Grahame and Monsters Make It Four Straight
After winning the final three games of their season-high seven-game road trip over the weekend, the Lake Erie Monsters returned home to extend their winning streak to four games, claiming a 3-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night. Four straight victories marks a season high for the Monsters, while the win concluded a six-game regular season series with the Barons.
John Grahame turned aside 24 of the 25 shots he faced in net. Grahame has backstopped all four wins in Lake Erie's current streak, establishing a season high for consecutive victories among Lake Erie goaltenders. The win also improved Grahame's season record to 9-7-2 on the season.
Tuesday's game also began a five-game home stand for the Monsters (20-19-3-4), who will play 11 of their next 12 games at The Q. Lake Erie has won four of its last five home games, improving to 11-5-2-2 in friendly confines.
A scoreless first period featured nine shots from both teams.
In the middle frame Lake Erie quickly took a 1-0 lead at the 1:23 mark. After Matt Ford's slap shot from the right circle bounced off an Oklahoma City defenseman, an anxiously awaiting Mark Olver backhanded a loose puck into the net for his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Olver has totaled six points (5G, 1A) in his last four outings, pushing his goal-scoring streak to four games, the longest of any Monster this season.
The Barons (22-16-2-4) tied the game at 1-1 during a two-man advantage at 3:53 of the period. From the top of the left circle, Bryan Helmer took a slap shot that caromed off the left goalpost and into the net. Helmer took assists from Alexandre Giroux and Teemu Hartikainen.
The Monsters regained their lead by scoring a power play goal at 17:16 of the second. From the right point, Jonas Holos rifled a slap shot that was tipped in by Ryan Stoa. Holos' assist came as his second in three games, while Stoa's sixth power play goal of the season leads the team. Ben Walter also assisted for his team-leading 32nd point (13G, 19A) of the season and third point (2G, 1A) in as many games.
Lake Erie ended the second period with a 2-1 lead, while they outshot Oklahoma City by a 10-9 count in the frame.
In the third period the Monsters went up 3-1 with Mike Carman's ninth goal of the season. After Lake Erie sustained strong pressure in the offensive zone, Carman found a loose puck between the hash marks and fired a wrist shot past Jeff Deslauriers at 6:16. Dave Philips assisted and Patrick Bordeleau recorded a helper for his second in as many games. Bordeleau's assist also marked his second set of back-to-back points this season.
The game ended in a 3-1 Lake Erie win, while the Monsters outshot the Barons 27-25 in the game.
Deslauriers went 24-for-27 in the Oklahoma City loss, which snapped a four-game winning streak for the visiting Barons.
Lake Erie will host the Rochester Americans at 7:00 p.m. Thursday. The contest will mark the third game in six days between the two teams.
Three Stars: 1. LE Stoa (GW goal); 2. LE Olver (1 goal); 3. LE Grahame (24 saves)
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