By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com
Both Fresno Monster squads were back in action at Selland Arena on Friday to open new home series with foes from their respective leagues. The NAHL team welcomed the Amarillo Bulls to town for the very first time, but were hoping to keep the hospitality to a minimum. The top priority was earning some important points to bolster their position in the standings.
The first period didn't solve anything as far as the scoreboard went. Neither team was able to find the back of the net, but it was pretty closely played. Amarillo out-shot the Monsters 10-7. There was a scary incident as an Amarillo player went down against the boards right as the period ended. He stayed there for several minutes while receiving medical attention, but eventually got up and was helped off the ice, fully conscious.
Petr Mainer got the Monsters going with a power play goal at 9:07 in the second period. Jeff Pauluk pinched from the blue line and carried the puck in deep on the left side of the ice. He hit Mainer with a long cross-ice pass to set the play up. Literally one second later, Brett Blomgren fought one of the Amarillo players. The Bulls bounced back and evened the score at 11:25 and that's the way it stayed for the rest of the period.
Amarillo took their first lead of the game with a goal 6:15 into the third period. The Monsters battled, but just couldn't put one in. It was starting to look like a wrap, but Mainer buried his second of the night (assists went to Christopher Blessing and Zach Wallace) at 18:41 to tie the game and keep the Monsters alive.
The Monsters had a couple of great chances in the first minute or so of the overtime, but they came up just short. Tomas Sholl made a couple of key saves in the Monster net to keep it even as well. As neither team could score in the five minutes, the game went to a shoot-out.
Sholl did an amazing job in the shoot-out. He stopped all but one of Amarillo's first five shooters. Blessing was the only one of the first five Monsters to score, though, so it went to extra shooters. Sholl stopped the sixth and seventh shooters for the Bulls, then none other than Kyle Sucher stepped up and ripped one poast their goalie to give the Monsters a huge win and send the crowd into a frenzy. If you don't remember, Sucher was the guy who, as the ninth shooter, won the home opener for the Monsters just over a month ago.
Needless to say, the win was a huge lift for the Monsters as well as their fans. The NAHL team will play Amarillo again at 7:35 PM on Saturday.
WSHL Monsters blow out Valencia
The Monsters' WSHL team continued its dominant season with a very convincing win over the Valencia Flyers. The final score was 8-2 in favor of the home team, but there were some very solid performances to note. Kyle Godfrey had a hat trick (3 goals) and added an assist as well. Gunner White had a goal and 2 assists, while Ethan Carlson put two goals in. Rob Kolander and Marc Haaf also scored for the Monsters.
Head Coach, Bryce Dale, commented on the balance of scoring and the fact that fans are seeing different names in the box score at every game. "It's great to see guys that are working hard in practice be rewarded with success," he said. "Gunner White, Kyle Godfrey and Josiah Nikkel are seeing success because of the work ethic they display day in and day out."
Marcus Harbison was in net and made 23 saves, making sure that the Monsters were never in any real danger. Valencia will get another crack at it at 3:30 PM on Saturday at Selland Arena.