Despite erasing a three-goal deficit to tie the game in the third period, the Lake Erie Monsters (19-21-0-4) fell to the Charlotte Checkers (22-20-0-1) by a 5-3 score Saturday night before a Quicken Loans Arena crowd of 9,679. Mitchell Heard scored twice and Mark Olver added a goal for the Monsters, while Mike Sgarbossa chipped in with three assists and Guillaume Desbiens had a pair of helpers. The loss snapped the three-game point streak and two-game win streak of the Monsters, who hit the road for a game Wednesday in Grand Rapids.
A night after one Monsters goal was enough for a win, Charlotte opened the scoring with a pair of first period goals. First, Mark Flood's backhand from a sharp angle found its way into the net at 8:44 of the first period. Then, at 16:26 of the first period, Charlotte cleared the puck as a penalty expired, and Zach Boychuck proceeded out of the penalty box and onto a breakaway before scoring on a backhand to give the Checkers a 2-0 lead.
Boychuck gave the Checkers a 3-0 lead when he received a pass and snapped a puck past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard at 11:04 of the second period, before the Monsters began chipping away.
Heard scored the first of his two second period goals when he tapped in the rebound from a Desbiens shot at 12:31 of the second period. The goal was the second of the season for Heard, and was also assisted by Sgarbossa. Later in the second period, Heard added another rebound goal at 18:03 of the second period to pull the Monsters to within 3-2, again with assists from Desbiens and Sgarbossa. Heard's second goal of the game was his third tally of the season.
Similar to Boychuck's first period goal, Olver cruised out of the penalty box and onto a break away just past the third period's midway point. Olver streaked in and scored on Charlotte goalie Cam Ward to tie the game at 3-3 with his 11th goal of the season. Sgarbossa and Karl Stollery assisted on the goal at 11:35 of the third period.
Charlotte scored two goals in 26 seconds between 17:12 and 17:38 of the third period to secure the win; Aaron Palushaj and Boychuck netted the final two Charlotte goals.
Pickard stopped 20 of 25 shots and is now 11-12-3 on the season. Ward, on a conditioning assignment from the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League, stopped 24 of 27 and improved to 1-1-0 in the American Hockey League this season.
The Monsters are on the ice in Grand Rapids to take on the Griffins Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Wednesday's action airs live on ESPN 850 WKNR.
NOTES: Every goal scored in the game was an even-strength tally… Olver's goal gives him two in his last three games… Sgarbossa posted the sixth three-assist game for a Monster this season… The Monsters are 1-1-0-0 against Charlotte this season, and are 4-4-0-0 against the West Division this season… The two-point game was the second multi-point outing for Desbiens this season… The Monsters were 0-3 on the power play, and Charlotte was 0-4 on the man-advantage Saturday night.