What's On Tap...Hosting The Amerks

Labatt Blue
What's on Tap
Five points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division with just 10 games left in the 2009-10 regular season, the Monsters play another game of high importance Wednesday night when they host the Rochester Americans. Coming into Cleveland on a three-game losing streak, the Americans are currently nine points ahead of the Monsters, sitting in third place in the North, battling the Abbotsford Heat for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Wednesday’s matchup marks the eighth and final meeting between the Americans and the Monsters in the regular season, with Lake Erie holding a 5-2-0-0 mark against their North Division rivals. All-time, Lake Erie holds the edge again, with a record of 11-6-1-1 against Rochester since the Monsters inception into the AHL in the 2007-08 season.

A key to the game will be the play of Monsters center T.J. Hensick. Lake Erie ended a season-high six-game losing streak Saturday, in large part due to the play of Hensick, who recorded his 20th multi-point game of the season, factoring in on every Monsters goal in a 3-2 win against the Abbotsford Heat. Hensick is currently on a four-game point streak, picking up eight points (1G, 7A) in that span as well as recording an assist in his last five games at The Q.

Hensick’s main objective – as well as the rest of the Monsters team – will be to keep up with the Americans offense. Registering over three goals per game, Rochester has the league’s fifth most proficient offense, as well as one of its top point producers in Jamie Johnson. With 63 points (23G, 40A), Johnson is in the top 20 in the AHL scoring race. Aiding the Americans offensive attack is defenseman Clay Wilson. Wilson’s 54 points (12G, 42A) are second among league defensemen as are his 42 helpers. The blueliner ranks first among his peers with 23 assists on the man advantage.

While both teams will attempt to avoid the unnecessary penalties Wednesday night, a trip to the box may not be the worst thing that could happen in the course of the game. The Americans have yielded a league-leading 15 shorthanded goals against, while the Monsters aren’t far behind, as they’ve allowed 13 goals while on the man advantage.

After Wednesday’s game, the going doesn’t get any easier for the Monsters, as the team plays three games in three days on a Texas road trip this weekend. The southern swing begins Friday, with the Monsters in Houston for a game prior to wrapping up the weekend with a pair of contests against the San Antonio Rampage Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday's game and every game this season will be broadcast on the Monsters flagship radio station, ESPN 850 WKNR.  Listen Live on ESPN 850 WKNR | Watch here via AHL Live

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