In front of a franchise playoff-record 12,935 fans at The Q, Cleveland’s Lake Erie Monsters grabbed a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Hershey Bears in the best-of-seven Calder Cup Finals by virtue of a 3-2 overtime win on Monday night. With the victory, the Monsters are one win away from Cleveland’s first Calder Cup Championship in 52 years and Lake Erie’s first AHL title in team history.
The Bears grabbed a 1-0 lead on Monday thanks to an even-strength Ryan Stanton goal at 2:07 of the opening period before Oliver Bjorkstrand’s eighth marker of the playoffs tied the game at one at 6:44 of the first, thanks to assists from Lukas Sedlak and Brett Gallant.
In the middle stanza, the Monsters scratched across a go-ahead goal on the power-play at 18:13 when Daniel Zaar one-timed his seventh of the postseason past Hershey net-minder Justin Peters on feeds from Dean Kukan and Alex Broadhurst. With time winding down in the period, Dustin Gazley leveled the score at two apiece for Hershey at 19:00 of the second to tie the game at two entering the final frame.
After a scoreless third, the Monsters headed for overtime for the fourth time in the postseason and at 1:20 of the extra frame, Bjorkstrand netted his league-leading fifth game-winning goal of the playoffs at five-on-five thanks to assists from Zach Werenski and Steve Eminger.
Monsters goaltender Anton Forsberg improved to 8-0 in the postseason, by virtue of a 17-save performance while Peters stopped 25 pucks in defeat for the Bears.
Next up for the Monsters, it’s Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday.
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