Hello and welcome to the month of March. This should be a very important month for the Milwaukee Admirals as March has a whopping 14 games attached to it including 9 road games. For as relaxing as that month of January and start of February felt this is the weights and balances of the Hockey Schedule Gods who have made the Admirals playoff push through March a grinder. The first opponent to kick things off should send that message home rather well.
The Lake Erie Monsters enter tonight’s game with a record of 30-17-5-4 (69 points). Their 0.616 points percentage sees them sitting in fourth place of the Central Division and fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
As far as timing goes, the Admirals probably couldn’t have entered Cleveland for a two-game set against the Monsters at a worse time. The Monsters have been on one of their best runs of form this season and have pulled in a record of 8-1-1-1 over their last 11 games – which covers their month of February. They enter with a winning streak of 3 games and a point streak of 5 games.
What is the cause for all of this recent success? Well, that’s what should scare you the most when looking at these two games against the Monsters because they’ve been doing it each and every way possible. The Monsters have had a pair of shutouts from Brad Thiessen. They have scored 3 or more goals in 8 of these past 11 games.
In those past 11 games the Monsters have been backed by great individual performances: Michael Chaput, 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists)… Daniel Zaar, 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists)… Oliver Bjorkstrand, 9 points (6 goals, 3 assists)… Josh Anderson, 7 points (5 goals, 2 assists).
~Brick Wall Brad~
I think a lot can be made of the Monsters season by the performances in net by their goaltender Thiessen. If you all remember, Thiessen’s season all started off with the Admirals’ ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones. He played 15 games, had a record of 8-3-1-2, a 1.86 goals against average, 0.935 save percentage, and a shutout with the Cyclones. But the veteran netminder got his due to return to the AHL as a member of the Monsters. Why? Injures to the goaltenders of the Columbus Blue Jackets that had Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo both trek up from the AHL to help out their parent club. Who was their to help keep the ship afloat as the goaltending position was in trouble for the Monsters? Thiessen.
This season Thiessen is putting together his best numbers at the AHL level since he was a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the 2010-11 season. In 19 games with the Monsters Thiessen has a 10-3-4-2 record with a 1.85 goals against average, 0.932 save percentage, and 3 shutouts.
When you look specifically at what Thiessen has meant for the Monsters look to the points percentage before he arrived (12/19/15) to where the Monsters are today. Prior to Thiessen’s arrival to the Monsters the team had a 15-7-1-2 record for a 0.660 points percentage. Since, the Monsters have had a 15-10-4-2 record for a 0.581 points percentage. It isn’t as great but, considering the tough spot the Monsters were in with both their main goaltenders frequently up and out of the squad, Thiessen has allowed for this team to keep their heads above water and let the players in front of the goalie do their thing and not worry about a goaltending weakness.
Expectations for these two games against the Lake Erie Monsters? With so many road games this month how do you see the Milwaukee Admirals combating fatigue as well as all these high level opponents in their playoff push?
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