Finding themselves down 5-0 after the second period, the Lake Erie Monsters scored twice in the first four minutes of the third, but were unable to make up for the early deficit. Bryan Lerg scored his team-leading third goal of the season in just the fourth game of the campaign, but the Monsters (1-3-0-0) fell short by a 5-2 score against the Rockford IceHogs (2-1-0-0) Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena. Paul Carey also added a goal for the Monsters, while rookie defenseman Lee Moffie posted a pair of assists in the third period. The Monsters and IceHogs will meet again Saturday night (7:00 p.m.) at The Q.
Rockford stormed out of the gate with three even-strength goals in the opening period. Just 88 seconds into the game, Adam Clendening scored on a high shot through traffic from the right point that beat Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard. Just under three minutes later, Brad Mills took a Brandon Pirri pass out of the corner, and from the front of the net, Mills fired the puck past Pickard to give Rockford a 2-0 lead.
The final goal of the third period came on a rebound at 7:48 of the frame. Rockford's Drew LeBlanc found a rebound in front of the net, and LeBlanc tapped the puck over the goal line after a diving effort to give the IceHogs a 3-0 lead after one period.
Rockford's special teams struck at 15:14 of the second period when Viktor Svedberg scored on a slapshot from the point. His power play goal gave the IceHogs a 4-0 lead, before LeBlanc scored on a low shot from the slot at 17:43. After LeBlanc's second goal of the game, which gave Rockford a 5-0 lead, Sami Aittokallio relieved Pickard in net. Pickard faced 24 shots in 37:43 of game time.
Carey settled down a bouncing puck on a rush into the offensive zone early in the third period, made a move around a defender, cut to the net and released a shot that beat Rockford goalie Antti Raanta top-shelf at 2:02 of the frame. The goal was the first of the season for Carey, and was assisted by Mark Olver and Moffie.
The Monsters cut Rockford's lead to three goals when Moffie sent a puck to the front of the net that was settled by Lerg, who faked to his backhand and flipped the puck over the left pad of Raanta to make the score 5-2. Moffie and Andrew Agozzino assisted on Lerg's third goal of the season.
Pickard suffered the loss in net and is now 1-2-0, stopping 19 of 24 shots in 37:43 of game time. Aittokallio stopped eight of eight shots in 22:17. Raanta is 1-0-0 for Rockford after the win; he stopped 20 of 22 shots.
NOTES: Lerg has three goals and four points in four games to start the season… Mark Olver has a goal and two assists for three points in four games to start the season after his assist Friday… Pickard made his third straight start in net for the Monsters… Moffie's two assists were the first two assists and first two points of his professional career; he spent the last four years playing collegiately at the University of Michigan… Guillaume Desbiens was assessed 15 minutes in penalties for the Monsters; the highest single-game total for a Monsters player so far this season; Desbiens leads the team with 26 minutes through four games… The Monsters were 0-4 on the power play, marking the first game of the season in which the Monsters did not score a power play goal… The Monsters were 4-5 on the penalty kill.