Cleveland Monsters Devour Manitoba Moose
CLEVELAND, OH. — Despite building a 3-0 second-period lead, the Manitoba Moose were eaten up by the Cleveland Monsters.
Thursday night, playing in front of 7,498 spectators at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, the Moose got two goals from Jansen Harkins (just 17 seconds apart in the second period) and a goal and two assists from JC Lipon, but they couldn’t hold a 3-0 advantage and fell 5-4 to the Monsters.
With the loss, the Moose fell to 28-37-5-5, but with only one game remaining, will finish seventh, not last, in the American Hockey League’s Central Division. The Moose are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10.
The Moose got off to a quick start on Thursday as Lipon snapped a shot past Cleveland’s Anton Forsberg to give the Moose a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first period. Meanwhile, Moose goaltender Eric Comrie was superb at the other end of the ice, making a couple highlight reel stops to keep the Moose in front 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Jansen Harkins got the second period started off right for the Moose by scoring two goals just 17 seconds apart. He scored the first, from Brian Strait and Lipon at 53 seconds and the second, from Lipon and Nelson Nogier at 1:10.
That score held until 8:46 into the period when Cleveland went nuts. Alex Broadhurst got the Monsters on the board with a power play goal and then Dean Kukan scored at 10:49 and and T.J. Tynan tallied at 12:42 to tie the game at 3-3. Two minutes later, Joe Pendenza gave the Monsters their first lead of the night, one-timing a Sonny Milano cross-crease pass past Comrie.
To their credit, the Moose stopped Cleveland’s run with 56 seconds left in the second period when Kyle Connor knocked in a rebound on his backhand to send the game to the third, tied 4-4. There were seven goals scored in the second period – three on Cleveland power-plays — after both teams scored just one in the first.
In the third period, the Monsters took the lead for good. Moments after the Moose missed a glorious shorthanded opportunity, Markus Hannikainen scored at 8:34 of the final period and that’s all Cleveland needed. With the 5-4 victory, the defending Calder Cup champion Monsters improved to 39-28-4-4.
Manitoba outshot Cleveland 36-29. Manitoba went one-for-two on the power play while Cleveland was three-for-seven.
The Moose and Monsters close the book on the regular season on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena in a 6 p.m. CDT matchup. You can hear the game live on TSN 1290 and at moosehockey.com/listenlive.
THE NOTEBOOK: The Moose opened the scoring for the fifth straight game…. Jansen Harkins notched his first career multi-goal game… JC Lipon had a three-point night, reaching the 30-point mark for the second straight year.
—Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo – James Carey Lauder, MyToba Sports