Slow-moving Monsters bitten by Wolves, 4-1

Mar. 1—Conserving energy is a fine way to lower the electric bill or gas bill and help the environment at the same time.

Conserving energy is not a good way to win a hockey game.

The Monsters and Chicago Wolves play at 3 p.m. March 2 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, but before that the puck dropped at 7 p.m. for the same two teams on March 1 at the FieldHouse. The Monsters played as though they were conserving their energy for the matinee game, and consequently got shoved out of the arena, 4-1.

"Not a ton of urgency against a team that's scrapping for a playoff spot," Monsters coach Trent Vogelhuber said. "That's what happens."

The score was 1-1 heading into the third period. The Wolves scored a pair of unassisted goals, one at 8:47 and another at 11:18, and then added an empty net tally on another unassisted goal at 16:27 after Vogelhuber pulled goalie Pavel Cajan in favor of a sixth attacker.

Chicago's Domenick Fensmore broke the 1-1 tie on a seeing-eye goal from high in the slot through the middle of traffic. Dominic Franco made the Monsters look bad with his unassisted goal to make it 3-1 when he got behind the Cleveland defense, skated left to right in front of Cajan, and went high to beat the Monsters goalie. With more than 8:30 remaining there was plenty of time for the Monsters to rally, but the way they were playing it was unlikely that would happen.

"There were defensive breakdowns and poor execution," Vogelhuber said when asked about Chicago's second and third goals. "The other team's competitiveness down the stretch and ultimately the whole night was higher. Blown coverage in the D-zone on the first goal, blows up on a guy's stick on the second one, kind of the tale of the night in those two areas."

Trey Fix-Wolansky opened the scoring with a goal at 6:06 of the second period for a 1-0 Monsters lead, but that ended the scoring for the home team.

The Monsters (31-16-3-3) are still first in the AHL North with 68 points. They are three points ahead of second place Syracuse (30-17-3-2). The Crunch have a game in hand.