Monsters win on the road in Rochester, Bizarre instance with the Pittsburgh Penguins

Good Morning Sports Fans!

Lake Erie Monsters goaltender Billy Sauer continued to prove his worth yesterday as the netminder had 32 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Rochester Americans. Sauer, who was called up from the ECHL earlier this season to replace the struggling Trevor Cann, is currently 3-2 and has a .925 save percentage since joining the Monsters. Unlike Cann, Sauer has been consistent, helped the Monsters stay close in games and has been a great asset to the team.

With the game tied 1-1 in the middle of the game, Sauer made 13 saves in the second period and nine in the third to prevent Rochester from taking a lead.

In the third period, the Monsters would go up 2-1 with a goal by Marty Sertich. It would remain a 2-1 hockey game until TJ Hensick put in an empty net goal with less then two minutes remaining in the contest to put the Monsters up by two. That was all the Monsters needed as they prevailed with a 3-1 victory over the Americans.

The Monsters had a horrendous start to the season but have improved on both sides of the puck since calling up Sauer from the ECHL. Gone are the games in which the Monsters were getting blown out by five or six goals as the Monsters have kept their games closer since Sauer joined the Monsters. Forward Darren Haydar is starting to become the player both Monsters management and fans were hoping to see and teammates Phillipe Dupuis, TJ Hensick, Ryan Stoa and Brian Willsie are starting to blossom into the stars the Monsters were hoping for.

During the early season struggles, it was a mystery why the Monsters were struggling. Some believe that head coach David Quinn was still adjusting from coaching college kids to professionals looking to make the jump to the NHL, others thought that the team played like individuals and could not play as a team and others simply thought that the Monsters were simply playing their role of developing younger players for the NHL and not necessarily concerned with the wins and losses. Quinn has stated in interviews that some of current Monsters players were disappointed about not being called up after seeing Brandon Yipp, TJ Galiardi and Justin Mercier (who is now back on the Monsters) get called up to the NHL.

For many players, it’s easy to be frustrated seeing teammates go to the NHL and waiting for your shot but the one way to increase your chances is to play better. Many of the Monsters players may not get called up to Colorado this season but by playing better and more cohesive, that opportunity could come with another NHL franchise. That motivation alone is helping the Monsters play more cohesive on the ice and raking in much needed wins in the standings.

Moving to the NHL, after struggling in their past couple of games, the Pittsburgh Penguins returned to the winning track last night with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is only the second victory in eight games for the defending Stanley Cup Champions but it was needed and came on an unexpected break.

Tied 1-1 in the second period, the Penguins caught a break off a bizarre instance involving a slap shot from defenceman Sergei Gonchar. While on the power play, it appeared that a shot by Gonchar hit the back of the net but a goal was not signaled or called by the referees of the goal judge. After the shot bounced out of the net, Toronto was able to get a breakaway chance with Alexei Ponikarovsky. Ponikarovsky was hooked by Gonchar on the way to the net resulting in an initial call for a penalty shot, however, the referees decided to review Gonchar’s shot on goal to see if it went in. Replays did show that Gonchar did score and the Penguins were awarded the goal and there was no penalty shot for the Maple Leafs. Gonchar was put in the penalty box for two minutes but the Leafs were not awarded a penalty shot.

Thought the Penguins did catch a break, it’s bizarre that Gonchar still went into the penalty box for two minutes. Gonchar clearly scored a goal off video replay and the penalty never would have occurred if the play was blown dead like it should have. Time was put back on the clock to make up for when play should have been stopped but the penalty still remained. It would be safe to argue that if the whistle was blown when it should, the penalty would never have occurred and Gonchar should not be placed in the penalty box.

Gonchar would emerge from the penalty box later on in the second period and score again to put the Penguins up 3-1.

In the third period, Sidney Crosby scored to make it a 4-1 victory for the Penguins.

That’s it for now. Keep it real.

Jeff

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~ by jeffrsabo on January 10, 2010.

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