Monsters Welcome in Checkers for Two

A night after staying consistent with another win over the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Lake Erie Monsters (28-25-2-3) will face a stiff task with games on back-to-back days against the Midwest Division-leading Charlotte Checkers (31-19-2-4). The Monsters won by way of a shootout last night, with a standout performance by former Bulldog-turned-Monster Cedrick Desjardins, who stopped 29 of 30 shots and all five Hamilton shootout attempts.

Ryan Stoa netted the shootout winner, and with his assist in regulation, the Monsters are now 14-4-0-1 when Stoa registers a point. The fifth three-in-three stretch for the Monsters is underway, and as the season has shown, the first game is the one with the highest probability of a Monsters victory. The Monsters are 2-1-2-0 this season in the opening game of a three-in-three stretch, and a combined 2-5-0-1 in the second and third games of three-in-three’s. The biggest indicator of the Monsters direction at this point, though: they’re 8-3-0-2 since the all-star break.

For the Monsters, their success this weekend could revolve around special teams. Entering Saturday, the Monsters are scoreless on the power play over their last three contests; they have failed to convert on 11 attempts over those three games. Prior to the last three games, the Monsters had scored at least one power play goal in five straight games. In order to top a tough team like the Checkers, the Monsters will need to generate momentum from their power play. Conversely, Charlotte is top-five in the league on both the power play and penalty kill. Decreasing time spent in the penalty box is certainly a key for the Monsters this weekend, as they have given up at least one power play goal in five straight games; a time during which they’re 2-2-0-1.

In early September, the Monsters and Checkers split a two-game set down in Charlotte; the first two meetings ever between the clubs. Greg Mauldin and Ryan Stoa each had two points over the two games, and they have continued to be important contributors to the Monsters attack. Mauldin had points in back-to-back games prior to last night, while his linemates Evan Brophey (Two goals, six points over his last eight games) and Patrick Rissmiller (Five goals in his last 10 games) have frequently found the scoresheet as well.

Chris Terry is a key offensive player to watch on the Charlotte side. The Checkers leading scorer, with 11 goals and 46 points in 54 games, has a goal and two assists over his last three games. He has been a table-setter for Charlotte, while A.J. Jenks has managed three goals over his last two games. The goaltending tandem of Justin Peters and Mike Murphy gives Charlotte a chance every night.

The Monsters and Checkers meet tonight at 7:30 PM, with all the action being carried live from Quicken Loans Arena on ESPN 850 WKNR. They will finish the four-game season series Sunday afternoon with a 3:00 PM faceoff. Sunday’s game can be seen live on FOX Sports Ohio and heard on AM 1220 WHKW.

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