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From the Monsters Desk: Week 6 - Midweek in Grand Rapids

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The beloved Monsters head up to Grand Rapids today to face everyone's favorite opponent for the fourth of ten meetings this season. This is good news, LEM is 2-1 vs the Griffs and 2-5-2 against everyone else.

News

- Garrett Meurs and Gabe Beaupre were assigned to the Komets on Monday. With Vincour and/or Bourke returning to the lineup soon, Meurs needed to get some PT. There are rumors that Beaupre has been nursing an undisclosed injury and he might be going down to FTW to get some conditioning in.

The Komets now sport a healthy contingent of Lake Erie players with Meurs, Mitch Heard, Reid Petryk and Nate Condon at forward, Beaupre and Joey Leach on defense and Sami Aittokallio in net. Francois Tremblay, who crafted a shutout in his only FTW appearance, has been loaned back to Victoriaville of the QMJHL due to lack of room in the system.

- Tomas Vincour was spotted at practice Monday without a non-contact jersey for the first time this year, which is fantastic news. Vincour injured his knee early in the pre-season while playing for the Avs. Tomas racked up 5G/6A in 6 games for LEM back in 2013 so he's going to be a great addition to the club when ready. The Avs put him on waivers Tuesday so he would be available for tonight's game if he clears.

- Article from the good folks at OilerNation about how the jump from Junior to AHL is a pretty big deal and we really shouldn't worry if our favorite prospects don't tear it up right away

- Fun video from Head Hooligan Jeff Adelsberg of Picks doing a shooting drill as a skater in Monday's practice. It's from facebook so I apologize in advance, still worth checking out.

- An article from the Plain Dealer on the disturbing trend of the Monsters being outscored 16-6 in the 3rd period this year [now 17-7, ouch]

- Some interesting stats in this article from the Hockey Writers about how the new AHL OT rules are affecting the amount of shootouts in the league. 18.1% of OT games have made it to the shootout so far compared to 64.5% last year. Another way to look at it, 4.03% of all games have gone to the skills comp compared to 20.83%.

- The Iowa Wild have been a giant pile of suck so far this year with a 2-10 record, the worst in the league by a fair margin. Coach Kurt Kleinendorst has been fired and former Houson Aeros HC John Torchetti moves in to replace him.

- Mitch Heard is now 2nd in ECHL scoring with 8G/5A in 8 games for the league leading Ft Wayne Komets [8-1]. He earned ECHL Player of the Week honors with 6 points in 2 games. Well done!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>CONGRATULATIONS <a href="https://twitter.com/Heardawg48">@Heardawg48</a>!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ECHL?src=hash">#ECHL</a> Player of the Week with 3 goals &amp; 3 assists in 2 games! <a href="http://t.co/OM0YJYLuEc">http://t.co/OM0YJYLuEc</a> <a href="http://t.co/XkSi5OynyS">pic.twitter.com/XkSi5OynyS</a></p>&mdash; Fort Wayne Komets (@FWKomets) <a href="https://twitter.com/FWKomets/status/532269347847540737">November 11, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Recap: LEM vs Utica

The Monsters fell 4-1 vs the Comets Friday after what I’ll call some bad luck and inconsistent play. Shot total was improved with 30 on the night, but they still allowed 35 toward their own net and while the power play looked better it was ineffective yet again.

Utica opened the scoring 1:54 into the first when Mike Zalewski flew through the zone, Max Noreau lost his stick somehow defending him and it ended up hitting Calvin right before the puck zipped over his glove. Weird. The second goal early in the 2nd was hard work and a goalscorer’s touch from Hunter Shinkaruk. Minutes later Utica generated a 2v2, Stefan Elliott failed to cover the pass and a one-timer whistled past Picks’ ear. The Comets added an ENG and that’s all she wrote.

As seen in the above gif, Borna Rendulic scored a highlight reel goal for LEM’s only tally of the night. Just awesome. If he figures out how to do that consistently and cut down on the clownshoes play the Avs really have something.

Ben Street made his Monsters debut and wasn’t all that noticeable understandably, but still managed 4 SOG. I think he’s going to be a good addition once he finds his game legs. I worry a bit that there’s too much finesse and not enough grit on both the top lines and the PP now. Guys like Cheek and Henley and Everberg create space for the smaller skill players and without that element we see too much perimeter passing and not enough grinding in front of the net.

The Good
- Rendulic’s goal, it was unassisted so he was the only Monster to receive a point Friday
- Maggio had a fantastic hit in the 2nd, immediately answered the bell and clobbered his opponent and somehow manged to draw a penalty in the process. Yes, that’s clowny if we’re speaking of NHL hockey but it fired up the crowd and the team responded with some good energy as well. Well done, Mags.
- Picks played well. He should have had the 3rd goal, but on the other hand Elliott should have covered the guy too
- Rendulic, Street, Smith, Sgarbossa and Noreau all had 4 SOG
- PK was 4/4

The Bad
- 0/7 on the PP
- Inconsistent play, not really an effort issue, just not on it for whatever reasons in stretches of the game. This recap sounds negative but they played a pretty decent game. Just ran into a good team with a good goalie and it didn’t work out. On to the next one.

Preview

No practice intel this week other than the fact that Vincour looks ready. Inserting him into the lineup will shake things up once again. Lines from Friday night:

Carey – Hish – Ryan
Aggz – Street – Rendulic
Schumi – Boss – Smitty
Cheek – Henley – Mags

To be honest, these were shaken up as a result of Ben Street joining the team and were not effective in their first showing. I think we'll see something fairly different especially if Vincour plays. I'd like to see something like:

Carey – Aggz – Ryan
Smitty – Street – Rendulic
Hish – Boss – Vincour
Schumi/Cheek – Henley – Mags

With Gervais returning to service and only 6 D dressed Cody Corbett was the odd man out. A shame, because he was quite good against Texas and brings skill and puck movement that LEM desperately need. It's possible that he and Lauridsen rotate pairing with Stefan Elliott.

The Monsters have had a tough schedule so far with 8 of their games against the top-5 teams in the conference. The other 3 have been vs the Griffs who sit 3 points behind LEM. The rest of November will be a bit kinder to the Monsters with 3 against GRG, a pair against Adirondack, a home & home with Hamilton and finishing up with the hated Marlies. This would be a good time to go on a tear because December looks brutal with 8 games vs Rockford, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Schedule

Wednesday night at Grand Rapids 7:00pm in the ET, radio call on WHK 1420

Links

Stats

Standings

Preview from LEM

Doug Plagens weekly blog

Next up

A pair of home games against the Adirondack Flames on Friday & Saturday

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Watch for updates here and on twitter @mckinley06. Enjoy!