Calvin Pickard's 33-save shutout and Paul Carey's goal were the difference-makers for the Lake Erie Monsters (19-20-0-4), who topped the Charlotte Checkers (21-20-0-1) 1-0 before a crowd of 9,215 Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The shutout was Pickard's seventh in a Monsters uniform, which ties him for second on the franchise's all-time list. The Monsters and Checkers meet again Saturday at 7:00 PM in Downtown Cleveland.
The Monsters struck first when Joey Hishon led a puck into the offensive zone for Brad Malone, who took the puck through the left circle and spotted Carey in front of the net. Carey quickly snapped Malone's pass into the Charlotte net to give the Monsters a 1-0 lead. The goal was scored at 15:05 of the first period, and was the seventh of the season for Carey.
The 1-0 lead held for the rest of the game, as Pickard remained perfect. Pickard's most challenging period was a 16-save third period. The Monsters penalty killers also achieved perfection Friday night, killing off all six Charlotte power plays. Charlotte entered Friday's action with the American Hockey League's second-ranked power play.
Pickard is 11-11-3 after the victory. Charlotte goalie Cam Ward, currently on a conditioning assignment from the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, is 0-1-0 in the AHL this season after stopping 35 of 36 shots in the loss. Ward's career highlights include backstopping the Hurricanes to a 2006 Stanley Cup win; a season in which he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Monsters and Checkers hit the ice Saturday for a rematch at Quicken Loans Arena at 7:00 PM.
NOTES: Pickard's shutout was his second of the season and third for a Monsters goalie this season… Pickard is third on the Monsters all-time charts in both wins (32) and games played in net (76)… Paul Carey is now tied with Mark Olver for fifth all-time with six game-winning goals in a Monsters uniform… The Monsters are 3-4-0-0 against the West Division this season, and finish January with a 4-8-0-1 record… The Monsters were 0-8 on the power play, and 6-6 on the penalty kill.