By Eddie Graveline, Glovedropper.com
Friday night marked the first time that the Texas Tornado visited the NAHL Monsters at Selland Arena. The meeting resulted in a very close, hard fought game that the Monsters eventually lost in a shootout.
From the opening face-off, Texas set the tone of the game with an extremely physical, aggressive style of play. It seemed to catch the Monsters off guard a bit, but they adjusted and answered by upping their own physicality. Despite getting out-shot 13-8 in the opening 20 minutes, Jordan Haskell put the Monsters up 1-0, scoring just 37 seconds before the end of the period.
Haskell helped the Monsters stretch their lead early in the second period. He didn't score, but he skated to the side of the net with the puck, patiently waited for the right moment and hit a wide open Jeff McMinimy with a perfect pass that he buried. Texas got on the board at 19:53, but the Monsters still led going into the second intermission.
The momentum started swinging back Texas' way in the third period. The Monsters had to kill some penalties and Texas was getting chances. They got a bit of a break when they scored at 14:58. Monster goalie, Tomas Sholl was screened by his own teammate who was trying to block the shot. The puck squirted through before he really even realized it was there. That goal proved to be the last in regulation, so the game went into overtime.
The Monsters looked great in overtime and really dominated the five minutes. They weren't able to convert any of their chances, though, so it ended up in a shoot-out. None of the Monsters' five shooters were able to score. Tomas Sholl was really good in the Monsters' end, but he couldn't stop the shot that former Monster, Jordan Lovick, took.
"I thought both teams were a little lethargic on both sides of the puck, tonight," Head Coach Eric Ballard observed afterward. "It wasn't a real intense game, but nonetheless, we kind of slugged it out. Obviously, it's hard when you go into overtime or a shoot-out. It's not always the best team that wins, but sometimes the one that gets a bounce or a shoot-out goal."
All four of the NAHL team's home games this season have gone to overtime. The Monsters will be playing Texas again tomorrow night, which should be interesting, to say the least.
Depleted WSHL squad routes Phoenix
Even with line-up regulars Justin Plate (injury), Stanton Turner (playing with NAHL team this weekend) and Don Coyle (suspension) missing in action, the WSHL Monsters managed to earn a dominant win over the Phoenix Knights to open up a 3-game home series.
Phoenix actually scored the first goal of the game in the first period. Little did they know that would be the only time they lit the lamp all night. Jason Beisinger and Nick McKee both scored to give the Monsters a 2-1 lead going into the locker room for the first intermission.
The second period was scoreless, as both teams had a difficult time developing any lasting momentum. The Monsters were getting shots, but nothing was getting past the Knights' netminder.
They cracked that piggy bank open in the third period, though, and the goals came in bunches. Beisinger put two more in for a hat trick, plus an assist on McKee's goal. Chris Benoit earned his first points as a Monster and Chris Clark and Ethan Carlson also scored.
The Monsters dominated play for most of the game, as evidenced by a 50-27 advantage in shots on goal. Overall, it was a great game for the Monsters, who to a man, did not let up a single bit as the game wore on. They stayed in it to the very end and if the score was any indication, it could be a long weekend for Phoenix, who comes back to play at 3:30 on Saturday.