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The Season So FarTweet
10/31/2008 1:51 PM
The season may only be eight games old, but the Lake Erie Monsters have already gone through what often takes most teams many games, bus rides and months to experience. From home stands to road trips, winning streaks and losing streaks, the Monsters have experienced it all in a short period of time.
The Monsters started out the season with five consecutive home games.The home opener set the stage for new acquisitions to make their mark on The Q. In their 4-3 overtime win against the Grand Rapids Griffins, the team received timely goals from Marty Sertich, Jesse Boulerice, Nigel Williams and captain Brian Willsie - all new additions to the team.
It would be Willsie, however, who would leave the biggest impression on opening night. Just 1:18 into overtime, Willsie's wrist shot would deflect off a Griffins stick and find the back of the net, sending the 10,000-plus fans at The Q into a frenzy, and the Monsters with two points in the standings.
Willsie's strong play would also be the buzz around the organization, as the captain would showcase his talent early on. Just two weeks into the season, Willsie was already setting franchise records. In each of first six games he registered a goal, easily surpassing the four-game streak that four players set as the previous high. With a point in his first seven games, Willsie tied two players for the second-longest point streak in franchise history.
Aside from the strong play of Willsie, the team was also coming together as a unit to put together solid efforts night in and night out. After the home opener, the team would win two of their next four games to complete the early home stand with a record of 3-0-0-1.
"I am extremely pleased with the start; seven points out of 10 for the first five games and I think we finished off our home stand pretty strong," commented head coach Joe Sacco at the time. "That's what we wanted to do before this road trip."
The road would be a place that would not be as friendly to the Monsters, however. In their first three games away from The Q, the team went 0-3 and will remain on the road through November 7th before returning Sunday, November 9th at 5:00 p.m. to host the Hamilton Bulldogs.
With their 3-4-0-1 start, the team is already ahead of last year's start statistically. Consider: The team went 2-6 through the first eight games last year. It would take the first-year franchise seven games to get its first win and those Monsters didn't win on home ice until mid-November.
Steadily improving upon their first year, the Monsters will look to rebound this weekend as they continue their road trip. They travel to Hamilton, Ontario, to play the Bulldogs on Friday and stay in the province of Ontario to play the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, a team they beat 4-3 earlier this season.
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