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From the Monsters Desk: Week 25 - Hoggin'

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Last weekend was so Monsters you just had to laugh. Lose to Toronto, who was right above us in the standings and also hadn't beaten LEM yet this season. Then beat Grand Rapids, the best team in the league, in a wicked mix of strategies that no one could have seen coming.

News

- Tuesday night the Avs announced the signing of Mason Geertsen to a 3-year entry level contract. It follows that he should make his way to join the Monsters soon and sign an ATO. I can't tell you how I, and all Avs fans, are looking forward to seeing Geertsen on the ice soon.

- The Monsters put together a vid of all the best goals of the year so far. Check it out:


- The weekly "Get to Know" segment this week features Colin Smith and Garrett Meurs

Playoff picture

Lake Erie is at 66 points with 13 games left to play. The cutoff right now projects to 85 points so if we're going to see playoff games at the Q this is what needs to happen:

10+ wins

9-3-1

8-2-3

7-1-5

4 losses likely ends the dream for 2015.

Recap - Week 24

If the Monsters had won Friday night's game vs the Marlies in regulation, they would have sat in a 3-way tie for 10th. But they didn’t and were and are still in 12th.

After playing great for the first 40:00, the foot came off the gas and Toronto took the momentum all the way until 5:50 into overtime when Greg McKegg scored his second of the night to end the game. In the 3rd the Marlies outshot LEM 12-5 and then 9-2 in OT. It’s hard to say what happened, did they go conservative? Play not to lose? Sure looked like it.

Andrew Agozzino scored the only goal of course, his 19th of the season. As usual Stefan Elliott (6), Aggz (6) and Ben Street (5) led the team in SOG, and as has been the case lately those 3 generated more than half of the Monsters total SOG (30). If you take out the 1st line and top offensive pair by adding Petryk and Beaupre to those numbers, Lake Erie’s other 13 skaters had but 10 SOG for the night. That’s just not going to get you any wins. Yes there are injuries and callups that have degraded the talent available, but you have to get someone generating offense outside of your top guys on a regular basis.

Saturday night's game against Grand Rapids was very strange, honestly it was like 3 games in one. There was the first 12 minutes where the Griffins had the puck the entire time save for a 13 second Monsters PP with Stefan Elliott scoring. There was the next 15 or so minutes where Lake Erie went on a 22-1 SOG run and absolutely dominated. Then there was the final half of the game which resembled a long #clenchy PK with the good guys holding on for the win.

Sami Aittokallio’s been in a tough spot all year, Calvin Pickard has become the man of the future for the Avs and the man of the moment for Lake Erie and his rare starts are inconsistent at best. He looked awful at first, giving up the usual softies and handing out juicy rebounds left and right to the Griffins. Then all of a sudden, it somehow clicked and he was fantastic stopping the last 23 shots of the game in the 2nd and 3rd periods. He received the 2nd star but he was 1st in my book, the team stopped pressuring halfway through the game and left it up to him and he came through.

The turning point of the game was a great play by Garrett Meurs 13:40 into the 1st. While his linemates were changing, he took the puck and skated through a couple of GRG defenders towards the net. They had to trip him to stop the rush and the resulting power play gave the Monsters the confidence to start dominating the game. Tomas Vincour’s score with a half-second remaining in the first was a real gut punch, a late late goal to tie the game up on a horrifying turnover let the momentum continue through the start of the 2nd.

Vincour had another goal, ultimately the game-winner, on a ridiculous saucer pass from Trevor Cheek. Kenny Ryan and Troy Bourke had good chemistry again with a speedy 2v1 score. They work very well together, both very fast and tough on the puck.

Can't argue with 3 points out of 4 for the weekend, it's just frustrating that no matter how LEM plays they can't seem to make up any ground on those above them.

Preview - Rockford

Rockford sits in 5th place in the WC with 81 pts, but only 8 of those have come at the expense of the beloved Monsters. LEM's record against the Hogs is 3-3-1 and this game will close out the season series. Rockford has been on a tear lately going 8-1-1 in their last 10 with Lake Erie only managing a breakeven 4-4-2 mark.

Lines/Pairs from Saturday night:

Aggz/Street/Petryk
Bourke/Mitch/Ryan
Schumi/Sam/Vinny
Meurs/Cheek/Mags

Youds/Clark
Moose/Stef
Duncan/Bruno

Sami
Picks

Scratched: Corbett, Beaupre
Injured: Smitty, Noreau

Duncan Siemens returned to the lineup after missing 2 games with an undisclosed something. Hard to say when Geertsen will make his Monsters debut but I doubt it will be on this road trip. Garrett Meurs strong game on Saturday makes icing the 11F/7D configuration less likely. I'd say the lineup pretty much stays as is for the Rockford game.

Schedule

Monsters at Rockford 8:00pm in the ET, radio on WKNR

Links

Stats

Standings

Preview from LEM - unavailable at press time

Next up

Friday & Sunday at Charlotte

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Tonight's game runs concurrently with the Avs showdown in Edmonton, check back here for all the news and recaps. Enjoy!