CLEVELAND - Registering a season-high for goals in a game, the Lake Erie Monsters (25-20-2-6) topped the Milwaukee Admirals (23-21-3-3) 7-1 Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena to snap an eight-game winless skid and start an eight-game home stand on a high note. David van der Gulik and Bill Thomas led the way with four points each for the Monsters, while the team had three power play goals in the game. Calvin Pickard picked up his 14 th win in net, stopping 22 of 23 shots.
Thomas opened the scoring with his team-leading 18 th goal of the season on a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle, with assists to van der Gulik and Daniel Maggio, at 15:24 of the first period to give the Monsters their first lead of the game; a lead that stretched to 2-0 when Harrison Reed netted a snap-shot from the top of the right circle at 17:58 of the first. Reed’s goal was his first American Hockey League goal this season, and was assisted by Tyler McNeely and van der Gulik.
Just 1:42 into the second period, van der Gulik won a race to a puck and tapped in a rebound to give the Monsters a 3-0 lead, with assists to Thomas and Cameron Gaunce.
Milwaukee’s Juuso Puustinen scored on a one-timer off the crossbar from the top of the right circle at 6:51 of the second period to pull Milwaukee to within a pair of goals, but that’s as close as the Admirals would get to the Monsters. Under a minute later at 7:34 of the second period, Luke Walker took a pass in the right circle and sent a wrister off the crossbar and past Admirals goalie Jeremy Smith for his sixth goal of the season- assisted by Paul Carey and Karl Stollery- to give the Monsters a 4-1 lead after two periods.
Three unanswered third period goals put the game out of reach, beginning with van der Gulik tapping in a loose puck at the top of the Milwaukee goal crease for his second of the game and 14 th goal of the season, a power play tally assisted by Thomas and Andrew Agozzino.
At 13:00 of the third period, again with the Monsters on the power play, Thomas Pock wound up and sent a laser of a slapshot through traffic from the center-point to beat Smith, with assists going to Thomas and Markus Lauridsen.
Brad Malone finished off the scoring, giving the Monsters a 7-1 lead on a one-timer from the right circle on the power play- his 10 th goal of the season- with 4:03 remaining in the game. Carey and Walker assisted on the Monsters final goal of the evening.
Pickard stopped 22 of 23 shots in net for the Monsters to improve to 14-11-4. Smith allowed seven goals on 39 shots and is now 15-18-1.
The Monsters will finish their three-in-three weekend with home games against the Texas Stars Friday and Saturday nights, with each game beginning at 7:30 PM.
NOTES: van der Gulik’s four points tie his own Monsters season-best; he also had a four-point night on 12/19/12 vs. Toronto… With two goals, van der Gulik had the 11 th two-goal performance of the season for the Monsters, who have yet to have a player register a hat trick this season… With two goals, van der Gulik now has 41 goals in a Monsters uniform, placing him second in team history behind Ryan Stoa, who scored 55 goals in a Monsters jersey… With two assists, van der Gulik is now in sole-possession of third on the Monsters all-time assists list with 53, behind T.J. Hensick (92) and Stoa (54)… Bill Thomas’ three assists tied him with van der Gulik’s previous season-best, a three-assist performance on 12/19/12 vs. Toronto… Paul Carey’s four-game goal streak, the longest in the AHL entering Thursday, came to an end, but the rookie forward picked up a pair of assists; his third two-assist game of the season… The Monsters were 3-4 on the power play; the three power play goals tie their 3-4 performance on the man-advantage from 10/20/12 (5-3 W @ OKC) for their highest power play goal output of the season… The Monsters were a perfect 3-3 on the penalty kill, and they are now 14-6-0-3 when perfect on the penalty kill.
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