Mitchell Heard scored a third-period power play goal to force overtime, but the Lake Erie Monsters eventually fell to the Grand Rapids Griffins by a 3-2 score in a shootout Saturday night. The two teams were playing the first of back-to-back preseason games at neutral sites. The game was also the first of the 2013 preseason for the Monsters, and took place at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. Heard and Gabriel Beaupre scored the Monsters goals, while Trevor Cheek, Colin Smith, and Duncan Siemens each chipped in assists for Lake Erie.
Beaupre scored the lone goal of the first period on the power play with 33 seconds left in the frame. Cheek assisted on the slap shot from the right point.
Five minutes into the second period, Griffins forward Martin Frk carried the puck up the ice, and from the low part of the left wing circle, slipped a puck low past Monsters goalie Kieran Millan to tie the game at 1-1; the goal would be the only one surrendered by Millan on the evening.
With 9:09 left in the second period, Kent Patterson took over the goaltending duties for the Monsters. Patterson stopped seven shots in the second period, keeping the game tied 1-1 entering the third period.
On an odd-man rush, Griffins forward Marek Tvrdon scored on a shot over the left shoulder of Patterson from the left circle. Tvrdon's goal was unassisted at 3:15 of the third period, giving Grand Rapids a 2-1 lead.
Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans received a five-minute major for interference with 5:20 left in the third period, and the Monsters wasted little time before netting the equalizer. Heard took a Smith pass in front of the net and quickly fired a puck top-shelf to tie the game at 2-2 with 4:01 left in regulation. Smith, as well as Siemens, assisted on Heard's tally, which would force overtime.
After a scoreless overtime, Grand Rapids outscored the Monsters 1-0 in a shootout to secure a 3-2 win. Frk netted the only goal of the shootout.
In 30:51 of game action, Millan stopped 18 of 19 shots in net for the Monsters. Patterson stopped 19 of 20 shots in the game, and four-of-five shooters in the shootout.
The Monsters and Griffins will play Sunday in Windsor, Ontario.