Lake Tahoe Blue give Fresno Monsters fight |

Lake Tahoe Blue give Fresno Monsters fight

Brent Maranto
Western States Hockey League
Left wing Martin Vachal powers through two Fresno defenders Saturday, during Game 2 of Lake Tahoe Blue’s first home series.
Becky Regan / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

It may have taken a little while but the Fresno Monsters finally got their revenge on the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, taking two of three from the Lake Tahoe Blue this past weekend.

They didn’t get off to a great start in the opener however. Despite Fresno’s out shooting Lake Tahoe 45-29, the Blue tallied two goals in each period, en route to a 6-2 victory.

Edgars Homjakovs’ three assists led the way for the home team, as they picked up a win in their first-ever game at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

Veteran Josh Mikes and Sebastian Forslund each notched a goal and an assist as well in the victory, while Troy Turpin stopped 43 of 45 in net.

Fresno trailed 3-0 before they got on the board on Austin Browning’s goal but allowed Lake Tahoe to come right back and regain a three-goal lead. Nico Wilton provided the other goal, while Jerry Kaukinen took the loss in net, allowing six goals on 29 shots.

Early on, game two looked like it would be more of the same, as a pair of veterans, Mark DeVaughn and Martin Vachal, scored first period goals to pace the Blue to a 2-0 lead.

Fresno got their roll started with a goal late in the opening frame to pull within one, however, and went on to score four more in a 5-3 win.

Justin Plate, just back from a stint with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL, led the way with two goals and an assist, while Cartel Dahl also notched two goals of his own.

Kaukinen played well in net and picked up the victory, stopping 27 of the 30 shots he faced.

After the solid opening frame, Lake Tahoe was out shot 35-21 over the final two periods and out scored 4-1, as their short bench definitely showed.

The Blue opened the scoring for the third straight game in the finale, as Adrian Schmidt got them out to a 1-0 lead but Fresno responded with three in-a-row and never relinquished the lead in a 6-4 win.

Showing a good deal of offensive depth, six different Monsters scored goals in the victory, with Mike Nolan collecting a team-high three points.

It was once again Kaukinen taking the win in net, stopping 26 of 30 and moving his record to 4-1-0 on the season.

Homjakovs, Schmidt and Vachal each notched a goal and an assist for Lake Tahoe, while Turpin took the loss in net, allowing six goals on 48 shots faced.

So the early season struggles continue for the Blue, especially without top forward Miguel Caron, who did not play over the weekend.

They’re still in need of some bodies and a few players returning from injury will help with that situation but they need to get going in a hurry, or fall too far behind. They have more than enough talent to do it and with guys like Vachal and DeVaughn are finding their groove, it shouldn’t be tough but it needs to start this weekend against San Diego. Lake Tahoe Blue are now 3-6 and third in Pacific Division.

UP NEXT: The Blue hosts the San Diego Seagulls Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.) at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena. Adult tickets are $10.

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