It has been quite some time since the Milwaukee Admirals and Lake Erie Monsters have clashed. The two met for the first two meetings of the season in early November, both games taking place in Milwaukee, and they’ve not met up again until tonight.
Want a perfect teaser as to what we’ll be getting to see tonight? Let’s venture back to when we last left off in the season series back on 11/11/15. It was the Admirals Inaugural School Day Game, with a 10:30 AM start time, and ended with a 6-3 Admirals win and Kevin Fiala taking a late game misconduct major for flipping off the Monsters bench. …and that shall set the tone for the evening.
Of note, the Monsters entered the last game against the Admirals as the second best team in the Central Division. They now find themselves in fourth place with a record of 17-10-2-2 (38 points) with a 0.613 points percentage. The two teams to have zipped past them during that time are the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Admirals. Though, small measure of revenge, the Monsters were the team to end the Griffins franchise record fifteen game winning streak. The only other team to have taken down the Griffins in their last eighteen games just so happens to be the Admirals.
Extra Recapping: the Admirals have won both games against the Monsters in regulation… the Admirals have outscored the Monsters, 9-4… the leading point getters in the head-to-head haven’t even scored goals as both Vladislav Kamenev and Adam Payerl have 3 assists… the Admirals power-play is 20.0% (2/10) against the Monsters and, while that sounds bad, that’s only because of the 1/8 that occurred during the AM game… the Admirals penalty kill has gone 66.7% (6/9) against the Monsters… both Max Reinhart and Pontus Åberg have 2 goals in the season match-up… Juuse Saros has started in net for both games against the Monsters and stopped 55/59 shots on goal for a 0.932 save percentage and 2.00 goals against average.
Random Fact: the Lake Erie Monsters are the only team in the AHL with a points percentage of 0.600 or better and to not have more goals forced than goals against. They are currently an even split with 83 goals forced and 83 goals against.
The Monsters leading scorer this season is currently center T.J. Tynan who has produced 21 points (2 goals, 19 assists) in 31 games. Mind you, they do have Kerby Rychel in camp and he has a better points per game average (0.94) than Tynan (0.68). The main goal scoring threats come from wingers Daniel Zaar (9 goals) and Josh Anderson (8 goals) who are first and second for the Monsters in that category.
In net, we might get a chance to see the Admirals and their ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones, have a clashing of the heads so to speak. The Monsters have once again signed goaltender Brad Thiessen to a PTO contract as it appears Joonas Korpisalo is either out due to injury or out due to form lately. The urge for me to bring Thiessen on Chatterbox will be up there just so I can ask about my favorite photo to come out of Cincinnati this season. …I digress.
It’s more than likely that the Admirals will be facing Anton Forsberg in net for the Monsters. This season he has made 21 appearances in net for a 12-6-2-0 record which has garnered a 2.60 goals against average and 0.900 save percentage. Against the Admirals, Forsberg has started both games while stopping 28/33 shots on goal for a 3.78 goals against average and 0.848 save percentage. He was pulled from the net after allowing three goals in the first period in the last game against the Admirals.
Expectations for tonight’s game? Do you feel there will be any attempts by the Lake Erie Monsters to target Kevin Fiala after what transpired in the previous game? Could the Admirals be planning on dressing seven defensemen and using yesterday’s recall, Jonathan Diaby, as a deterrent against such proceedings by Lake Erie against Fiala?