Monsters Start 2013 with Checkers Series

After splitting a pair of meetings down south in December, the Lake Erie Monsters (16-14-2-1) and Charlotte Checkers (18-11-1-3) will play a set of games on back-to-back nights at Quicken Loans Arena Thursday (7:00 PM) and Friday (7:30 PM). The Monsters come in on the heels of a convincing 4-0 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday; the Monsters fourth straight home victory. Overall, the Monsters are 4-1-1-0 over their last six games, with the only blemishes over the last six games being an overtime and regulation loss on the road against Rochester. Charlotte is coming off a 5-2 loss in San Antonio on Sunday; their third straight loss overall. The Checkers have lost two straight in regulation and are 0-2-1-0 over three games since a 5-0-0-1 streak that stretched from December 11 to December 21. This season, Charlotte has had a four-game win streak, two three game win streaks, and a five-game losing streak.

Stefan Elliott scored twice, and Mark Olver and Bill Thomas added goals for the Monsters, who topped Hamilton 4-0 on Saturday night at The Q. Calvin Pickard turned away 17 shots for his third shutout this season, and his third shutout as a professional. This season, Pickard has turned away 61 of 62 shots against Hamilton and has allowed just one goal over two starts against the Bulldogs. Andrew Agozzino and David van der Gulik saw their respective seven- and six-game point streaks come to a close in the shutout win. The victory was the Monsters fourth straight at home, and since the start of last season, Lake Erie is 9-2-0-0 against Hamilton. On Saturday, the Monsters also mustered 47 shots on net against the Bulldogs; eight more than their previous season-best of 39 shots, which had been reached on four previous occasions.

A defenseman with the ability to chip in on the offensive side of the game, Stefan Elliott has been a key contributor for the Monsters over the last three weeks. In eight games since December 13, Elliott has three goals and four assists for seven points. Saturday, Elliott scored twice for his first multi-goal and multi-point game of the season. Elliott is also plus-five over his last eight games, and is carrying a plus-five rating since December 1. Overall, the Monsters are 5-1-0-0 this season when Elliott gets a point, and he has had at least a point in each game on the Monsters current four-game home winning streak leading up to the two games against Charlotte.

Charlotte forward Drayson Bowman has been quiet lately, having not scored in five games and not registered a point over his last four contests. But the 2007 third-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes has ridden his streaky goal scoring habits to 14 goals in 33 games for the Checkers this season. From October 19 to November 4, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native scored in eight consecutive games, which is still the best streak in the AHL this season. Bowman and Charlotte forward Jerome Samson lead the Checkers with two goals in two games against the Monsters this season, and Bowman is the only Checkers player with three points in two games against Lake Erie over the first two meetings in the season series.

Each of the games against Charlotte- Thursday at 7:00 PM and Friday at 7:30 PM- can be heard live on AM 1220 WHKW with Doug Plagens on the play-by-play.

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