Monsters Meet Bears Tonight

A night after finishing a season-long five-game homestand on a five-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak, the Lake Erie Monsters are on the road in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a 7:00 PM date with the Hershey Bears tonight.

For the Monsters, the defense has certainly been holding up its end of the bargain. Friday night against Hamilton, the Monsters allowed just 22 shots, which tied a season-low for shots against. The Bulldogs were also able to muster just two shots in the second period against the Monsters; also a season-best for shots allowed in a period.

Hershey, though, is averaging over three goals each night, and entered the day in second place in the Eastern Conference’s East Division. The Bears, like the Monsters, played a night ago, and did so on the road against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, picking up a 3-2 win in a shootout. Offensively, the Bears boast three players with 20 or more points through the team’s first 18 games: Center Keith Aucoin and wingers Chris Bourque and Jacob Micflikier.

The Bears have just two wins over their last six games (2-1-1-2), but have continued picking up points after their torrid 5-1-1-0 start. The Monsters are playing their best hockey of the season, averaging four goals per game on their current unbeaten streak, and after scoring just five goals in the season’s first five games, are averaging 2.85 per game since.

Lake Erie’s catalysts offensively have been David van der Gulik and Hugh Jessiman lately. van der Gulik is riding a five-game assist streak, which is a season long assist streak and points streak for any Monsters player. He leads the team in assists with 12, and in points with 18, while also being tied for the team lead in goals with six. The other forwards with six goals have streaks of their own intact: Jessiman has goals in three straight games, and the Monsters are undefeated (4-0-0-0) when Evan Brophey scores.

Last season, the Monsters took both meetings with the Bears. After regrouping on their recent five-game homestand, the Monsters need to get used to the road again; including tonight’s game in Hershey, seven of the Monsters next eight games will be played away from Quicken Loans Arena. Entering tonight, the Monsters are 2-4-1-0 away from The Q.

All of the action in Hershey can be heard live on WHKW-AM 1220 beginning at 6:55 PM. The Monsters return home Wednesday to take on the Houston Aeros at 7:00 PM.

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