Monsters win Outdoor Classic 3-2 over Penguins in OT

Cleveland wins first outdoor hockey home game
Cleveland Monsters
Cleveland Monsters(Cleveland Monsters)
Published: Mar. 4, 2023 at 11:35 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - What was supposed to be a matinee hockey game at FirstEnergy Stadium, turned into a faceoff under the lights instead.

The American Hockey League’s ‘Outdoor Classic’ between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Cleveland Monsters scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon was delayed for five hours due to poor ice conditions.

Players from both teams complained about the ice during pregame warmups. Guys were slipping and falling because of condensation on the ice due to sunshine and blue skies with temperatures in the 40′s at the original start time. Only in Cleveland could a game played in an NFL stadium be delayed due to sunshine and blue skies.

The AHL decides to delay the game until 6 p.m. in order to give the outdoor rink and the ice time to refreeze so no unnecessary in juries would happen.

Once the puck was dropped on the now faceoff under the lights along the shores of Lake Erie, the visiting Penguins took control of the game. Both Penguins goals came in the first period of play by Peter DiLiberatore and Raivis Ansons.

Cleveland did not get on the scoreboard until the final minute of the second period. Justin Richards scored on the power play.

The rest of the night belonged to Marcus Bjork. The Monsters defenseman tied the game at two just over a minute into the third period. The score remained that way at the end of regulation, so the crowd of 22,875 were treated to extra hockey after enduring the five hour delay. Overtime was short lived as Bjork deposited the loose puck into the back of the net just 31 seconds into the extra period to cap the Monsters comeback victory.

Saturday marked the 11th time an AHL game was played outdoors. The Monsters also played outdoors in December 2013 at Frontier Field in Rochester, New York. The Monsters dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Americans.