The beloved Monsters take their usual Spring-ish roadie down to play Texas and San Antonio, thankfully it's only a week this year and not the usual 10-12 days. Tonight they face the Baby Stars and hit the Alamo on the weekend. Only 4 points short of a playoff spot and in direct competition with the Stars, these are big games.
- Calvin Pickard was called up to the Avs to start against the Kings last night and possibly continue. Perhaps his short outing leaves hope he could be back with the team by Friday.
- It follows that with Calvin in Colorado, young Roman Will would be called up from Fort Wayne. Unfortunately Roman is injured and had an MRI for some reason or other and is unavailable. So...
- Goalie Evan Mosher of the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) was signed to a PTO yesterday to back up Sami in Calvin's absence. He's a small fella and was in the Q before playing in Canadian University system. With any luck we'll never see him on the ice.
- Joey Hishon has missed a couple of Avs games with elbow and neck injuries, Freddie Hamilton is still up there as well. There's a possibility that Smooth Johnny Mitchell was injured last night so there could be another forward heading to Colorado soon and there are only 6 defensemen up there right now so one of the Monsters D might get a call also. I can't imagine where LEM will get replacements this time of year if that happens.
Recap - Week 22
Once the Monsters showed up about 10 minutes into Friday's game, good things started to happen. Tomas Vincour scored a couple of badly needed goals, I don’’t know if he finally got lucky or healthy or what but this is what we’ve been waiting for all year. Aggz scored a nice one and had a bunch of other chances, both he and Ben Street ended the night with 6 SOG. Street iced the game 4:28 into OT with a wild angle shot 3v3. Sami gave Picks a needed rest and was good enough to get it done with 41 saves. Well done, gents.
Ben Youds made his Monsters debut and looked pretty damn good. Dude can stickhandle like a madman and move the puck well, likes to shoot too. The biggest thing I took away was that Coach Dean finally started allocating PT properly for the defense. Duncan/Stef & Youds/Clark took the majority of the shifts starting about halfway through the game, but unfortunately when he did put Bruno out there the usual shitshow ensued. He was on the ice for all 3 CHI goals (one was PP) and I really hope that registers with the staff this time. Duncan had one of his best games as a Monster, getting the extra shifts seemed to get him into the play more. Looked much more complete out there and not having to deal with Gervais’ bullshit left him free to push the play and use his skills. Very promising.
Sunday afternoon, Calvin Pickard crafted a masterful shutout win to move into sole possession of first all-time in wins for Lake Erie. The story was good defense. All night. I wholeheartedly admit confirmation bias on the subject, but not having Bruno Gervais in the lineup made a noticeably positive difference in the play from the blueline – with the caveat that new additions Mat Clark and Ben Youds are definite upgrades. Andrew Agozzino’s goal in the 1st was the only score of the game.
The twin wins this weekend leave the Monsters still in 12th place in the WC with 60 pts, but the spread is very tight. Hamilton is in 7th with 65 pts, Texas is in 8th with 64 and Adirondack, Chicago & Toronto all have 63. Not a ton of reason to hope, but they’re not dead yet.
Preview - Texas
The Stars now sit in 9th place in the WC, 4 points ahead of Lake Erie with 19 games each left to play. While last weekend showed some signs of coming out of the slump, LEM still only have 9 pts in their last 10 games compared to Texas' 13 - the difference in their records. Tonight and Tuesday's games against Texas may as well be must wins, we win both in regs and we're back to being tied in effect.
Lineup from Sunday:
Injured: Mitch, Bruno plus Smitty & Noreau of course
Sami will start with Mosher backing up and other than that I expect to see the same squad on the ice barring returns from injury. Kyle Jean made his Monsters debut last game and was capable and quite large on the 4th line.
Monsters at Stars 8:30pm in the ET, radio on WHK
Preview from LEM - unavailable at press time
Friday & Saturday nights at San Antonio
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No Avs game tonight so stop by and support your Lake Erie Monsters. I'll have all the updates here and on twitter. Enjoy!