What's On Tap...Monsters Move West

Labatt Blue
What's on Tap
In the next three days the Monsters will take on three separate opponents from the competitive West Division. Each challenger presents different problems which the Monsters must overcome to succeed.

The first stop is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to take on the Admirals Friday night. Milwaukee is third in the West Division with a 34-21-1-5 mark and 74 points. Historically, the Monsters have done well against the Admirals, boasting an all-time record of 4-0-1-1 against them. However, it will be vital for the Monsters to score first in this game because Milwaukee holds a record of 23-2-1-3 when finding the net first.

The second city Lake Erie will be visiting is Peoria, Illinois, to face the pesky Rivermen on Saturday night. While Peoria sits last in the West Division, they hold a record of 27-26-1-6 and 61 points. This will be the first of three trips the Monsters will make to Peoria in the 2009-10 regular season.

The Monsters must focus on the penalty killing aspect of their game against the Rivermen as Peoria is third in the league on the power play, converting at a 20.5 percent pace. If the Monsters find themselves down heading into the third period, they should not be overly concerned. The Rivermen have allowed 72 goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation this season, which is tied for second most in the league.

The third and final stop for the Monsters this weekend takes the team to Chicago to battle the Wolves in the NHL Network’s AHL game of the Week on Sunday (tune in!). Defeating the Wolves will be no easy feat for the Monsters. Chicago is first in the West Division with a record of 39-18-1-4 and 83 points.

The Monsters have to keep the league’s top goal scorer in check when facing the Wolves Brett Sterling, who currently leads the AHL with 34 goals in 55 games. Defense will definitely be a key to this matchup due to Chicago’s 3.45 goals per game, which ranks second in the AHL.

Lake Erie heads into this weekend on the outside looking in for a playoff spot in the North Division. Right now the Monsters find themselves five points behind the Manitoba Moose, who has control of the fourth and final playoff spot. With 18 games left in the 2009-10 regular season, every match presents an opportunity to keep the Monsters playoff hopes alive.

The Monsters will continue their road trip by traveling back to Milwaukee on Wednesday before wrapping the trip up in Abbotsford with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Heat. The team will head home on March 19th for the second annual “Pink the Rink” event to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs.

All three 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

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