It may not be an NBA Finals championship, but it's something worth value. The Lake Erie Monsters, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets has won the 2016 Calder Cup, after an overtime goal from star winger Oliver Bjorkstrand with less than two seconds remaining on the game clock.
A sold out Quicken Loans Arena that drew the attendance of 19,665, saw the Monsters win their first ever Calder Cup and doing it fashionably as they swept the Hershey Bears in four games.
How they got there
The Monsters didn't have an easy path to get to the finals, but with a goal scorer in Bjorkstrand, and a brick wall goaltender in Anton Forsberg, the Monsters were able to overcome all teams that stood in their way.
The quarter finals saw Lake Erie defeat the Grand Rapids Griffins,by taking the quarterfinal series 4-2. The win came on the road, defeating the Griffins by a score of 4-3 in overtime away from home.
Next up, they faced a tough Ontario Reign in the semi finals. The Monsters would take that series, by also sweeping the Reign 4-0. Game four would eventually go into overtime at home for the Monsters, but Lukas Sedlak would silence the Reign by scoring the game winner in overtime. That goal, would send the Monsters on to the Calder Cup Finals, for the first time ever.
Monsters claim title
Through all games of the finals against the Bears, the word to best desribe the series would have to be delightful. That is, if you are a Monsters fan and like to see your team win by an average margin of three goals.
Game one on the road at the Giant Center, home of the Hershey Bears saw Lake Erie win by a demanding 4-1 scoreline. Game two would more action, and another Monster win by two goals, seeing the final tally come up to 5-3.
Back home, things could have gone better in game three, as the Bears forced overtime for the first time in the series, putting pressure on the Monsters to hit back harder than ever. The relentless Lake Erie side defeated Hershey with a 3-2 overtime winner from nonetheless, Bjorkstrand.
Then it was to game four, at home, in front of a sold-out Quicken Loans Arena.
Fans who were in attendance, were in for a treat. Through all three periods, the score remained zeroes on the board. But it seemed okay, as the Cleveland, Ohio natives put their faith in the minor league hockey team, and promised that they were an overtime team.
And just like that, with seconds dying down in the first overtime, Oliver Bjorkstrand gave Cleveland, a well-earned championship.