BELLEVILLE, Ontario. – It had been 685 days since the last time the Cleveland Monsters made their way to the CAA Arena to take on the Belleville Senators. That wait ended on Friday with the Monsters first trip to Canada since the 2019-20 season ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which included seeing a few former teammates such as Kole Sherwood, Andrew Agozzino, and Dillon Heatherington. The Monsters prevailed, 4-0.
Cleveland got off to a slow start, having trouble connecting passes in the neutral zone and having numerous shots blocked near the Senators net.
However, that would not stop Cleveland from scoring first. Gavin Bayreuther received a pass at the blue line from Tyler Angle who was along the end boards when Bayreuther one-timed the puck it and it deflected off the stick of Gaunce in front and into the net.
One of the lineup changes for the Monsters Friday night was the entry of Billy Sweezey who took the place of Gabriel Carlsson. He stayed busy all game playing great defense, throwing a few hits, and the first shot he took went into the net for his first AHL goal.
About halfway through the second period, a goal with credited to Brett Gallant, who after checking the Senators Erik Brannstrom into the board, had the puck go off his skate as he tried to pass it, and it went into the net.
The third period was the perfect example of an early-season game. Both teams appeared to be physically exhausted. The play wasn’t as sharp on either side of the ice, and each team finished with single-digit shots in the third.
Cleveland would add its fourth goal just 2:23 into the period, as Adam Helewka fed Tyler Sikura in the slot who put the puck in for the score.
The Senators would get a powerplay with 71 seconds left to go in the game with the Monsters fending off the threat as the game ended with a scrum breaking out in the corner of the rink and Gallant being whistled for slashing.
Player of the Game
Jean Francois Berube, goalie
Berube put on a show Friday night in Belleville, coming up with big saves, especially near the end of the third period to preserve the shutout. It helped that the Monsters defense didn’t leave Berube out to dry at all, not allowing any odd-man breaks during the game. Berube stopped all 31 shots he faced, earning him the first star of the game.
Cleveland will have a rematch with the Senators Saturday at 7 pm from the CAA Arena in Belleville, Ontario.
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