Monsters Top Griffins 4-2
Colin Smith's goal with just over three minutes remaining in regulation was the eventual game-winning goal, as the Lake Erie Monsters (31-33-1-10) topped the defending Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins (46-23-2-4) by a 4-2 score Friday night at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Andrew Agozzino, Colin Smith, and David van der Gulik had two-point games for the Monsters, while Sami Aittokallio made 25 saves in the win. The Monsters finish the regular season against Grand Rapids Saturday at 7:00 PM at Quicken Loans Arena.
The game was scoreless until the 15:38 mark of the second period when Andrew Agozzino took a centering pass from Smith and snapped a shot toward the net that took a fortunate bounce behind Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek, giving the Monsters a 1-0 lead. The goal was the team-leading 17th of the season for Agozzino, and was also assisted by Gabe Beaupre.
J.T. Wyman banged in a van der Gulik centering pass from the top of the goal crease to give the Monsters a 2-0 lead at 2:21 of the third period. Mike Sgarbossa also assisted on the goal, which was the seventh of the season for Wyman.
Between the 5:04 and 7:09 marks of the third period, Grand Rapids received goals from Andrej Nestrasil and Teemu Pulkkinen, but the Monsters regained the multi-goal lead as the third period progressed. Shortly after serving a penalty, van der Gulik forced a Griffins turnover at the Monsters blue line, and Agozzino fed a long outlet pass to van der Gulik, who worked up the left wing into the offensive zone. van der Gulik centered to Smith, who netted his eighth goal of the season and the eventual game-winner with 3:05 left in the game.
Matt Pufahl scored his first goal of the season, and first as a professional, with an empty-net tally at 19:02 of the third period to seal the win for the Monsters.
Sami Aittokallio stopped 25 of 27 shots in the Monsters win; he is 15-15-3 on the season. Mrazek is 22-9-1 with the loss for Grand Rapids; he stopped 20 of 23 shots.
The Monsters close out the 2013-14 season Saturday night at 7:00 PM at Quicken Loans Arena against Grand Rapids.
NOTES: The Monsters are 2-1-0-0 against Grand Rapids this season, and 2-0-0-0 at Van Andel Arena... With two points, Agozzino now has 49 points on the season and leads the Monsters in that category; he led the Monsters in points last season... The Monsters are 3-4-1-1 in April... The Monsters are 7-9-0-3 against the Midwest Division... The Monsters are 12-20-0-6 on the road this season... The Monsters were 0-2 on the power play, and 3-3 on the penalty kill.
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