The I-71 Shift: 2017 Week 3 in Cleveland Monsters Hockey

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 01: Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils and Tyler Motte #64 of the Chicago Blackhawks get into a scuffle in overtime at the United Center on December 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 01: Kyle Quincey #22 of the New Jersey Devils and Tyler Motte #64 of the Chicago Blackhawks get into a scuffle in overtime at the United Center on December 1, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Monsters hosted another California team in a two-game series this week in the Ontario Reign. How did the Monsters fare against the previously winless Reign?

The Cleveland Monsters (2-2-1-0) split their home series last weekend against the San Jose Barracuda. This weekend, the affiliate of the Las Angeles Kings came to town.

The Ontario Reign has struggled early in the season, with a record of 0-5-0-0. They struggle to score consistently and opponents are beating them up by a total final score of 4-15. This should be an easy series for the Monsters.


Cleveland was rocking during the Monsters’ sixth game of the young 2017-2018 season. Tyler Motte scored his second of the year just 1:23 into the game. Carter Camper (1) and Hayden Hodgson (2) were credited with the assists.

Less than five minutes later, forward Justin Scott netted his first of the season. Blue Jackets prospect John Ramage (2) and Brett Gallant (1) assist on the play.

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The game’s first penalty was a cross-checking call against Monsters defenseman Brady Austin. However, it was the Monsters’ Jordan Schroeder (1) who scored the only goal during the minor penalty. Joe Pendenza (1) received the only assist on the play. The first period ended with a 3-0 Monsters lead.

Ontario came out firing in the second, fueled by a goalie swap. Sean Walker and Kevin Gravel both found a way to score and get the Reign within 1. Motte (3) stopped the onslaught with Cleveland’s only second-period goal. Camper (2) and Hodgson (3) both earned their second assists of the game. The period closed with a 4-2 Monsters lead.

Scoring went back and forth in the third after Calvin Thurkauf (2) opened the scoring at 5:19. Paul Bittner and Andre Benoit both got their first points of the season after assisting Thurkauf.

Ontario’s Brett Sutter netted a short-handed goal to bring the Reign back within two, but Thurkauf (3) scored his second of the night to put the Monsters back up by three. The Monsters’ assists were credited to Sam Vigneault and Blake Siebenaler, both their first points of the season.

The Reign kept pushing back. At 17:08, Hodgson went to the box with both boarding and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the Reign pulled their goalie and scored with a 6 on 4 advantage.

The Monsters’ Motte (4) scored his first hat-trick of the season with an unassisted, shorthanded, empty-net goal, and the Monsters won in the Q by a final score of 7-4.

Game 7: Get in the Box

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie prospect Matiss Kivlenieks started his third game of the season, still seeking his first victory. Kivlenieks has played well so far this season, but his teammates seem to have trouble scoring when he is in net.

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After a hooking call, Benoit sat in the box early in the first.  Unfortunately, with only three seconds of penalty kill time remaining, the Reign’s Walker scored his second goal in as many games.

Less than 30 seconds later, Cameron Gaunce tripped an opposing player, and he was caught by a referee.  The Reign took advantage and scored less than 45 seconds later. The first period ended with Ontario leading 0-2.

Some more shenanigans, including Vigneault winning his first professional hockey fight, resulted in a power play for the Monsters. Motte buried his 5th goal of the season late into the power play for a Cleveland Monsters goal. Dean Kukan (2) and Miles Koules (2) both assisted on the play.

The third period saw more penalty minutes for both the Monsters and the Reign, but neither team could capitalize. The Reign won their first game of the season with a score of 1-2.

Week 4 Cleveland Monsters Preview

The Cleveland Monsters begin the week with a 3-3-1-0 record. Much like their parent club, the Monsters seem to be having trouble winning both games in back-to-back scenarios.  Unlike the NHL, the AHL has many more of these games.  If the Monsters hope to make a return to the Calder Cup Playoffs, they will need to win more of these back-to-back series.

As expected, after the injury to Cam Atkinson, Tyler Motte has been recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Motte was the top the scorer on the Monsters roster with 7 total points, and he has plenty of games to play in the NHL before he needs to clear waivers to be sent back up I-71 to Cleveland.

Next: The I-71 Shift: 2017 Week Two in Cleveland Monsters Hockey

This will be an early three-game week for the Monsters.  Tuesday, Cleveland will host the Rockford IceHogs (7-2-0-0) in their last home game until November 16.  Friday and Saturday, they go to the desert to play the 5-1-1-0 Tuscon Road Runners (as of October 30th).