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While the Columbus Blue Jackets’ season didn’t go as planned, their AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, made the organization proud on Saturday night by winning the Calder Cup over the Hershey Bears.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, who was named playoff MVP after scoring 10 goals and 16 points in 17 games, was the hero when he broke a 0-0 tie by beating Justin Peters with 1.9 seconds left in the first overtime.
The Monsters completed the sweep in front 19,665 fans, the largest crowd to see a hockey game in the state of Ohio and the second-largest playoff crowd in AHL history, according to the league. They also finished a dominant postseason by winning 15 of 17 games over four rounds.
A source of inspiration throughout their run was Phil Simon, a long-time presence in the Cleveland hockey scene who passed away on Thursday after a battle with cancer and have developed relationships with many of the Monsters players.
“The way this team came together. The selflessness. We got so tight,” Monsters captain Ryan Craig told the Columbus Dispatch. “We knew we had a talented group right from the start, but you don’t know how long it’s going to take to come together. This group committed, and so many guys played a part of this.”
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