If there were ever a time for the Milwaukee Admirals to get on a run it is right now with a two-in-two against the Lake Erie Monsters. The Admirals have fallen out of the playoff picture following their weekend defeats to the Chicago Wolves and there is only one team sitting beneath them now in the Midwest Division. That’s where the Monsters come in. Time is running out. And the Admirals need to start earning points very badly. The time to collect is now.
~Short & Sweet~
The Monsters are 30-26-6 -4 (70 points) entering tonight’s game. They are last in the Midwest Division. That being said, it’s not as if they are a bad team. The Midwest Division features teams that all have records above .500 or better. The only other division in the AHL that can say the same is the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
In their last ten games the Monsters have gone 5-3-1-1 (12 points) while winning their previous two contests. Those last two games came on the road against the Charlotte Checkers and they won 3-2 and 5-1.
~Recording Team History~
This season could be going better for the Monsters but that doesn’t mean some individuals haven’t stepped up a notch along the way. Monsters play-by-play man Doug Plagens said as much yesterday on Twitter with the following facts:
Stefan Elliott has recorded 5 goals in the Monsters’ previous six games. Elliott’s work this season has helped him to tie Ryan Stoa for the Monsters’ all-time records in power-play goals (18) and game-winning goals.
Andrew Agozzino tied T.J. Hensick for the Monsters’ all-time lead in assists (92). Agozzino has also set a Monsters’ record for a points streak of eleven games that will be active when the Admirals play tonight.
~Possible AHL Player of the Month of March~
Let’s go back to Agozzino for a moment. His month of March has been stunningly good for Lake Erie. He has 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) in twelve games this month. All of that has come in a stretch of the last eleven consecutive games. His points production leads the team on the season with 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists). The next closest on the team is the defenseman Elliott who has 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists).
~Head to Head~
The Admirals and Monsters actually mirror each other rather well. They have played eight games against one another on the season and have split the season series to date. The Admirals power-play at home is bad, ney the league’s worst, and -hey- the Monsters power-play at home is also poor. Both special teams for these teams are improved when on the road so the advantage tonight, on paper, should be for the Admirals.
The top scorer for the Monsters in this match up is Paul Carey with 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists). For those that remember things such as trades though. He isn’t a product of the Colorado Avalanche organization anymore. He quite literally shipped up to Boston.
That means the successor is Joey Hishon with 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists). Oh wait. He’s in Colorado whilst their injury struggles have hampered them. So, he’s not here either.
That lastly gives the title for top scorer against the Admirals this season, active on the Monsters roster tonight, to Colin Smith who has produced 4 points (0 goals, 4 assists). He is followed by: Agozzino, 3 points (3 goals, 0 assists)… Mitchell Heard, 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist)… Ben Street, 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists)… Maxim Noreau, 3 points (0 goals, 3 assists).
The Admirals top scorers in this match up are Colton Sissons with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) and Pontus Åberg with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). In addition, Kevin Fiala has scored a point per game against the Monsters. He has scored 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in only four games.
Goaltending in the match-up has been pretty good for the Admirals. Marek Mazanec has recorded two of his four shutouts this season against the Monsters but has been hit and miss outside of those games by allowing 12 goals in his other three appearances for a 2.43 goals against average and 0.897 save percentage against Lake Erie. Magnus Hellberg has been really solid in his three appearances against the Monsters with a 1.55 goals against average and 0.943 save percentage. As for the Monsters? They only have one goaltender this season with a sub-3.00 goals against average and save percentage above .900 and that would be none other than Chet’s brother.
The Wolves might be a team more willing to talk that box but the Monsters have proven themselves more than willing combatants on the season. There have been a total of eleven fights between the Admirals and Monsters in eight games this season. Daniel Maggio, Rich Clune, and the Monsters’ Heard have all dropped the gloves four times on the season. Plenty of those for Clune and Heard came against one-another.
There have been a grand total of 272 combined penalty minutes. The Monsters have averaged 17.6 penalty minutes against the Admirals. The Admirals have averaged 16.4 penalty minutes against the Monsters. I wouldn’t expect the aggression levels to drop any with both teams clawing for a role to be had in the playoffs.
Expectations for tonight and tomorrow’s games? What will the Admirals need to do in order to start cranking out wins? Do you go with Mazanec or Hellberg in net tonight?