By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com
After taking a relatively short road trip up to Dawson Creek, British Columbia the previous weekend, the NAHL Fresno Monsters kicked off a 2-game home series against the Wenatchee Wild at Selland Arena on Thursday night. With the playoffs drawing ever closer, every potential point has become crucial and the Monsters were hoping to start the weekend off in a good way.
Wenatchee has been a tough opponent for the Monsters all year and unfortunately, that didn't change on Thursday. The Monsters held the Wild at bay for a while, but they scored 10:17 into the first period to take the game's first lead. The goal came on a rush, where Wenatchee capitalized on speed coming into the zone and a one-timer right in the slot.
The Monsters didn't fair any better in the second period. It wasn't too bad, except for a 77 second sretch where Wenatchee scored twice. The first came at 12:18 on a scramble in front of the net. The Monsters couldn't clear the crease and paid for it. The second came from in close at 13:35 and the Monsters found themselves trailing 3-0 going into the second intermission. Even more telling, perhaps, was the fact that they were outshot 11-26 in the first 40 minutes of play.
It only got worse in the third period. Wenatchee added three more goals, while the Monsters were unable to put a single puck in the net. In addition to the score, the Monsters were frustrated even further by penalties and played much of the final twenty minutes short-handed. In terms of analysis, there's not a whole lot to say about this one. The Monsters got out-skated and out-played all night and continued to leave Wild players open in scoring positions. Despite surrendering six goals, Louie Puig actually played fairly well in net for the Monsters. He made a lot of good saves, but just didn't get much help, especially right in front.
As you might expect, the coaching staff was pretty frustrated after the game. "This is one of those games that you just have to forget about and come back tomorrow night," Assistant Coach, Mike Perkins said. "There's not a lot to say, but we just have to come back with a strong effort tomorrow."
Tomorrow it is. The NAHL Monsters will host Wenatchee for the second and final game of the week Friday at 7:35 at Selland Arena.