Our beloved Lake Erie Monsters (1-2-0) 2013-2014 campaign continues this weekend with 2 matchups versus the Rockford Ice Hogs (1-1-0) Friday & Saturday. Last year the Hogs, the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, were basically a goon squad with a couple legitimate prospects. The Monsters have racked up 95 PIMs so far this year, so Rockford better watch out this time.
Last week, Lake Erie won once against Abbotsford and lost to Abbotsford and Toronto. The penalty killing was excellent, allowing only 3 goals in 22 chances. Stefan Elliott played very well offensively, putting up a goal and 2 assists on the weekend (a goal he was thought to have scored has been credited to Bryan Lerg mid-week) as well as moving the puck and shooting like we haven't seen in a long time. Let's hope that continues. Calvin Pickard was outstanding in Lake Erie's only win and pretty damn good against Toronto also.
If the Monsters are going to improve, they need to catch the discipline bug and stop taking so many minors. Yes, the PK was great, but it also left the team lacking possession time and more tired than it needed to be. Knock 3 penalties a game off and both of the losses become winnable. Chynoweth was very displeased about this and used words like "selfish" and "Junior" about the types of infractions being committed.
The Defense needs to be better, but with a combined 5 years experience out there, what can you do? There are 2 rookies, 3 second year pros and third year pro Stef Elliott anchoring the blueline. Getting one of the Avs D next week will help a bunch, but it's still pretty much "earn while you learn" for a while.
Friday 10/10 - Rockford vs Lake Erie 7:30pm, radio on WHKW
Saturday 10/11 - Rockford vs Lake Erie 7:00pm, radio on WKNR, TV(!) at FoxSports Ohio
Interview with Colin Smith & Duncan Siemens about last weekend
Interview with Smith, Siemens and Mitchell Heard about preparing for Rockford
Preview from lakeeriemonsters.com
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I'll be updating the games here and on twitter as usual, even on Saturday when the Avs play the Caps concurrently. I'll also post recaps and links the day after. Enjoy!