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From the Monsters Desk: Week 13 - Midweek in Milwaukee

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The beloved Monsters are on a bit of a slide recently, going 1-4-1 in their last 6 after a nice hot streak. Roman Will started the last 5 games and the Monsters have been outscored 20-11 in that stretch. Good news, Picks is back.

News

- Calvin Pickard and Dennis Everberg were reassigned to LEM on Sunday and should be ready to go tonight. Yesss!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Photo: Calvin Pickard &amp; Dennis Everberg during <a href="https://twitter.com/monstershockey">@monstershockey</a> morning skate today <a href="http://t.co/QPfLIO6MUa">pic.twitter.com/QPfLIO6MUa</a></p>&mdash; Doug Plagens (@DougPlagens) <a href="https://twitter.com/DougPlagens/status/549975183810109443">December 30, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

- Young Roman Will was sent down to Ft Wayne Sunday and started for the Komets last night, giving up 6 goals on 28 shots in a 6-5 loss.

- Reid Petryk was recalled from Ft Wayne on Sunday

- Sam Henley was a "healthy" scratch in the last 2 Monsters games which makes little sense if he was actually healthy. Let's hope whatever has been ailing him has cleared up. Tomas Vincour was also scratched in the last game, probably for health reasons. Dan Maggio has been out with an ankle injury for a couple of weeks now.

- The Monsters have a PDO of 992 right now, 20th in the league. The scary thing is LEM is 29th in Sv% at .893 and 5th in Sh% at 9.92%. We get some decent goaltending and another big run is pretty much guaranteed.

Recap: Week 12

A slow start in general and 2 bad goals against early (as usual unfortunately) put the Monsters in a hole they couldn’t get out of Friday night. They played great for the last 10 minutes of the 1st and the whole second period, but a lackluster 3rd left them down 4-1 at the end against a team they really needed to beat.

Sami’s been out for a while with LBI and definitely would be the choice to start Saturday against the league-leading Comets, so there’s not much to argue with in starting Roman on Friday. This phenomena of letting in 2 goals early in the 1st period has to stop tho’, it’s killing the team having to come from behind every night. In Roman’s defense he played well after the 2 laughers, the 3rd goal was on a long 5v3 and the 4th was empty net.

The power play has been an issue all year, making it worse is Lake Erie draws the fewest penalties per game in the entire league, and I see the need to try things, but Friday’s units were pretty bad and not even surprisingly so. The only PPG out of 6 tries came from Stefan Elliott at the end of a long double-minor. Take a look at the 2 units with each player’s rank in points per game:

First unit – Hish (8th), Rendulic (12th), Vincour (17th), Elliott (2nd), Noreau (3rd)
Second unit – Sgarbossa (4th), Heard (16th), Schumacher (t-6th), Gervais (21st), Corbett (19th)

Sporadic PP use – Smith (1st), Carey (5th), Aggz (7th)
Not used – Bourke (t-6th), Ryan (9th), Lauridsen (11th), Stollery (13th)

Gervais is on pace for a whopping 6 points this year, yet he replaces Moose/Stalls on the PP for some reason. I understand using Corbett because he moves the puck well and it’s probably the only reason he’s in the lineup. I also sort of understand using Vinny because he’s in a major slump and the team would really like him to get going, but he’s just a grinder at this point and that goes for Mitch and Rendulic too. I see no reason to believe that those fellows are going to start to score just by putting them in better situations.

To take that a step further, Hish had an ugly game, no shots and -2. Putting him with Vinny and Borna 5v5 makes him more of a distributor and puck-mover than a shooter. When he’s on his game he shoots a lot and that was missing Friday night.

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Saturday's game against Utica was like 3 games in one. A competitive 1st period, a savage beatdown in the 2nd and a valiant score-effect semi-comeback in the 3rd. Ultimately defensive mistakes, sloppy penalties and mediocre goaltending led to a 6-3 loss. Roman Will started the game and let up 4 goals in the first two periods. Sami replaced him in the 3rd and looked fine. It’s easy to say Sami should have started the game, so I will.

Early in the 2nd period, Duncan Siemens had the puck right outside the Monsters blueline with Brandon DeFazio right on him. DeFazio pokechecked it away from behind and since Bruno Gervais had already flown the zone for whatever reason, he had a clear break on Roman Will and blew it right past him for a hat trick. Siemens was benched for the rest of the period.

I hated this move at first but now I can see some logic behind it. Yes, it was a big mistake but the other Ds were shitting the bed all game as well. Having 7 defensemen dressed allowed the staff to send a message to both Duncan and the rest to get their heads in the game. It also allowed some cooling off time for a young D that might have been thinking he just singlehandedly put the game out of reach for the whole squad. It was some tough love but it ended up fine, Siemens came back in the 3rd and played well the rest of the way. I don’t doubt he learned something from it.

Preview: LEM @ Milwaukee

The Monsters and the Admirals square off for the 4th of 10 meetings tonight. A couple of weeks ago these teams split a midweek series at the Q and early in the season LEM earned a shootout loss in MKE. Milwaukee sits in 7th place in the WC but just 3 points ahead of Lake Erie.

With Roman moving on and Picks back, the Monsters need to start fresh and forget the past 2 weeks. Dennis Everberg will add some skill, size and puck possession to the top-6 and power play. Patrick Roy commented that Evs was sent down to play a lot, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him getting close to 20 minutes a night.

Max Noreau leads the team with 20 points, followed closely by Colin Smith & Stefan Elliott at 19.

Smith, Carey and Elliott lead the team in goals with 8.

Mike Sgarbossa leads the team in assists with 15

Schedule

Tonight at Milwaukee 8:00pm in the ET, radio on WKNR

Links

Stats

Standings

Preview from LEM

Next up

Two games this weekend vs OKC at the Q

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Take a night off from our beloved but frustrating Avs and follow the Monsters and Calvin Pickard as they take on the Admirals. I'll have updates here and on twitter. Enjoy!