Monsters, IceHogs Go Again Saturday Night
Having not played since one week ago, the Lake Erie Monsters (9-6-1-0) will return to the ice to begin three games in three nights with the first of consecutive home games against the Rockford IceHogs (7-8-0-1). Friday and Saturday night's action begins at 7:30 PM, and marks the renewal of a rivalry that saw the two teams total 130 penalty minutes and four game misconducts in their first of four meetings this season; a 6-3 IceHogs win in Rockford on November 3. The Monsters are 0-2-1-0 in their last three, while Rockford is coming off a 5-4 home win over Peoria on Wednesday, and is 2-4-0-0 in their last six games since topping the Monsters earlier this month.
LAST TIME OUT
On Friday November 16, the Monsters fell in overtime to the Grand Rapids Griffins at The Q by a 6-5 score, extending the Monsters winless streak to three games. However, the Monsters scored five times, snapping a string of back-to-back games in which they were shutout. The Monsters held a 3-0 lead past the halfway point of the second period, before eventually falling behind 5-4 in the third before Bryan Lerg scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to force overtime with 1:09 left in regulation. Mitchell Heard scored his first professional goal in the game, while Tyson Barrie added a pair of assists, but one Monsters player had what could be a breakout performance...
WHO TO WATCH: MONSTERS
David van der Gulik scored twice, and had an assist for three points in the overtime loss to Grand Rapids last week. His three points gave him his first multi-point game of the season. van der Gulik is always fundamentally sound, and brings a lead-by-example effort to the rink every night. A three point game could be the beginning of a roll for the veteran forward, who accumulated seven multi-point performances last season.
WHO TO WATCH: ICEHOGS
As was the story the first time the Monsters and Rockford played, Brandon Pirri's statistics show a correlation between his individual points, and team victories for the 'Hogs. Pirri was held to a single assist over the season's first four games, and Rockford was 0-3-0-1 over that span. Since the fifth game of the season, Pirri has 12 points in 12 games on six goals and six assists, and the IceHogs are 7-5-0-0 in the dozen contests. Pirri also has a pair of game-winning goals on the season.
If you can't make it to Quicken Loans Arena for this weekend's Monsters-IceHogs action, Friday's game can be heard live on AM 1220 WHKW beginning at 7:30 PM. Saturday's game can be heard live at 7:30 PM on ESPN 850 WKNR, and can be seen live on MY 43 THE BLOCK WUAB.