Long Beach Bombers @ Fresno Monsters
Fresno 4, Long Beach 3 – Thursday’s game at Selland Arena in Fresno between the top two teams in the Western Division was tied 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 and could not be decided in overtime. Fresno’s Tyler Matthews made 59 saves as the Monsters knocked off the first-place Long Beach Bombers, 4-3, in a shootout.
Diego Gluck’s second goal of the game came mid-way through the third period and gave the Bombers a 3-2 lead but the Monsters came up with the tying goal for the third time in the game.
After a period of sustained pressure by the Monsters, the Bombers managed to clear the zone and Gluck skated down on a Fresno defender one-on-one. He made a slick individual move, gently putting the puck around the left side of the checker, slipping around him to the right, then picking the puck up and beating Mathews with a quick move to his backhand.
Fresno’s Jarred Hicks dropped the gloves with Will Daigneault on the ensuing faceoff in an effort to spark the team and it worked. Just :38 after Gluck’s go-ahead tally, Petr Philippov knotted the game again.
Logan Domagala skated the puck out of the Fresno end, all the way through the neutral zone and into the Long Beach end at the left boards. He managed to get the puck to Stanislav Danaev who hed onto it as Philippov skated into a good spot, then hit him with a backhand pass. Philippov buried a 25-foot wrist shot to tie the game for the third time.
Long Beach out-shot Fresno, 4-3, in the scoreless overtime period despite the Monsters having a power play. The game then proceeded to a shootout.
Mathews and Domenic Bosetti of the Bombers combined to deny the first 14 shooters.
But, in the eighth round, Martin Dlugolinsky scored for Fresno.
With the Bombers needed a goal to extend the shootout, Gennady Malashenko made the best move yet, a quick backhand-forehand deke, but Mathews stretched out his right pad to make the save and secure a huge point in the standings for the Monsters.
Bosetti made 26 saves in the game for Long Beach.
Valencia Flyers @ Fresno Monsters
Fresno took all six points from Valencia, but the Flyers made them work for it both nights, forcing the Monsters to mount a comeback for both wins.
Fresno 6, Valencia 3 – The Valencia Flyers held a 3-2 lead in the second period, but Fresno rallied for a 6-3 win as six different Monsters scored.
Jakub Kasanicky’s goal at 5:19 of the second period gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead, but the Monsters scored two times in the next 37 seconds to regain the lead.
Kasanicky was behind the Fresno defense on a late change and Dylan San Augustin was able to hit him with a long stretch pass to send him in alone on Fresno goalie Max Karlenzig (19 saves) for the go-ahead goal.
It only took :21 for the Monsters to respond. Martin Dlugolinsky chipped the puck past a Flyers defenseman along the right wall at the center red line then came across the Valencia blue line with speed before turning across the slot. He fanned on a shot but it froze the Valencia defense and he was able to continue to a wider angle and wrist the puck home past Flyers goalie Mack Willy (27 saves).
Fresno controlled the puck off the ensuing faceoff and forced a faceoff to the left of Willy. The Monsters won the draw and the puck went back to Logan Domagala at the point. He wristed a shot on net and Jonathan Holguin, planted in front of Willy, tipped it on the way through.
It remained 4-3 Fresno until the third period where Rory Scott and Stanislav Danaev scored insurance goals for the Monsters.
Danylo Moroz maintained the hot hand for Valencia, scoring twice in the game.
Fresno 5, Valencia 4 – Valencia held the lead in the third period Saturday, with a 4-2 advantage, but the Monsters came back again, tying the game, then winning it in overtime on a Jarred Hicks goal.
There was a faceoff in the Valencia end with 1:33 left in the sudden-death period. Fresno’s Jeremy Velazquez lost control of the puck high in the zone and had to retreat into the neutral zone, but quickly curled back into the Fresno zone as soon as Hicks cleared the zone. Velazquez broke down the wing, drawing the lone Flyers defender, then dishing a pass back to the middle of the ice where Hicks had returned and snapped the puck past Valencia netminder Mack Willy (30 saves).
Velazquez assisted on three goals, including the game-winner.
Mathews entered the game in the second period in relief of starter Max Karlenzig (12 saves) and stopped all 13 Flyers shots in the third period to backstop the comeback.