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From the Monsters Desk: Week 8 - Old Friends from the Goon Squad Division

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The beloved Monsters take a trip down Memory Lane this weekend with a home and home vs the Hamilton Bulldogs followed by a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Marlies.

News

- A total of 6 Lake Erie Regulars have seen action for the parent Colorado Avalanche this week. Calvin Pickard had a start and 2 wins in relief. Andrew Agozzino made his NHL debut and had an assist. Tomas Vincour has played in 3 games and also has an assist. Ben Street and Paul Carey saw time in 2 games and Karl Stollery played Wednesday night.

- Agozzino, Carey and Stollery are all back with the Monsters. For now.

- Garrett Meurs scored his first goal for the Komets Thanksgiving night, the K's only regulation score in the 2-1 shootout win.

- While Meursy was scoring goals in Ft Wayne, his buds in Cleveland were getting together for Thanksgiving dinner. How many can you name?

- The Syracuse Crunch played the Utica Comets under the Carrier Dome in front of an AHL record 30,715 fans last Saturday night.

- The Charlotte Checkers are planning on moving out of Time Warner Arena and back into their old digs, the currently named Bojangles Coliseum, where they played off-and-on from 1956-2005.

Week 7 Recap: Home/Home with Grand Rapids

Coming into a game on a 5 game losing streak and having just airmailed your first line to the NHL is a tough way to start the night. What could make it tougher? How about a soft goal 19 seconds in? Luckily the Monsters rebounded quickly with a PPG from Borna Rendulic, breaking an 0 for 18 streak with the man advantage. Unfortunately more soft goals were in the cards and the first period, although played well by Lake Erie, ended with the good guys down 3-1. Enter Sami Aittokallio.

The Monsters came out for the 2nd looking determined and with big #74 between the pipes. They won the shot battle 12-4 and Markus Lauridsen scored an extremely timely goal with but a tenth of a second on the clock. Grand Rapids fucked up and totally sat back with the lead. There actually were 5 shots on goal for GRG, but one didn’t count because it was a disallowed goal due to goalie interference. That would prove very costly.

The 3rd period started as a back and forth affair and 7 minutes in the Griffs netted yet another goal from Teemu Pulkkinen. 4-2, ouch. But a half minute later a goal originally credited to Karl Stollery and later determined to be a tip-in by Kenny Ryan drew LEM to within 1 again. Borna Rendulic continued his solid night converting a nice pass from Max Noreau into the tying score with 3 minutes left in the game. A minute later, Joey Hishon found Duncan Siemens open and BAM! the puck was in the net (also later determined to be a Kenny Ryan tip-in). 5-4 Monsters. Some good faceoff work from Mitch Heard and solid D all around closed out the win. Yesss!

Roman Will may one day turn out to be a solid goalie but I can’t see the point in playing him right now. Sure, he played decent against ADK last weekend and in relief of Picks the previous game vs GRG, but on the flipside you have this game and the 2 vs Chicago earlier in the year that were atrocious. Sami’s still pretty shaky out there, but I have to think the players have a lot more confidence in him than with young Roman and that’s important right now.

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The Monsters and Griffins had alternated wins and losses in the 5 games played before Friday and darned if that didn’t continue with Grand Rapids taking home a 5-2 victory. Paul Carey opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal that was immediately followed by a PPG by the Griffs. Anthony Mantha took advantage of some scrambly defensive play to make it 2-1 and then Sami let in a softie to make it a 3-1 GRG lead at the end of the 1st.

This time the Griffins didn’t let off the gas and the game was relatively even from there on in. Max Noreau scored a PPG off a beautiful faceoff draw from Joey Hishon to get it within 2 after 2 but the 3rd produced only an empty-netter for the Griffs and a loss for the Monsters.

I despise referees that insist on inserting themselves into the storyline like the crew from last night did. This game was no dirtier than your average game and yet there were 14 penalties called, no coincidentals or majors either. 14 minor penalties. As much as I hated most of the calls on LEM, I would bet any Griffs fan would feel the same about the ones called on them. It was absolutely ridiculous and ruined what should have been a really good rematch after the Monsters come from behind triumph on Friday.

Week 8 Preview

Hamilton has started the season with an 8-8-2 record, not bad for the perennial North Division doormats. The Marlies, usually one of the better teams in the AHL, haven't fared as well with a 5-11-2 mark and ahead of only the hapless Iowa Wild in the Western Conference.

This should be an interesting homecoming for Lake Erie, since moving to the Midwest Division this year, their PIMs are way down, only 224 so far at an average of 14.0 per game. The Goon Squad Division reputation continues for Hamilton and Toronto, racking up 385 and 352 PIMs respectively so far. Mags should be available, although I have doubts about his fighting health. Mitch Heard and Sam Henley will throw down if needed, Duncan too but I'd prefer he abstain.

The Monsters have enjoyed a fairly healthy season so far away from all the cheap shots and truculence of the ol' North Division, let's hope that continues.

Lines/Pairs from last weekend:

Schumi – Hish – Rendulic
Carey – Boss – Smitty
Bourke – Heard – Cheek
Mags – Henley – Petryk

Stollery – Noreau
Duncan – Gervais
Moose – Stef

Aggz will be back somewhere on the top 2 lines, pushing some guys down and probably leaving Petryk on the bench. With Picks up with the Avs for now, Sami and Roman are the options at goal and with a 3-in-3 we'll see both. One of these guys needs to get their shit together, anything less than 2 wins isn't going to cut it this weekend.

Schedule

Monsters vs Bulldogs Friday 7:30pm in the ET, radio on 850 WKNR

Monsters at Bulldogs Saturday 7:00pm in the ET, radio on 1420 WHK

Monsters at Marlies Sunday 5:00pm in the ET, radio on 1420 WHK

Links

Stats

Standings

Preview from LEM

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I'll have the usual updates and comments here and on twitter over the weekend. Enjoy!