Home-and-Home with Rochester

The Lake Erie Monsters (25-22-2-2) are putting their four-game winning streak on the line tonight in the first half of a home-and-home set with the Rochester Americans (22-19-6-3). The Amerks currently sit a single point behind the second-place Monsters in the North Division standings. This weekend is a chance for the Monsters to make a statement to not only the North Division, but the Americans, whom the Monsters have yet to beat in two tries this season.

Momentum is on the side of the Monsters entering the weekend. The Monsters are on a season-high seven-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak (6-0-0-1), and a four-game winning streak. Each of the four consecutive Monsters wins have been by a single goal, which has raised the team’s record in one-goal games to 14-7-2-2. Another recurring theme: Patrick Rissmiller’s ability to come up with big goals when the Monsters need them. Rissmiller is currently on a five-game point streak, and a three-game goal scoring streak. Each of his three goals in the last three games have been the eventual game-winners for the Monsters. Overall, Rissmiller has the game-winning goal in four of the Monsters last six victories; all of which have come on the current seven-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak. Rissmiller has six game-winning goals in a Monsters uniform, which places him fourth in franchise history behind Ryan Stoa and Matt Ford (8), and Phil Dupuis (7).

Despite outshooting Rochester by a combined total of 69-41 in two meetings this season, the Americans were able to skate away with each of the first two meetings of the season series with 3-1 and 4-1 victories. Each Rochester goalie, David Leggio and Drew MacIntyre, has earned a win over the Monsters this season. Rochester, however, has alternated wins and losses over their last six games (3-2-1-0), and is coming off a 4-1 home loss to San Antonio on Saturday. They will be rested after a few days off, but the season trends show the Americans are vulnerable in all aspects of special teams; Rochester ranks in the bottom-five teams in both power play and penalty killing effectiveness.

Gerald Coleman has continued his solid play in net for the Monsters. In starting a season-high nine consecutive games for the team dating back to January 24th, Coleman is 7-1-1. He owns the season high for consecutive starts with a victory by a Monsters goalie as he has backstopped all four games on the current winning streak. He will see Rochester for the first time this season tonight. Coleman hasn’t played enough games up to this point to be involved in the league leaders charts, but his .926 save percentage would place him fourth in the American Hockey League.

Another Monsters player to keep an eye on is Greg Mauldin; the forward has three goals and three assists over his last six games. Playing on a line with Rissmiller and Evan Brophey, who registered a pair of assists in Wednesday’s schoolday game, Mauldin has picked up right where he left off before missing an extended period of time with an injury.

Mark Olver was called up to the Colorado Avalanche, but Tyson Barrie was sent back to the Monsters, meaning the Monsters blueline is now the strongest it has been all season.

The Monsters will meet the Americans in Rochester for a 7:35 PM puck drop on AM 1220 WHKW Friday night, and the two teams will meet again Saturday night at 7:30 at Quicken Loans Arena. Saturday’s game can also be heard on AM 1220 WHKW, and can be seen on MY 43 THE BLOCK WUAB.

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