Looking to Snap Losing Streak Tonight

The Lake Erie Monsters (16-18-1-1) continue their current five-game road trip tonight, and it’ll be another tough test as the Monsters look to snap a three-game losing streak against the Peoria Rivermen (18-16-2-1), who are winners in four of their last five games. The two teams have met twice this season - back-to-back games at Quicken Loans Arena in November - a set that saw the Rivermen win the first game in a shootout, and the Monsters win the second game in regulation.

With the main objective for the Monsters being to snap a three-game losing skid - especially with games against Chicago and Milwaukee on the horizon - one can’t help but notice the offensive play being displayed by Monsters defenseman Tyson Barrie. With two goals and 10 points in his last 10 games, the rookie is the only defenseman to have his team’s outright scoring lead; he has five goals and 24 points and has dressed in all 36 Monsters games this season. On a side note, Paul Postma’s 27 points for St. John’s are enough to be tied for the IceCaps’ scoring lead; however, Barrie is the only defenseman with sole-ownership of his team’s scoring lead.

Look for a breakout from Hugh Jessiman in the near future. The Monsters goal-scoring leader has been held out of the goal column in his team’s last two games, but it wasn’t long ago that the power forward netted 15 goals in a 20-game stretch. Jessiman scored in each of the Monsters two games against the Rivermen this season, so tonight stands as a game in which Jessiman could see some success.

With Peoria defenseman Cade Fairchild and his plus-21 rating on a call-up to the St. Louis Blues, the Rivermen offense will have to pick up a bit of the slack moving forward. But when it comes to putting pucks in the net this season, the Peoria offense has done far more than just pick up slack. With 12 goals and 42 points in 37 games this season, T.J. Hensick is the chief playmaker for Peoria. Brett Sterling, who scored three of Peoria’s six goals in two previous meetings against the Monsters this season, is also at a point-per-game clip through 32 games played this season. Sterling is a one-time 55-goal scorer in the AHL, but his goal on January 8th against Milwaukee is his only goal in his last six games. Like Jessiman on the Monsters side, he’s due for a breakout, and will certainly be a focal point for the opposing defense.

With all-star goalie Cedrick Desjardins still out of the lineup for the time being, the Monsters have signed goalie Gerald Coleman to a professional tryout contract. Coleman’s body of work at the ECHL level speaks for itself: the 6’5” former Tampa Bay Lightning draft choice posted a 15-1 record en route to a Kelly Cup Championship for the ECHL’s Alaska Aces last season, and is carrying a 17-4-2 record, .931 save percentage, and 1.80 goals against average this season. In a related transaction, goalie James Reid, who appeared in three games for the Monsters this season was sent to the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League.

All of the action from Peoria can be heard live on ESPN 850 WKNR beginning at 7:55 PM. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 8:00 PM.

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