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Kolander leads WSHL Monsters in return, NAHL team loses to Wenatchee in OT

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By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com

After winning a close 2-1 game in overtime on Friday night, the NAHL Monsters took to the Selland Arena ice again on Saturday in hopes of picking up another two points against the Wenatchee Wild.

Ominously, the Wild scored just 1:35 into the game. The Monsters were able to limit them to that in the first period and the game took a more physical turn. There was a parade in and out of both teams' penalty boxes and it seemed like there was extra carricular activity after just about every whistle.

Zach Wallace got the Monsters back in the game, scoring just 43 seconds into the second period. Wenatchee came right back and re-claimed the lead at 2:22, though. They scored just seconds into a power play at 16:00 to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

Newcomer Peter Mainer picked up his second point of the night when he scored 1:17 into the third period to bring the Monsters back within a goal. Christopher Blessing and Dave Dalbec picked up assists on that play. From there, the third period went back to stalemate status as both teams failed to build much offensive momentum. An ill-timed penalty with less than 2 minutes to play seemed to seal the Monsters' fate, but Zach Wallace did it again. He scored short-handed with the help of Jeff Pauluk and the Monsters had forced overtime once again.

Overtime was back-and-forth, just like the rest of the game. It looked like we might be about to see another shootout, but a breakdown in the neutral zone saw two Wenatchee players get behind the Monster defense. That led to a breakaway that resulted in Wenatchee scoring the game winning goal.

There are a couple of ways to look at the outcome of this game. Some fans will see it as a disappointment, because the Monsters had the chance to win the game in overtime. Others may just be glad that they picked up a point for the OT loss, because with less than a minute left in regulation, it didn't look like they would even get that. Regardless, the Fresno faithful will no doubt be back at Selland Arena next Friday, December 2nd, as the Monsters play host to the Amarillo Bulls at 7:35.

Kolander leads WSHL Monsters to 8-1 win in return

Fresno hockey fans received a big dose of holiday cheer when they saw Rob Kolander in the lineup for the WSHL game on Saturday afternoon. The Michigan native was a part of the first two Monster seasons, but started this year playing junior hockey in Canada before answering the call to come back to his adopted home of Fresno.

The Monsters had embarrassed Cheyenne to the tune of a 12-2 beating on Friday night, so they got some temporary relief when they actually scored the first goal of Saturday's game, just 3:17 into the opening period. Unfortunately for the Stampede, that was the only time they'd light the lamp all day.

Answering for the Monsters was none other than Kolander, who got the tying goal just a few minutes later on a play assisted by Marc Haaf and Nick McKee. That first goal broke the dam and the Monsters continued to pour them into the Cheyenne net for the rest of the game. Kolander added 2 assists to the goal to lead the Monsters with three points. Josiah Nikkel had two goals and Ethan Carlson scored what was eventually the game winner. Haaf, McKee, Gunnar Dircks and Don Coyle all had two points apiece, which is a testament to the balanced attack the Monsters have found of late.

With two fights on top of all the scoring, Saturday's game was certainly one that the fans enjoyed. Fortunately, there's one more chance to see the WSHL team this weekend, as they take Cheyenne on again tomorrow at 10:30 AM at Gateway Ice Center.

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