Blog: Big Game Early for Monsters

A big home game is on tap for the Lake Erie Monsters (4-3-0-0) tonight against Abbotsford (4-0-0-1).  It’s a divisional game, the last home game before a stretch of seven consecutive away from Quicken Loans Arena, the Monsters have a chance to secure a winning record in October by just collecting a standings point of any kind tonight, and the Monsters have a chance to be the team to hand Abbotsford its first regulation loss of the season.  That’s a lot to have on the line for an October 27th game, but the Monsters raised the stakes with a nice start to the season and series of solid “statement” wins; especially those against Oklahoma City (See the latest cover of The Hockey News) and the defending conference champion Toronto Marlies. 

And there’s one other thing: the Monsters haven’t beaten Abbotsford since 2/6/11 after falling in regulation in all four games against the Heat in 2011-12.
 
This is a big one tonight, and all the action at Quicken Loans Arena begins at 7:30 PM.  If you can’t make it, listen live on Newstalk 1420 WHK, watch the game on FOX Sports Ohio tonight, or watch the game on your computer at www.AHLLive.com. 

But don’t be fooled by the Monsters-Abbotsford matchup; things haven’t exactly been one-sided.  The Monsters fell in regulation in all four meetings against the Heat last season, but the four games were decided by a total of six goals.  Two of the games- both of which were at The Q- were one-goal games.  The two in Abbotsford were two-goal decisions. 

The topics of conversation when it comes to the Monsters success this season has often been the team’s depth, the team’s goaltending, and the special teams units.  One other area in which the Monsters have been very successful: shutting down the opposition’s top offensive weapons.  On 10/26 against Abbotsford, the Monsters held the line of Sven Baertschi and former Monsters Ben Walter and Dustin Sylvester off the scoresheet; all three of which are still averaging a point-per-game, and Walter had at least a point in each game thus far.  In the first three of the four meetings against Oklahoma City this season, the Monsters held Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoreless.  Against Toronto, Calvin Pickard earned a 40-save shutout in net and the Monsters were 12-12 on the power play; needless to say, Keith Aucoin, Joe Colborne, Jake Gardiner, and Nazem Kadri were scoreless in that outing.

With the Monsters heading to the road after tonight, they’ll need to continue to shut down opponents’ top lines; something they’ve had success doing.  There’s also a high level of importance to maintaining a winning record before heading on string of road games that’s longer than any the Monsters had last season.
And one last thing regarding the upcoming road games (Which will likely formulate next week’s blog topics): remember that the broadcast schedule, complete with game times and station info is right here on the site.  Here’s the link: http://www.lakeeriemonsters.com/schedule/broadcast/.  And don’t forget that any game can be watched and heard online at www.ahllive.com. 

 


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