Fresno Monsters @ Long Beach Bombers
The series between the Fresno Monsters and Long Beach Bombers at The Rinks, Lakewood showed two things – that the parity in the Western Division is maybe at its best point ever, and that the Long Beach Bombers still deserve the top spot. The Bombers won two of three games to maintain their top spot in the division over the second-place Monsters, extending their lead atop the standings to 11 points.
Long Beach 5, Fresno 2 – Five different Bombers scored and Domenic Bosetti stopped 35 of 37 shots as Long Beach kicked off the week with a 5-2 home win over the Fresno Monsters on Thursday.
Fresno out-shot Long Beach, 15-10, in the first period but Bosetti stopped everything and Joseph Wheeler and Erik Sillerstrom scored in the final 4:07 of the period to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead.
Petr Philoppov put the Monsters on the board at 7:08 of the second period, but Diego Gluck restored the Bombers’ three-goal lead 2:19 later.
Filip Nordin assisted on three of the five Long Beach goals and Fresno’s Tyler Mathews made 32 saves.
Fresno 4, Long Beach 2 – The Monsters had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on Friday, but each time the Bombers tied it up. Long Beach was unable to tie the game a third time, however, and Fresno evened the series at a game apiece with an impressive 4-2 road win over the division leaders.
Zack Turpin put Fresno on the board 20 seconds after the opening faceoff. Gustaf Wranghede cycled the puck to Cole Beckman below the goal line to the right of the Long Beach goal and he hit Turpin with a sharp centering pass that he banged home to make it 1-0 Fresno.
As time expired at the end of the second period, the Bombers knotted the game, 2-2. With Long Beach on the power play, Fresno’s Max Karlenzig made a nice glove save and held on to set up a faceoff in the Fresno end with :04 left.
The Bombers won the faceoff and the puck came back to Maxwell Kahn at the point. His hard, low shot was stopped but, in the ensuing scramble for the rebound, Eric Lovestrand popped it into the net at the buzzer.
Turpin’s second goal of the game, 4:15 into the third period, gave Fresno their third lead of the game and this time they made it stand up.
Wranghede again got the puck to Beckman, this time square in front of the Long Beach net. Two Bomber defensemen quickly converged on Beckman, but he slipped the puck over to Turpin at the side of the crease and he popped it past a sprawling Matthew Genter (21 saves) to give the Monsters their third lead of the game.
Deakan Fielder sealed the win for the Monsters by backhanding the puck into the empty net from inside his own blue line in the final minute of play.
Karlenzig (34 saves) stopped all nine Bombers shots in the third period, preventing their comeback.
Long Beach 5, Fresno 3 – Three goals in a span of 5:51 in the second period gave the Bombers a 3-0 lead and they held on to defeat Fresno, 5-3, on Saturday.
The two division rivals played through a scoreless first period, but the Bombers got to work early in the second, with Tomas Urbanec scoring two of the three quick goals.
The Monsters went back to Karlenzig in net and he played well again, making 39 saves, but the Long Beach offense prevailed. Wheeler scored the game-winning goal and picked up a pair of assists.
Ty Wright got the Monsters on the board 3:54 into the third period, and Fresno rallied to within a goal, but Bosetti (24 saves) and the Bombers ran out the clock.