Lake Erie wishes they looked that beastly. On paper they look pretty average but still should match up well with the Admirals. The Monsters currently sit third in the Western Conference’s North Division: 15-13-0-3 (33 points). What comes to mind when looking at their team numbers is this: 31 games, 83 goals scored, and 95 goals allowed. Of the North Division no team has allowed more goals than Lake Erie.
The Ads kick off the new year with these two road games in Lake Erie. Since their thrashing in Grand Rapids, the Ads have managed to string together some great results over their previous six games: 4-1-1-0 (9 points). They’ve played 30 games now and hold second place in the Midwest Division behind the Griffins with a record of 16-8-5-1 (38 points). To give some perspective on the above mentioned goals scored/allowed for Lake Erie – the Ads have scored 80 goals and have allowed 73 goals. The Ads simply play a smarter and more composed game than their counter parts. If you disagree with that: the Ads have 452 penalty minutes to the Monsters 685 penalty minutes.
The top scorers of the Monsters are Bryan Lerg and Mark Olver. Lerg leads the team in goals scored (12), is tied for the team lead in assists (15), and leads the team in scoring (27). Olver is tied for second best on the team in goals scored (7), is tied with Lerg with the team lead in assists (15), and has the second most points (22) on the Monsters. Now here is the bad news regarding them. They have a combined 49 points scored, good, but a combined plus/minus of -26. When you are the top two in scoring and are still rated that badly – something awful is going on.
The Monsters are among the few teams I’ve looked at this year in the AHL who have managed to only play two goalies this season: Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio. Not only that, but they are evenly distributing that work load very well with similar results. Pickard has played in 17 games for 991:16 minutes in net and a 0.904 SV%. Aittokallio has played in 16 games for 889:56 minutes in net and a 0.908 SV%. The way these two have operated I wouldn’t be shocked to get a dose of both Pickard and Aittokallio in these two games in Lake Erie.
Ads/Wisconsin products on the Lake Erie Monsters include the following: Markus Lauridsen (Green Bay Gamblers, 2010-12), Calvin Pickard (guilty by association.. Chet’s brother), Cam Reid (Admirals, 2012-13), and Russ Sinkewich (Admirals, 2008-09).
Ads News: No word yet on Joonas Rask or Scott Valentine’s availability for these games. Some good news though came via the Twitter machine from Patrick Cehlin:
Great way to kick off the new year with some icetime. First time back after 2 months #progressing
— Patrick Cehlin (@PattyC29) January 2, 2014
Cehlin has missed 23 games this season including the last 22 straight-games.His last game was on 11/3/13 @ Iowa where he scored a goal and an assist. If he’s on the comeback trail – it could be a great boost to have his skill on offense back in the mix. No time table for him as of yet.
UPDATE: Scott Valentine made the trip to Lake Erie but isn’t expected to factor in tonight’s game. Tonight’s starting goaltenders will be Scott Darling squaring off against Calvin Pickard.
Thoughts on the match up with the Lake Erie Monsters? Should the “Goalie of the Month” carry the load in both of these games in Lake Erie or should Magnus Hellberg be given a chance in the two-in-two? Is it safe to expect any hang over from not playing since last Sunday (the Monsters played on Wednesday in Utica)?