Monsters Look to Rebound in Toronto

Wednesday morning’s schoolday game in Toronto needs to be used as a platform for a bounce-back by the Lake Erie Monsters (32-26-3-4), and in Ricoh Coliseum against the North Division-leading Marlies (36-22-4-3) may be the best place for it. The Monsters are just 4-4-0-0 against Toronto this season, but it’s a rivalry game against a sure-fire playoff team. In fact, this week’s three-game stretch against Toronto, Chicago Thursday night, and Toronto again on Saturday night, may be the most pivotal three-game run of the entire season, coming on the heels of a weekend that saw the Monsters earn one of four points in two games on home ice.

The Monsters are coming off a game Saturday night against another playoff team- and a team they’ll see tomorrow night- in the Chicago Wolves. It was a 1-0 defeat in which the only goal against came courtesy of 600-game NHL veteran Steve Reinprecht on a shorthanded breakaway. Cedrick Desjardins stopped 41 of 42 shots in the loss. As he has been in virtually every game he has started for the Monsters this season, Desjardins is one of the biggest keys to Lake Erie’s playoff push.

Offensively, the Monsters will continue to need production across the board, and they will need the power play to chip in as well. Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Chicago snapped a streak of three consecutive games with a power play goal for the Monsters, and Wednesday will be a stiff task: Toronto has killed off 88.1% of opponents power plays this season. Leading up to Saturday’s game, Peter MacArthur and Brad Malone had three-game point streaks, and Greg Mauldin had goals in back-to-back games. All three players will be important to a Monsters bounce-back in Toronto.

Toronto is a team loaded with offensive talent; perhaps more than any other team in the American Hockey League. Despite Matt Frattin and Carter Ashton being called up to the parent Toronto Maple Leafs at the moment, they still boast a lineup that includes former first-round picks Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne, veteran center and current Marlies scoring leader Mike Zigomanis, and AHL all-star forward Ryan Hamilton. Jerry D’Amigo has quietly had a productive campaign, and has nine points against the Monsters this season. Marcel Mueller is another top-line forward for Toronto who has had brief NHL experience in his young pro career. To back it all up, Ben Scrivens’ hot play in net has propelled him to the top-three in the AHL in goals against average (2.12).

The Monsters and Marlies are set to faceoff at 11:00 AM Wednesday morning, and all the action can be heard live on AM 1540 KNR2. The Monsters return to Quicken Loans Arena Thursday night for a 7:00 PM game against the Chicago Wolves; a game that can be heard live on AM 1220 WHKW and seen live on FOX Sports Ohio.

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