Monsters within win of division finals

2011 Calder Cup Playoffs

Second-year pro Justin Mercier tallied a pair of goals and added an assist, and Lake Erie put a stranglehold on its North Division semifinal on Thursday with a 6-3 road win over Manitoba before 7,874 fans at the MTS Centre.

Making their first-ever postseason appearance, the Monsters will have their first of three chances to advance to the North Division Finals on Friday night when they take on the Moose again in Winnipeg.

Mercier, who played all 80 regular-season games and established a career high with 28 points (12-16-28), scored both on the power play and shorthanded just 1:04 apart in the second period. Lake Erie also scored at even strength and into an empty net to complete the quartet of situational goals on the night.

Mercier assisted on a first-period power play strike by captain Ben Walter, and the Monsters also got goals from Luke Walker, Matthew Ford, and Mark Over en route to the victory.

Lake Erie let a 4-1 lead turn into a 4-3 nail-biter before both Ford and Olver scored into an empty net in the game’s closing minute.

Monsters goaltender John Grahame turned aside 36 of 39 shots to pick up the win in net.

Kevin Clark netted a pair of goals for the Moose, and Jason Jaffray posted a goal and an assist. Marco Rosa chipped in two assists and has now totaled seven points (3-4-7) through four postseason contests.

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 16 – LAKE ERIE 6, Manitoba 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Manitoba 3, LAKE ERIE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Lake Erie 2, MANITOBA 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Lake Erie 6, MANITOBA 3
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 22 – Lake Erie at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 4:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 26 – Manitoba at Lake Erie, 7:00