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Monsters Finish Homestand with BulldogsTweet
With points in four consecutive games, the Lake Erie Monsters welcome in the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight; a game that will conclude a season-long five-game homestand. The meeting is the second in the season series between the North Division foes. As a matter of fact, it was Hamilton who was the last team to beat the Monsters in regulation back on November 5th. The Bulldogs won that night by a 1-0 score.
The Monsters current four-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak is a season-long as the team continues to receive offensive contributions across the lineup. David van der Gulik is the owner of four-straight multi-point games. Greg Mauldin is riding a four-game point streak. Hugh Jessiman has goals in back-to-back games, and Stefan Elliott has a two-game assist streak.
Jake Newton’s only goal this season may be the timeliest goal on the campaign for the Monsters. Saturday night against Peoria, Newton received a pass from van der Gulik in the left circle and scored on Rivermen goalie Ben Bishop to put the Monsters ahead- for good- with just over two minutes remaining. Newton’s goal raises the Monsters record to 4-0-1-0 when a defenseman scores a goal.
Entering this evening’s game, the Bulldogs have a game in-hand on the Monsters, who hold a two-point advantage over Hamilton. The Monsters enter tonight’s game in third in the North Division, seven points behind division-leading Toronto. Hamilton is in last with 14 points; a point behind fourth-place Grand Rapids, and two points behind the Monsters. Needless to say, tonight’s game gives the Monsters an opportunity to gain some separation as they continue chipping away at the Marlies’ division lead.
As van der Gulik attempts to continue his scoring streak, he’s certainly the player to watch. The Monsters leading scorer has at least a point in eight of his last nine games, with the only blemish being the 1-0 loss in Hamilton on November 5th. Cedrick Desjardins is also a player to watch in net for the Monsters. The netminder appeared with the Bulldogs over parts of four seasons, and he enters tonight’s game leading the American Hockey League in save percentage (.947), and second in goals-against-average (1.70).
Brian Willsie, a former Monster, is leading the Bulldogs’ charge as of late. His 12 points lead the team in scoring. He has points in back-to-back games, including a goal in Hamilton’s 5-2 win over Grand Rapids on Wednesday night. Willsie also has seven shots on goal in back-to-back games; a total he has reached three times this season. To put things in perspective, only once this season has a Monsters player fired seven shots on goal in a game: Evan Brophey on November 11 in his hat-trick game against San Antonio. The only player to score in the last game between the Monsters and Bulldogs, Hamilton’s Aaron Palushaj, is currently called-up to the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.
All of this evening’s game can be heard live on ESPN 850 WKNR. Following the game, the Monsters will hit the road for a game against the Hershey Bears tomorrow night at 7:00 PM.
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