Final Game in Season Series with Chicago

With the winless drought extending to three after yesterday’s shootout loss in Toronto to the Marlies, the Lake Erie Monsters (32-26-3-5) will be facing some pressure when they take to the ice tonight at Quicken Loans Arena against the Chicago Wolves (35-24-2-3), the current Midwest Division leader who knocked off the Monsters 1-0 on Saturday night at The Q. The puck drops at 7:00 PM, and if you’re unable to attend, listen live on AM 1220 WHKW and watch live on FOX Sports Ohio.

The last 10 games for the Monsters have been decided by one goal, and the club is 5-1-1-3 over that time, with the lone regulation blemish coming at the hands of Chicago on Saturday. The Monsters enter the day tied with the Rochester Americans at 72 points; however, due to the win percentage tiebreaker, Rochester currently owns the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, and the Monsters sit on the outside looking in; in the nine-hole. With just four points separating fourth-place Houston and the ninth-place Monsters, ground can be made up in a hurry, and the Monsters offense will need to respond.

The Monsters have just one goal to show for their last two games, and have scored three or more just five times in the last ten games. Cedrick Desjardins has held down his end of the bargain in net, stopping 65 of 67 shots over the last two games. Furthermore, the Monsters penalty kill has been up to the task, killing off ten consecutive penalties over the last two games after 5-5 performances yesterday in Toronto and Saturday against the Wolves. Peter MacArthur was a catalyst once again for the Monsters on offense, as his point yesterday in Toronto gives him five points over his last five contests.

Chicago has won two straight after losing in two straight. The Wolves, who enter the day tied with the Peoria Rivermen at 75 points, but in possession of the top spot in the Midwest Division due to the win percentage tiebreaker, are making a run at a top-three spot in the conference despite owning the league’s 30th-ranked power play. The case could be made that the Wolves are one facet of the game- that being the power play- from being a favorite in the Western Conference playoff chase. With talented forwards like Steve Reinprecht, Darren Haydar, and Mark Mancari, as well as sharpshooting defenseman Kevin Connauton, the Wolves power play has the talent and ability to break out at any time. Matt Climie, who blanked the Monsters on Saturday, and Eddie Lack, are a more-than-formidable goaltending tandem.

The biggest three-game stretch of the season for the Monsters continues at home tonight. With 10 games left, the Monsters have just four games remaining against teams currently in the top-eight in the Western Conference. One of those four games is this evening.

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