By Mary Schmitt Boyer, The Plain Dealer / Cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — It was his first game for Lake Erie and the team’s first shutout of the season, but goalie Cedrick Desjardins had even more motivation for making 29 saves in a 4-0 victory over Toronto on Sunday afternoon at The Q.
“It’s my mother’s birthday as well,” he said of Mary Desjardins in Quebec City. “So that’s a good birthday present.”
Desjardins was playing in his first game after recovering from shoulder surgery. After spending last season with Norfolk and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, he was signed by Colorado, the Monsters’ parent club, in July and missed training camp and the first three weeks of the season while rehabbing.
“Injuries are something you can’t control,” he said. “Colorado gave me a big opportunity by signing me. They believed in me. That gave me a little extra to work hard and have a good start.
“It was a long summer. It was frustrating to miss training camp. But tonight was a reward for all the summer work I did.”
Desjardins had great support from his teammates on Sunday as the Monsters won their second straight and their fourth in five games to improve to 4-6-1-0. Toronto, which lost to the Monsters, 2-1, on Friday night in The Q, slipped to 5-3-1-0.
“Cedrik played really well,” said Lake Erie coach David Quinn. “Anyone who follows this league knows he’s an elite goalie at this level. Anytime you win a hockey game, your goalie has to play well and ours certainly did tonight.
“It was a true team effort for 60 minutes. I thought from the get-go we were ready to play. I thought our D zone coverage was good. I thought we fore-checked well. I thought our play in the offensive zone was good. Special teams, obviously, with two power-play goals and they didn’t give up a power-play goal. So I thought we were pretty good in a lot of areas.”
The Monsters built a 2-0 lead in the first period. Ryan Stoa sent a backhand to the net, which was stopped by Toronto goalie Jussi Rynnas. But Evan Brophey put in the rebound at 4:10. Stefan Elliott added a power-play goal with a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle at 6:53.
Another power-play goal by Luke Walker, who has five points in five games against Toronto this season, at 13:12 of the second period pushed the Monsters lead to 3-0. It was a rare second-period goal for the Monsters, who now have three second-period goals this season.
Eric Hunter closed out the scoring at 14:36 of the third period.