Four unanswered goals to open the scoring carried the Lake Erie Monsters (10-7-1-1) to a 4-1 road victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs (6-8-1-1).
The win snaps a five-game winless streak for the Monsters, who received goals from four different scorers in the game. Rookie goalie Sami Aittokallio, the game's top star, set a career high with 42 saves in his fifth victory of the season in net for the Monsters.
David van der Gulik opened the scoring when he sent a puck from the right circle low to beat former Monsters goalie Cedrick Desjardins at 5:22 of the first period, with assists going to Bill Thomas and Karl Stollery. The goal was the third of the season for van der Gulik.
Thomas added to the Monsters lead, making the score 2-0, when he took a long outlet pass from Sean Sullivan, moved on the net from the right side, and faked Desjardins with a nice series of moves to net his fourth goal of the season at the 14:24 mark of the opening period.
In the second period, Patrick Bordeleau's first goal of the season gave the Monsters a 3-0 lead at 3:40 of the middle frame when he snapped a puck to the far side of the net, beating Desjardins from the left circle. Mitchell Heard and Mark Olver assisted on the goal.
Olver's second goal of the season came on a shot from the left circle; Olver quickly sent a wrister high-glove side to beat Desjardins, ending the goaltender's evening. Olver's goal at 10:28 was assisted by Thomas Pock.
Desjardins was relieved by Robert Mayer after allowing four goals on 14 shots in 30:28 of action.
Hamilton's Aaron Palushaj scored to put the Bulldogs on the board with just over two minutes remaining in the second period, as he received a back-door pass from Gabriel Dumont and fired the puck past Aittokallio's glove, cutting the Monsters lead to 4-1.
Aittokallio stopped 42 of 43 shots for the Monsters, and improves to 5-4-0. Desjardins takes the loss for Hamilton; he is now 2-1-0. Robert Mayer stopped 13 of 13 shots for Hamilton in a relief appearance.
The Monsters return to the ice at Quicken Loans Arena next weekend when they host San Antonio on Friday and Saturday.
NOTES: The Monsters are 5-1-0-0 when Bill Thomas picks up a point, and 3-1-0-0 when he scores a goal... Thomas Pock gathered an assist for the third time in four games; the team is 7-4-0-0 when Pock gets a point... Karl Stollery's first period assist gives him four assists over his last four contests... The Monsters are now 9-8-0-0 over the last five seasons in Hamilton... The Monsters improve to 8-4-0-0 on the road this season... Mitchell Heard's fighting major in the second period was his fifth major penalty of the season.