Monsters Return to OKC Tonight 8PM ET

For the fourth time in six games to start the season, the Lake Erie Monsters (4-1-0-0) will meet the Oklahoma City Barons (2-2-0-0) tonight at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The action can be heard live on ESPN 850 WKNR beginning at 8:00 PM Eastern, as the Monsters try to win their fourth straight game, and make it a perfect four-game stretch of road games. For the Monsters, the depth will need to further be on display against a talented Oklahoma City team that can never be counted out of a game.

The Monsters are coming off a 4-0 shutout win in Texas over the Stars on Sunday; the second shutout in as many starts for rookie goalie Calvin Pickard, and a game in which 11 Monsters were on the scoresheet with either a goal or an assist. What’s more? The Monsters had 12 players register either a goal and/or assist in their previous game, a 5-3 win over Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Leading the way for the Monsters at the moment is Mark Olver, who boasts a four-game point streak; a string of games in which he has a goal and five assists for six points. Three other Monsters: Andrew Agozzino and Luke Walker each have three-game point streaks in progress, during which each player has a goal and two assists.

In net, the Monsters have gotten great performances leading up to tonight’s game from each of their young netminders. Calvin Pickard is coming off his second straight shutout, and hasn’t allowed a goal in 122:29 of game time dating back to 10/13/12 against the Barons at Quicken Loans Arena. Sami Aittokallio is 2-0-0 in two starts; both against the Barons. The Monsters have taken two of three from a highly-touted Oklahoma City team this season, and look to finish the season series on a high note tonight.

The Monsters power play continued to score on Sunday, when Brad Malone scored on a quick shot in the second period to extend the Monsters lead over Texas to 3-0. They currently have the second-ranked power play in the league, and they’ve managed to use the power play to put their opponents away. Saturday in Oklahoma City, three third-period power play goals propelled the Monsters to a 5-3 win over the Barons. On the other side of the special teams spectrum, the penalty kill is also ranked second in the league through five games. The Monsters are 29-30 on the penalty kill to start the season.

Oklahoma City still has a dangerous attack. While they have NHL stars Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins providing punch up-front, the most dangerous Barons player may be rookie defenseman Justin Schultz, who was named AHL Player of the Week yesterday. Schultz scored twice against the San Antonio Rampage on Friday night- both shorthanded goals- and added a tally against the Monsters on Saturday in a losing effort for the Barons. Schultz can help the Barons in every situation every time he’s on the ice.

After tonight’s game, the Monsters are back home to host the Abbotsford Heat in the first two meetings this season between the North Division foes; Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 PM at Quicken Loans Arena.


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