The Oklahoma City Barons travel to the Q Arena tonight and tomorrow for that last time under that name. The beloved Monsters are coming off a much needed OT win Tuesday against Milwaukee and need to keep racking up points like they were before the Roman skid.
The Barons are thought to be relocating to somewhere in California next year along with several other teams to create the long-rumored AHL West Coast division. The Barons have roots in several franchises from several leagues including the Houston Apollos of the original CHL, the Phoenix Roadrunners of the IHL and the original Hamilton Bulldogs. The Oilers have owned all or part of the franchise since the late 90's and the Barons were resurrected in 2010 after last competing as the Edmonton Roadrunners in 2005.
- Monsters forward Borna Rendulic was called up to Colorado this week and played against the Flyers Wednesday, scoring his first NHL goal in the Avs 4-3 OT win. Well done!
- Sami Aittokallio hooked up with some new pads from Vaughan this week. Look pretty sharp.
- Defenseman Joey Leach was called up from the Komets Wednesday in a move that has troubling implications towards the health of the Monsters' defense. Markus Lauridsen was absent from Tuesday's game for at least the 3rd period and possibly more. Duncan Siemens was also scratched in what we perceived as a doghouse move but he did take a shot off the leg late in Saturday's game and was visibly laboring afterward. Unfortunately, Leach's callup hints that one or both are unavailable for this weekend's games. More info on this as we get it.
- Komets starting goalie Pat Nagle has been called up to the Rochester Americans. Nagle's played very well this year and was dressed as a backup for a couple LEM games. Sucks that he has to wear the evil red, white & blue shield, especially since we play the Amerks next week, but he deserves a look from someone.
Recap: Game 31 at Milwaukee
Optimism abounded at the beginning with Calvin Pickard back in net and Dennis Everberg in the top-6. The Monsters came out strong in the first period with goals from Aggz, Carey and Elliott and things were looking swell. It didn't last. Another gruesome 2nd period + half of the 3rd and things were all tied up. Andrew Agozzino put the Monsters ahead with about 2 minutes to go but more shitty defense allowed MKE to tie it again with less than a minute to go. Mitch Heard scored on a great pass from Paul Carey in OT for a nice win, but allowing Milwaukee to get the loser point left a sour taste on the victory.
Looking for someone to throw under the bus? Let's try Bruno Gervais! He was on the ice and out of position on all 4 Milwaukee goals. He's been a total nightmare lately and never gets benched, in fact the poorer he plays the more playing time he seems to get. Hopefully, like Matt Hunwick last year, he gets his head out of his ass before he does too much more damage but it doesn't look encouraging. That said, he's not the only D to blame lately, just the most obvious one. If you're the captain and immune to benching, you gotta take the blame.
Some positives: Aggz had 2 goals, Carey had 1G/3A, Boss had 3A, Noreau had 2A and Elliott and Heard had goals. I'll give a shoutout to Mitch Heard, he's slowing winning me over and has gotten better and better since his recall from Ft Wayne.
Preview: LEM vs OKC
The Barons are on a 5-game winning streak and sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference. Centers Anton Lander and Jason Williams and defenseman Brad Hunt are all scoring at a point a game or better. Goalie Laurent Brossoit is among the league leaders with a GAA of 2.18 and a Sv% of .927. They're a good team
While the Monsters are enjoying some luck this year in the health department, that might be changing. As of Tuesday's game Dan Maggio was out with an ankle injury and Tomas Vincour is out with LBI. Sam Henley, Markus Lauridsen and Duncan Siemens may be having some issues as well. Not the usual epidemic, but it's becoming a concern.
Lines/pairs at the start of Tuesday's game:
Bourke moved up to Hish's LW and Mitch saw time with various lines. The D were rotating a lot with Moose's absence.
Max Noreau is leading the team in points with 22, followed by Boss with 21 and Carey, Elliott & Smitty with 20.
Paul Carey and Stefan Elliott lead LEM with 9 goals each.
Mike Sgarbossa is killing it in the assist department with 18.
Friday night vs OKC at 7:30pm in the ET, radio on 850 WKNR
Saturday night vs OKC at 7:00pm in the ET, radio on WHK 1420
Preview from LEM
No mid-week games for a change, next weekend back to Rochester and Hamilton. Next 5 games are on the road.
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Game 1 starts before the Avs/Oilers on Friday and game 2 has no Avs conflict on Saturday. Check back here and on twitter for updates and recaps. Enjoy!