Monsters Back Home Against Marlies

A four-game homestand against North Division rivals begins tonight at 7:00 PM for the Lake Erie Monsters (22-16-2-1), who will meet the Toronto Marlies (23-12-1-2) in a game that could move the Monsters into a three-way tie atop the North, should they win. The Monsters have taken two of three games this season against Toronto, who enters the night with 49 points; the same point total as the Abbotsford Heat. Toronto, however, reached 49 points in fewer games, so the Marlies hold a tiebreaker over Abbotsford. The Monsters recently finished a six-game road swing in which they won five of six games, while Toronto is coming off a 3-2 shootout win in Hamilton on Saturday, and is 2-2-0-0 over their last four games.

The Monsters finished their road trip with a 4-2 win in Syracuse over the Crunch on Saturday. Thomas Pock led the way with a pair of goals and an assist, while Bill Thomas scored a power play goal with 3:01 left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and put the Monsters in front for the duration. Paul Carey also lit the lamp for the Monsters, who defeated a Crunch club comprised largely of members of last season’s Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals; the Tampa Bay Lightning moved their AHL affiliation to Syracuse over the Summer.

When multiple players left the Monsters lineup due to injuries and call-ups, Thomas stepped up to fill the void, and has done so in noticeable fashion. After his game-winner Saturday, the veteran winger has five goals and nine points over his last six games; the Monsters are 5-1-0-0 over those six. Thomas is tied with Mike Sgarbossa for the Monsters lead in power play goals with five on the season, and to cap it off: the Monsters are 13-3-0-0 when Thomas registers a point.

Some of the familiar faces from the Toronto lineup in the early portion of the season are not with the club at the moment, so the Marlies are looking for a player to do what Thomas has done for the Monsters, and that’s to fill a scoring void. Joe Colborne has done just that. After a slow start in which the former Boston Bruins first round draft pick didn’t score a goal in his first nine games, Colborne has found the scoresheet much more frequently lately, registering three goals and 10 points over his last seven games.

All of tonight’s action can be heard live, beginning at 7:00 PM, on ESPN 850 WKNR, and can also be seen live on FOX Sports Ohio. Doug Plagens will be on the play-by-play, while Jock Callander will provide color analysis of the action.

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