net.
Thomas sealed the game for the Monsters with a one-timer on the power play that beat Brust top-shelf for his team-leading 17th goal of the season at 16:03 of the third period. The shot from the top of the left circle came with assists to Karl Stollery and Malone.
Pickard is 13-9-1 after stopping 23 of 24 shots in the win. Taylor stopped 33 of 36 for Abbotsford and falls to 11-8-1 with the loss. Brust stopped seven of eight shots in his relief appearance for the Heat.
The Monsters are right back home Friday night to take on the Heat again. The puck will drop at 7:30pm.