Monsters Pay First Visit to Rochester

Rochester is the destination for the Monsters in the final game before a week-long holiday break for the team, and it’s a mid-season clash with a good deal of importance. The Monsters are coming off a convincing 3-0 victory at home Saturday night over the Grand Rapids Griffins, and are currently 2-1-0-0 on their seven-game stretch against the North Division. A win would move the Monsters back to .500, would vault them into second in the North Division, and would avenge a 3-1 loss at Quicken Loans Arena on October 14.

The game is sure to be a test of will for two teams that have been affected by call-ups to the National Hockey League recently. While the Monsters have seen four players called up to the highest level this season, Rochester is currently without seven players who have been summoned by their parent club, the Buffalo Sabres. Players in the NHL who fans at The Q would have seen on October 14 include three of Rochester’s top-four scorers: Derek Whitmore, Colin Stuart, and Zack Kassian.

Greg Mauldin has continued to be a driving force for the Monsters, despite the fact that his two usual linemates for a large portion of the season- Evan Brophey and David van der Gulik- are in the NHL at the moment. Mauldin has four goals over his last six games played, he has 13 points in his last 12 games, and has the game-winning tallies in the Monsters last two regulation victories. He’ll need to continue his offensive prowess.

Patrick Rissmiller found his name on the scoresheet Saturday night after scoring his first goal of the season; a second period power play goal that extended the Monsters lead over Grand Rapids to 2-0. After missing the first 27 games of the season, Rissmiller returned Friday night, and is certain to be a factor and upper-tier forward at the AHL level. Despite missing over one-third of the season, Rissmiller displayed the same patience that has helped earn him 192 games played in the NHL.

Cedrick Desjardins’ stellar play has certainly been noted, but here’s a stat: over his last two starts, both of which are wins, the Monsters goalie has stopped 64 of 65 shots against. He’s playing at a level right now that is virtually flawless.

Keep an eye on Rochester’s Mark Voakes. He’s a hard-working forward who has ascended the hockey ranks, and is the only one of the Amerks’ top-four scorers who is still with the club. He has 15 points in 29 games, and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work in the corners.

All of this evening’s action from Rochester can be heard live on ESPN 850 WKNR beginning at 7:00 PM. The Monsters next home games are December 28 against Grand Rapids, and December 29 against Toronto.

Monsters broadcaster Doug Plagens takes us On the Road in Rochester, presented by South East Harley-Davidson:

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