By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com
The NAHL Fresno Monsters headed into Saturday night's game against the Wenatchee Wild hoping to carry the momentum they created with a dramatic, come-from-behind, 4-3 win the night before. Fans were hungry for another big win and those that had shown up earlier in the afternoon had already gotten to enjoy the WSHL Monsters' 8-1 destruction of the Long Beach Bombers. The crowd was primed for another good one, but it turned out to be tough going from the beginning.
To be completely honest, the Monsters looked sloppy in the first period, especially the first ten minutes. Wenatchee scored at 10:48 and, although the Monsters settled down and got a few good chances after that, they trailed 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
Things seemed to be going a little better in the second, but the penalties started to come and that seemed to tilt the ice in Wenatchee's favor. Wenatchee scored 7:54 in, then added another at 10:44. Again, the Monsters tightened it up after that, but they had a big hill to climb in the third if they wanted to get back in the game. Tom Conlin was playing in the Monster net and looked really solid, just like Friday night, but Wenatchee was just getting too many scoring opportunities and second chances at loose pucks in front of his crease. In other words, it wasn't his fault that the team trailed 3-0 after 40 minutes.
Considering how many penalties they had to kill, the Monsters didn't play that bad in the third period. That didn't help with the final outcome, though. Wenatchee was able to add one more goal, making it a 4-0 shutout.
There were a lot of issues you could point to after this loss. Getting outshot 33-15 tells a big part of the story. Racking up 42 penalty minutes to Wenatchee's 16 didn't help either. It seemed as though everything that made Friday night's win great, was lacking on Saturday. I know I've said it a lot this year, but this is a really young team and they have to learn from this kind of stuff. Growing pains like these are inevitable when any team enters a league as solid as the NAHL. As fans, you have to be their to support them through it and enjoy the process of watching the players develop.
The Monsters have the opportunity to make up a lot of ground in the standings in the coming week. They host the the Kenai River Brown Bears for three games (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) at Selland Arena. Kenai sits directly ahead of the Monsters in the NAHL West Division standings. That spot also happens to be the last playoff spot, so to say that it's a big series would be an understatement.
Tickets remain just $3 for balcony seats, so be sure to get down to Selland for all three contests.