Two second-period goals and 39 saves from Gerald Coleman led the Lake Erie Monsters (24-22-2-2) to a 2-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch (19-22-4-3) Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Monsters are unbeaten in regulation in their last six games; a streak that ties a season high, set between November 10th and November 26th, 2011. The team has won three straight and five of their last six. Coleman's win in net was his third straight; a feat no Monsters goalie had previously accomplished this season.
Following a scoreless first period, the Monsters needed just 1:25 in the second period to strike first. Ryan Stoa received a pass in the right circle from Danny Richmond, and Stoa, the Monsters all-time goals leader, fired a wrist shot that beat Syracuse goalie Antero Niittymaki. Dean Strong also gathered an assist on the goal, Stoa's 10th of the season.
At 10:37 of the second period, Patrick Rissmiller received a pass from Greg Mauldin off the rush in front of the Syracuse net, and sent a puck into the top corner of the goal behind Niittymaki to extend the Monsters lead to 2-0 with another even-strength tally. The goal was the sixth of the season for Rissmiller.
With Syracuse on a five minute power play in the third period due to a boarding major called against Justin Mercier, the Crunch cut the Monsters lead in half at the 7:33 mark. Peter Holland found a rolling puck behind Coleman, and tapped it over the goal line.
That would be the only Syracuse goal, as the Monsters would hold on for the 2-1 victory.
Coleman stopped 39 of 40 shots, and is now 7-2-1 in 10 starts in net for the Monsters. Niittymaki is 0-2-0 on his current conditioning assignment from the San Jose Sharks; he stopped 17 of 19 shots.
Next up for the Monsters: their first meeting this season with the Texas Stars. The puck drops Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena at 10:45 AM.
NOTES: Richmond has at least a point in all five games he has played since joining the Monsters… Rissmiller has the game-winning tallies in each of the Monsters last two games; he scored the game-winner with 2:18 remaining in the third period of Friday night's 3-2 win in Peoria… Coleman's eight straight starts in net is the longest such streak for a Monsters goalie this season; Trevor Cann started seven straight games in net from 12/29 to 1/14… The Monsters are 13-4-0-0 when Stoa scores a point; he now has 49 goals and sits atop the Monsters all-time list… The Monsters finish the four-game season series against Syracuse with a 2-1-1-0 record.