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AHL Morning Skate: May 31, 2024 |

The Cleveland Monsters made up any remaining bus legs from Wednesday's trip to Hershey with a quick morning skate before Game 1 at the Giant Center.

“I think our boys have been itching to play,” the Monsters coach Trent Vogelhuber said. “No one wants to practice at this time of year. Our boys came out and focused well in practice, but you could see that they were itching and ready to play.”

Captain Brendan Gaunce he participated fully in the morning skate, but was not on the list last night. Gaunce was injured during his return to the Columbus Blue Jackets and has not played in a game since April 11.

Vogelhuber called Gaunce “an important member of our identity” this season.

“He does everything the right way, the smart way,” Vogelhuber said. “He hasn't played for us for a long time, but I think we play the way we are because he helped ensure that throughout the year.

While Gaunce's first playoff game will have to wait, Hershey got a big piece back in their lineup there. Riley Sutter made his first postseason appearance of 2024 last night.

It was Sutter's first game since the Bears' regular season finale on April 20.

The fifth-year champion has been a solid team forward during his time in Hershey, and set career highs in 2023-24 with nine goals, 14 assists, 23 points and an 11-point average.

― with files from Patrick Williams

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