Monsters Prepare for Houston Tonight

A night after falling 3-0 in Grand Rapids, the Monsters get a look at another opponent they haven't seen yet this season: The Houston Aeros.

Houston comes in with a 6-1-0-3 record; a great start to the season, but a staggering number of shootout losses for only having played 10 games. Needless to say, the West Division leaders pose a challenge to a Monsters team that traveled overnight.

The Monsters are winners of four of their last six contests (and two straight at home) despite being shutout for the fourth time this season last night. There were a good deal of bright spots in the Monsters most recent defeat: scoring chances, penalty killing, and a physical edge, to name a few.

In Grand Rapids last night, the Monsters ran into a hot goalie, and Joey MacDonald turned away all 27 shots he saw- and get some late help from the goal post as well- in earning his fifth win of the season.

Ryan Stoa paced the Monsters with five shots on net. The Monsters penalty killers were up to the task on seven-of-eight Grand Rapids power plays; something that will need to continue this evening.

The physical presence, as long as it is used effectively, can be an advantage for the Monsters. Last night's game yielded a trio of fights, and having players willing to drop the gloves when necessary can certainly keep an opponent honest. However, the Monsters are coming off their highest penalty minute total of the season, and certainly will not want to give Houston's skilled group of forwards the eight power plays Grand Rapids had last night.

Tonight, Monsters fans can keep an eye on Hugh Jessiman. After serving his four-game suspension for a boarding incident in Toronto on October 23, he is available to return to the lineup tonight. For the Aeros, Casey Wellman has eight goals over his first 10 games; the Monsters certainly will want to keep an eye on him.

If you're unable to make it out to The Q for the Aeros-Monsters game, all the action will be carried live on ESPN 850 WKNR beginning at 7:00 PM.

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