What's On Tap...Heading to Hamilton

Labatt Blue
What's on Tap
The Lake Erie Monsters head to Hamilton, Ontario, Monday to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs in the fifth of eight meetings between the clubs in the 2009-10 regular season. To date, the Monsters are 1-3-0-0 against Hamilton in 2009-10 and hold an all-time mark of 4-13-1-2 against their North Division foes.

Monday’s contest is the third of four games Lake Erie will play against Hamilton in 13 days, as the teams square off four times in the first half of January, with all games being played on Canadian soil at Copps Coliseum. In their first two games of 2010 against Hamilton, the Monsters won a 3-2 contest on January 2nd and dropped a 3-1 game on January 8th. Prior to the January 2nd victory, the Monsters had never won a game against the Bulldogs on the road, combining for a 0-5-1-2 record at Copps Coliseum in the first two years of the franchise’s existence.

Lake Erie’s Monday night contest is also the third contest of a six-game road trip that began on January 8th at Hamilton and wraps up on January 16th when Lake Erie travels to Abbotsford, British Columbia, to take on the Abbotsford Heat.

In playing Hamilton, the Monsters face a formidable foe, as the Bulldogs currently sit atop the North Division and the Western Conference with 57 points and a 26-9-2-3 record. With their lofty totals, Hamilton trails the Eastern Conference’s Hershey Bears for the top spot in the AHL by just three points.

A few items to note before Monday’s matchup:

• If the score is tied in the latter stages of the game, Lake Erie might want to keep the puck away from Hamilton forward David Desharnais. Desharnais is currently tied for second in the AHL with five game-winning goals this season.
• Bulldogs goalie Cedrick Desjardins will provide a solid challenge for the Monsters, as Desjardins leads all AHL goalies with five shutouts, is second in the league with a 1.62 GAA and is third in the AHL with a 0.935 save percentage. The play of Desjardins is also reflected in the team’s defensive statistics – the Bulldogs boast the AHL’s best team defense, yielding 2.13 goals per game.
• Lake Erie forward Ryan Stoa continues to impress in his first-year as a pro as the native of Bloomington, Minn., leads all AHL rookies with 15 goals and seven power play markers.
• Hamilton has had a knack for coming up big in the latter stages of the game as the team has outscored the opponent 50-32 in the third period this season and has outshot the opposition 425-334 in regulation’s final 20 minutes.

After Monday’s game the Monsters return to Copps Coliseum for the fourth and final time in the 2009-10 regular season Wednesday night for a 7:30 game. After Wednesday, the next game between the Monsters and Bulldogs is slated for February 12th, when the Bulldogs come to Quicken Loans Arena for the third time this season and for the seventh of eight games between Hamilton and Lake Erie in the 2009-10 regular season.

Both  games this weekend and every game this season will be broadcast on the Monsters flagship radio station, ESPN 850 WKNR.  Listen Live on ESPN 850 WKNR | Watch here via AHL Live

The Monsters next home game is set for Friday, January 22nd against the Texas Stars at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available and can be purchased by calling (216) 420-0000, by visiting LakeErieMonsters.com or by visiting any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart.

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