Monsters: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Cleveland Monsters)

It hasn’t been the greatest of times for the Milwaukee Admirals. In fact, it actually feels like where this up-down run started to really trend for the worse was in this weekend’s fixture: road games against the Cleveland Monsters. The Admirals lost both games at the Quicken Loans Arena a month ago and have gone 5-7-2-0 since they first met the Monsters while only earning a single win in regulation. The Admirals don’t need a Christmas miracle here. They just need to follow up what worked well last weekend and go to work.

The Monsters are entering this weekend’s games with a record of 9-11-3-2 (23 points, 0.460 points percentage). That has them placed sixth in the Central Division behind both the Admirals (0.519) and the surging Chicago Wolves (0.500) who are on a six-game winning streak. The same flash in Chicago can’t be said of Cleveland. Similar to the Admirals the Monsters are very up-down with a bit more downs than ups at the moment. The Monsters have only secured 2 wins in their last 11 games.

An interesting note for these games is activity versus rest. The Admirals haven’t played a game since they completed a taxing three-in-three weekend. Meanwhile the Monsters have been playing on a stretch that has reduced gaps between games: Thursday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday. They have gone 1-2-1-0 in that span including a two-game Texas road trip which trickled into a pair of home games against the Iowa Wild. They were shutout 3-0 on Monday but rallied back -big time- on Wednesday to win 5-4 in overtime. Which Admirals will show up after a week of rest and practice? And which Monsters are they going to face-off with? If it is the one that finished up Wednesday to get two late third period goals to force overtime and then pick up the win? The Admirals better buckle up for that first period and play smart.

What is a slight bit nutty about the Monsters is that despite only seeing the Admirals in 3 games this season – it is this match-up where they have produced 18.2% of their goals so far this season. The Monsters are the lowest scoring team in the entire league at the moment having scored 55 goals from 25 games. The next closest to them in that department are the Ontario Reign who still have 6 goals more.

Carter Camper is the current leading scorer for the Monsters this season. The 29-year old center has produced 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 25 games. He is also the top scorer of this head-to-head having picked up 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) against the Admirals in the 3 games played back in November.

If I were to guess what’s going on with the goaltending in Cleveland it would be that veteran Brad Thiessen, who hasn’t played in December, must be out due to injury. That has left duties to Matiss Kivlenieks and Ivan Kulbakov. The primary responsibilities fall on Kivlenieks and in December he has had only a single game at or above a 0.900 save percentage… it has been tough sledding because Kulbakov in 3 starts has had a 4.01 goals against average and 0.877 save percentage. This of course could all mean nothing as Kivlenieks’ start against the Admirals back on 11/16/17 wasn’t necessarily the best but the Monsters still earned a win on the night due to a rough outing from the Admirals.

What are your expectations for tonight and tomorrow’s games against the Cleveland Monsters? Do you think a good amount of down time between last weekend’s three-in-three and this final road set before the Christmas break is a positive thing for the Milwaukee Admirals?

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