Monsters Host Bears in Tuesday Matchup

As one of the hottest teams in the American Hockey League, the Lake Erie Monsters (24-17-2-2) will wrap-up a five-game homestand tonight against the Hershey Bears (21-19-3-2); the second of two meetings this season between the two teams. The puck drops at 7:00 PM at Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters are 5-1-0-1 over their last seven games after having a season-best six-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak snap with a 4-1 loss to Abbotsford at The Q. Hershey is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss at home to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday. Hershey has just one win over their last six games (1-2-2-1 over their last six) and fell to the Monsters at Giant Center in Hershey by a 3-2 score on January 18.

The Monsters fell in the second game of back-to-back tilts against the Abbotsford Heat, dropping a 4-1 game a night after topping the Heat by the same score. With the loss, the Monsters lost first place in the North Division to the Heat 24 hours after taking the division’s top spot. Abbotsford scored a goal in the opening five minutes of each period to take a 3-0 lead before Brad Malone put the Monsters on the board with his second goal in as many games. Abbotsford added an empty-net goal in the final seconds to put the game out of reach and take a 4-1 lead. The loss snapped a personal three-game win streak for Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard, who is now 7-2-0-0 for the Monsters in net since December 29, 2012.

Malone has goals in back-to-back games, and three points in all over his last two contests since a one-game stint with the Monsters NHL affiliate, the Colorado Avalanche. With Monsters leading scorer Mike Sgarbossa and David van der Gulik being summoned to the Avalanche over the last week, more offensive responsibilities could fall on the shoulders of Malone, who put his heavy wrist shot on display with his third period goal against Abbotsford on Friday.

Jeff Taffe represented the Bears at the All-Star Game in Providence a week and a day ago, and can be one of the most dangerous offensive players on the ice at a given time. Although he has failed to register a point over his last three games, the veteran of nine AHL teams does have a goal in his only game against the Monsters this season, and had two goals and six points overall in four games against the Monsters last season as a member of the Houston Aeros. The Hershey roster also includes former Monsters Julien Broulliette, Mike Carman, Steve Oleksy, and Ryan Stoa.

All of tonight’s action can be heard live from The Q on AM 1220 WHKW beginning at 7:00 PM with Doug Plagens on the play-by-play.

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