Monsters hit snooze button in 5-1 loss to Rocket

Apr. 13—The Monsters' modest — make that very modest — winning streak has ended, but the good news is reinforcements will soon be on the way.

The Laval Rocket downed the Monsters, 5-1, on April 13 in the final regular-season game for the boys in blue at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The loss in front of 14,234 fans ended a two-game winning streak (after seven straight losses) and kept the Monsters in third place in the AHL North with three games remaining, all on the road.

Pavel Cajan was in goal for the Monsters because their primary netminder, Jet Greaves, was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 31.

The way the defense abandoned Cajan the Monsters could have had NHL Hall of Famers Gerry Cheevers, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek all in net and the outcome might not have been much different.

"We took three stick penalties because you're not skating and not hitting," Coach Trent Vogelhuber said. "All three of them were penalties. We were down 2-0.

"The third goal, they get possession and blow by two guys. You snooze for a second and it's in the back of your net after possession zone time. You get momentum (cutting the lead to 2-1) and then you fall asleep. I thought that was the tale of the game. It wasn't a focused, desperate brand you have to have this time of year."

Owen Sillinger scored the Monsters' goal.

The Blue Jackets play their final game of the season on April 16. The Monsters are in the playoffs after clinching April 11 when they beat the Rocket, 6-4. The Blue Jackets are not in the playoffs, and that means Greaves, forwards Brendan Gaunce, Trey Fix-Wolansky, James Malatesta, Carson Meyer and Mikael Pyyhtia plus defenseman David Jiricek will all be returned to the Monsters for the final three games of the regular season and the playoffs.

Vogelhuber expects them all to be ready to hit the ice, raring to go.

"They're not going to be tired," Vogelhuber said. "They're hockey players. This is the best time of the year. The only reason you play for six months is to be in this position. You could think yourself into being tired sometimes. They're not tired."

The Monsters (37-24-5-3) play the Americans in Rochester on April 19 then finish the season April 20 and 21 in Toronto.

All three games could factor into the final playoff seeding in the North Division. Syracuse is in first place with 84 points, followed by Rochester (83), the Monsters (82) and the Marlies (80). All four teams have three games left in the regular season.