Road Series Starts with Peoria
Seven consecutive road games begins for the Lake Erie Monsters (5-3-0-0) tonight when they pay their first visit of the season to Caver Arena to take on the Peoria Rivermen (2-4-1-0). The Monsters are 3-1-0-0 on the road, and the Rivermen are coming off consecutive losses to the Charlotte Checkers by a combined total of 10-0.
LAST TIME OUT
The Monsters are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over the Abbotsford Heat Saturday night, 10/27/12, at Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters were led by Mike Sgarbossa, who scored the tying goal in the third period to force overtime, picked up an assist, and also registered the shootout-winning goal. Newly named captain of the Monsters, Bryan Lerg, also had a goal.
WHO TO WATCH: MONSTERS
Lerg, who will be the Monsters captain in ’12-13, has four goals over his last four games. After narrowly missing on some great opportunities in the first few games this season, Lerg has found his stride. Also, Sgarbossa, a rookie forward, has pulled into the Monsters team lead in points with eight through eight games. Sgarbossa has three multi-point games on the season.
WHO TO WATCH: RIVERMEN
Former Monster, and all-time Monsters points leader T.J. Hensick is back in Peoria, and he’s tied with the team’s lead in points with five through seven games. Hensick’s offensive ability always requires opponents’ attention, but rookie Jaden Schwartz is the name to note in the Rivermen lineup. Schwartz, the 14th overall pick by St. Louis in 2010, tallied 32 goals and 88 points in 60 games at Colorado College over the last two seasons, had two goals for the Blues in seven games last season, and has four points through seven games to start this season in Peoria.
The Monsters power play was held off the board over the two games against Abbotsford after five consecutive games with a power play goal. The Monsters will want to capitalize on the power play and stay out of the box as much as possible against a Rivermen squad that has scored just 10 goals while allowing 24 through seven games. Over the last few seasons, the Monsters were used to having to overcome the obstacle that is 6’7” goalie Ben Bishop in the Peoria net, but after a trade to Ottawa last season, Bishop is no longer in the St. Louis organization, and the Rivermen are still searching for stability in the crease after back-to-back tough losses to a high-powered Charlotte club.
LISTEN LIVE: Tonight’s game, live from Peoria, can be heard live at 8:00 PM Eastern on AM 1220 WHKW with Doug Plagens on the play-by-play.