Our story starts in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs. It is the Lake Erie Monsters vs. the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Monsters took the first three games of the series. Each of the Monsters' wins were by one goal, so they were all close games. Grand Rapids won Game 4, 5-4, and whipped the Monsters 6-1 in Game 5. The Monsters were losing momentum in the series, and giving up many, many goals.
Game 6 had that familiar feel as well, after the first period the Monster found themselves down 2-1. A quick goal to open the second period by the Griffins, made it a 3-1 hole. It was at this point that Korpisalo was pulled and Forsberg was given the net. This is important to note because sometimes a change in goalie provides a spark for a hockey team.
Well the spark quickly turned into a flame because at the 5:51 mark into the second period, Kerby Rychel fought Mitch Callahan:
What seems like a minor part of the hockey game, changed the course of the game for the Monsters as well as the playoffs. Not even three minutes later, Chaput scored his second goal of the playoffs to make it 3-2. The comeback was on.
The Monsters opened the third period with a quick goal from Sedlak, just 1:43 had vanished from the clock. Werenski and Anderson had the assists. The goal knotted the game at three. Neither team could score in the rest of regulation so the game went into a sudden death overtime!
Lightning struck at the 12:32 mark of overtime when defenseman Zach Werenski cut to the front of the net and scored the game winning goal! A talented defenseman, known for jumping into the play at the right time, completed the comeback. The Monsters took the game (4-3 OT) and series (4-2).
|Western Conference Champions|
The Monsters faced the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference Finals, and the Monsters carried the momentum. They swept the Reign, winning the first two in Cali, and the last two at home. The series was capped by a double overtime thriller where Sedlak got the goal to send the Monsters to the Calder Cup Final.
The Monsters squared off with the Hershey Bears in a seven game series for the Calder Cup. It was more of the same, just like the series against the Reign, the Monsters swept the Bears for the Calder Cup. The series was capped by another overtime thiller, this time it was Bjorkstrand with the game winning goal. It was the first Calder Cup for Cleveland since 1964.
|The Monsters With the Cup!|
Now you can argue that fighting does not matter. You can argue it just causes injuries and problems later in life. This fight, Rychel vs. Callahan, changed the game and the series. Dare I say it refocused the Monsters because they played great hockey in the games/periods after the fight. Since the fight, they still have not lost a game 9-0, and oh yeah, they have the Calder Cup!