Cleveland Monsters getting set for a chess match with checkers

The Cleveland Monsters are playing some of their best hockey since last year's victory in the Calder Cup Championship. Currently, Cleveland is on a six game win streak and have one more game at home before heading off to Chicago & Iowa. Above is the winning goal from Zac Dalpe in a 3-2 OT win on Tueday...

The team is full of great veteran leadership and fresh faces that have come together to fomulate a winning combination as they creep back into fourth place to work to solidify their run at the playoffs in the AHL's Central Division and hopefully defend their championship and secure the Calder Cup for a second straight season from Quicken Loans Arena.

The combination of the Cleveland Monsters and the Columbus Blue Jackets have put Ohio on the map in regards to top-notched hockey for fans to watch. They are working very hard to bring that championship back to Cleveland hockey fans again. They're only focusing on one play and one game at a time.

I have had the honor to take photos of the Monsters for two amazing seasons now and look forward to Thursday's game at home and a road game in Chicago on Saturday as part of bring you the best of Cleveland sports and having the opportunity of cover some of the most monumental moments in Cleveland sports here and afar. What a fantastic gig!

Earlier this season I even got to attend the AHL All-Star Classic in Allentown, PA where, for the first time, there were three representatives from the Monsters with All-Star Captain, Ryan Craig, Oliver Bjorkstrand (now with Columbus) and this week's CCM/AHL Player of the Week, goaltender, Anton Forsberg. As well as the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction Ceremony and many other events.

Here are some pictures from Tuesday's game to wet your whistle and get you in the mood for the fast-paced, hard-hitting action of Monsters Hockey that starts Thursday night at 7 pm as they battle the Charlotte Checkers for a chance at 7 straight victories in a row and move ever so closer to that playoff birth. Enjoy the pictures as you look them over, I know I did as I took them!

Nick Moutrey delivering the puck. Look at that stick bend. It's like Nick, bend, don't break.
T.J. Tynan
T.J. Tynan is a very hard-working center and assistant captain for the Monsters play after play, none-stop.
Daniel Zaar is back in the rotation and working hard on the ice!
Working hard behind the cage to fight for possession.

Sonny looking for an opening between the pipes to finess the puck into the net.

Jordan Maletta (64) and Zac Dalpe (28)
Captain Ryan Craig (12) is a mountain of a man and a true leader.
Busted! Looked right at me to see if he really got away with that... Nope! SMH...
Zebras missed that one... and the one before.
Markus Hannikainen

McKeown ran into a Moutrey and hurt his pride as he was knocked to the ice. Nick was as solid as a Redwood.

Anton Forsberg (31) is one of two amazing goaltenders for the Cleveland Monsters and spends time as a Columbus Blue Jacket too. His counter-part is "Brickwall" Brad Theissen
There it is at 2:51 of the OT Period, Zac Dalpe put it past the Checkers defender against his old team to put his new team on top 3-2 and sent the teams to the locker rooms. See highlights.


David Sprouse Primary Photographer and Editor

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