The Lake Erie Monsters started the season on the right foot as they beat the offensively-loaded Oklahoma City Barons 2-1 Friday night on the opening night of the 2012-13 season.

The first period featured a goaltenders duel between Sami Aittokallio of the Monsters and reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year – Oklahoma City’s Yann Danis as both clubs went back and forth the ice, but neither team could solve the goaltenders.

Bill Thomas got things started for the Monsters at the 3:05 mark of the second period as he managed to bang home a loose puck at the side of the net for the 1-0 lead. Thomas Pock and Brad Malone had assists on the goal.

Oklahoma City tied the game thanks to a five-on-three powerplay at 14:16 of the third period when Magnus Paajarvi sent a pass to Mark Arcobello who was open at the inside of the left circle. Arcobello sent the puck past Aittokallio to tie the game at 1.

The game would remain tied at 1 until late in the third period when Andrew Agozzino broke in on a two-on-one attack with Patrick Bordeleau. Rather than pass the puck to Bordeleau, Agozzino elected to shot the puck as he sent it sailing past Danis for the 2-1 lead. The goal was the first professional goal of Agozzino’s career.

Aittokallio would stop any late chances by the Barons to preserve the 2-1 victory. He managed to turn aside 29 of 30 Barons shots on the night. Meanwhile, Denis stopped 27 of the 29 pucks he faced Friday night in the loss for Oklahoma City.

Both Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were held off the scoresheet for the Barons as no doubt it was a treat for fans in Lake Erie to see the Edmonton Oilers stars take to the ice. As for Taylor Hall, he participated in a 3-week camp with the Edmonton Oil Kings’ and is in no rush to return after shoulder surgery about six months ago.

When asked about his injury and the thought of joining fellow Oilers teammates Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins, Hall said, “They’re starting their season and I won’t be down there with them, but I’ve always been a guy who rushes things and wants to get back sooner. This is a perfect time to make sure my shoulder is really good. It hasn’t been that way in a long time.

The two teams will square off again Saturday afternoon at 1:00 Eastern for round two of the double-header from the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.



Adam Reid