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The Lake Erie Monsters are beginning a three-game home stand on Wednesday that features a pair of familiar opponents: the Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies. And conveniently for the Monsters, the last week has yielded some success against each of the two foes.
Wednesday, the Monsters will host Syracuse in the third of four meetings this season between the two clubs. The Monsters first two games against Syracuse this season - last Friday and Saturday - went to overtime, with each team earning a win.
For Syracuse, keep an eye on center Nick Bonino. He’ll likely be in the middle of the top line for the Crunch, and actually has ties to Monsters coach David Quinn. A Boston University alum, Bonino played at BU while Quinn was an associate coach for the program. Bonino is tied for the league lead in assists with eight entering tonight’s game.
The Crunch attack will have a slightly different look though. Patrick Maroon, a forward who had two goals and two assists in two games against the Monsters last weekend has since been promoted to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Also, the Crunch followed their back-to-back overtime games against the Monsters with a 7-0 loss to the Hershey Bears on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the key for the Monsters will continue to be generating scoring opportunities; especially opportunities from defensemen.
Six of the 11 goals the Monsters scored over the recent weekend three-in-three were tallied by d-men. The overtime goals on Saturday in Syracuse (Stefan Elliott) and Sunday in Toronto (Tyson Barrie) also came off the sticks of Monsters rookie blueliners. Needless to say, getting those shots through the traffic is going to continue to be of the utmost importance.
Speaking of Toronto, they’ll be at The Q Friday night and Sunday afternoon. In three games this season against the Marlies, the Monsters are 1-2-0, with their one victory over Toronto coming this past Sunday in overtime.
Toronto boasts the most recent AHL player of the week in Joey Crabb on its top line, as well as future star Joe Colborne, a 6’5” center who has ranked among the league’s scoring leaders throughout the young season to this point.
The Monsters power play is a big reason for the success against Toronto. After all, over three games against the Marlies, the two games in which the Monsters failed to generate a power play goal were losses, and in Sunday’s victory, the Monsters scored a season-high three power play goals.
NOTES: Adrian Foster has three points (2G, 1A) in his first three games as a Monster… Entering Wednesday, David van der Gulik has a three-game assist streak… Also entering Wednesday's game, goalie Trevor Cann leads the league in minutes played and is second in saves with 170…Ten of the Monsters next 13 games will be played at The Q, where the team goes into Wednesday 0-3-0.
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