By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com
After losing a close game on Friday night, the NAHL Fresno Monsters returned to Selland Arena on Saturday evening to host the Alaska Avalanche for a second time. Games against division opponents are always meaningul, but the Monsters were extra motivated to get the two points they lost on Friday right back.
It's often said that the first goal is the most important in a hockey game. If so, the Monsters were in good shape early, as they got a couple of power play goals in the opening 20 minutes. Kyle Sucher put the first one in from the high slot at 5:46. Jesse Durfee got the next one at 11:26 from almost the same spot on the ice. The Monsters were outshot 6-4 in the first period, but held the Avalanche scoreless as they went into the locker room.
There was no scoring in the second period, although both teams had their chances. Both had some power play opportunities, but couldn't convert. The Monsters took the shots advantage back and led 16-10 after the second period, proof that they were holding the momentum, even if it didn't result in any additional goals.
The game tightened up considerably when Alaska scored 4:33 into the third period. It was one of those weird goals where they got a good bounce. One of the Alaska players took a wrist shot from the point and it weaved its way through traffic, deflected off of something and got into the net. The game settled down a little bit, but both teams were taking penalties. At 16:42, Alaska evened the score on a power play, tieing the game with less then 4 minutes left to play. The score remained tied until the end of regulation, so like so many times already this season, the game went into overtime.
The Monsters looked tough playing 4-on-4 in overtime, but weren't able to put one in, so we went to a shootout. Mac Haight stopped Alaska's first shooter, but surrendered a goal to the second one, but the Monsters got it right back. Haight stopped the next two, but the fifth Avalanche skater scored. The Monsters couldn't get another one and lost the shootout. They still picked up a point, but Alaska ended up taking 4 out of the weekend.
Both the WSHL and NAHL Monster teams will be back in action next weekend, starting with a double-header on Friday, November 25th. The WSHL team will skate against the Cheyenne Stamepede for the first time ever. Following that game, the NAHL team will host another division rival, the Wenatchee Wild, at 7:35.