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Americans nip Monsters, 4-3, in overtime

Mar. 30—The Monsters scrapped, grabbed, sacrificed their bodies to block shots and gave every ounce of effort on March 31 to beat the Rochester Americans.

It just wasn't enough.

The Monsters and Americans tied 3-3 in regulation. The crowd of 15,140, the largest of the season to watch the Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this season, prepared for a thrilling overtime after what it witnessed in the first 60 minutes. But just 21 seconds into the extra session, Rochester defenseman Jeremy Davies got the puck on his stick in the Cleveland offensive end, skated it up the left side of the ice, and beat goaltender Jet Greaves on the stick side for the winning goal.

"It's disappointing (Rochester) closed one more point if you look at it that way, but our guys played really hard," Coach Trent Vogelhuber said. "That's the way you have to play this time of year. Some games go your way. Some don't, but the competitiveness was ramped up to a 10."

Vogelhuber doesn't usually make that observation after a loss, even a close one. But the Monsters and Americans, each with eight games left in the regular season, are battling for playoff seeding and possibly home-ice advantage if they meet in the AHL North semifinals. The Monsters, second in the division, have a two-point advantage (77-75) over third place Rochester. Syracuse, also with eight games remaining, leads the division with 78 points. The first round of the playoffs is a best-of-five.

"You're getting ready for hopefully some playoffs," Vogelhuber said. "You look at it like it's a Game 1 loss. You get the same team again on Wednesday (in Rochester)."

Cleveland has dropped a season-worst five games in a row.

The Monsters and Americans were tied, 1-1, after one period. Neither team scored in the second. The Monsters took a 3-1 lead with 16:08 left in the third period on goals by Justin Pearson and Trey Fix-Woansky, but they couldn't make it stand. The Americans made it a one-goal game on a 5-on-3 power play and then tied it on Linus Weissbach's second goal of the game with 11:47 remaining.

Vogelhuber did find one fault with his team. The Monsters were outshot, 14-4, in the second period and 13-6 in the second. Davies' game-winner was the only shot on goal by either team in overtime.

"We controlled the play, controlled the play, but I'd like us to be more direct getting pucks to the net," he said.

Greaves (27-12-4-1) stopped 32 of 36 Rochester shots. Americans goalie Dustin Tokarski made 15 saves.