CLEVELAND - Calvin Pickard stopped 21 shots and four different goal scorers chipped in, as the Lake Erie Monsters (5-5-0-0) topped the Utica Comets (0-8-1-1) by a 4-0 score Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Colin Smith and Trevor Cheek scored their first professional goals in the win, while David van der Gulik and Andrew Agozzino scored power play goals for the Monsters. Bryan Lerg and Mark Olver turned in two-assist performances for the Monsters in their first-ever meeting against Utica. The two teams conclude their two-game set at The Q Friday night, with game time set for 7:30 PM.
Tyson Barrie, in his first game of the season for the Monsters, led the rush that helped the Monsters score the game's first goal and eventual game-winner. Barrie connected on a pass to Bryan Lerg in the left circle, and Lerg spotted a trailing Colin Smith in the slot. Smith sent a wrist shot past Joacim Eriksson for his first professional goal at 6:22 of the first period.
The Monsters added their second goal of the game at 14:09 of the second period when Paul Carey noticed David van der Gulik at the side of the net, and van der Gulik quickly slipped a puck over the goal line. The power play goal, which gave the Monsters a 2-0 lead, was the second power play goal in as many games for van der Gulik, and was assisted by Carey and Mark Olver.
Trevor Cheek forced a turnover deep in the Utica zone, pulled the puck to the side of the net, and scored at 5:27 of the third period to give the Monsters a 3-0 lead. The unassisted goal was his first goal of the season, and first as a professional. Andrew Agozzino added an insurance power play goal at 10:01 of the third period, batting an airborne puck into the Utica net to take a 4-0 lead for the Monsters. Olver and Lerg assisted on Agozzino's second goal of the season.
Pickard stopped all 21 shots he saw, including 10 in the third period, to improve to 3-3-0-0 and earn his first shutout of the season. Eriksson is 0-6-1 in net for Utica; he stopped 38 of 42 Monsters shots.
The Monsters and Comets meet again Friday in Cleveland at 7:30 PM, before the Monsters head on the road for a 3:00 PM game on Monday afternoon in Rochester.
NOTES: Tyson Barrie played his first game of the season for the Monsters, picking up an assist; the defenseman has appeared in five NHL games for Colorado this season, picking up an assist… Bryan Lerg's two assists give him 11 points on the season in 10 games; the highest point total on the team to this point… Mark Olver's two assists give him 10 points in 10 games this season… Gabe Beaupre returned to the Monsters lineup after missing the last five games… The Monsters have at least one power play goal in nine of 10 games this season after going 2-5 on the power play tonight… The Monsters were 5-5 on the penalty kill.