Monsters Take on Rockford on Opening Night
In the first of four meetings between the two teams this season, the Cleveland Monsters, affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, drop the puck vs. the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, on Friday with full coverage, live from The Q, underway at 7:00 pm on Alt 99.1, AHLTV and the Monsters Hockey Network.
MONSTERS PRE-SCOUT: Last season, the Cleveland Monsters finished with a record of 25-41-7-3 and 60 points to their credit, finishing in sixth place in the AHL’s Central Division standings and 15th place in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
ICEHOGS PRE-SCOUT: Last season, the Rockford IceHogs finished with a record of 40-28-4-4 and 88 points to their credit, finishing in fourth place in the AHL’s Central Division standings and sixth place in the Western Conference, qualifying for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Rockford defeated the Chicago Wolves in three games (3-0) in the Central Division Semi-Finals, then bested the Manitoba Moose in four games (4-0) in the Central Division Finals before falling to the Texas Stars in six games (2-4) in the Western Conference Finals.
SEASON SERIES: Friday marks the first of four meetings between the Monsters and IceHogs this season and the first of two matchups between the two teams at The Q in 2018-19.
KEYS TO SUCCESS:
- FAMILIAR FACES: The Monsters’ and IceHogs’ opening-weekend series at The Q will feature several familiar faces for all involved. One of Cleveland’s leading scorers last season, veteran winger Terry Broadhurst, signed with Rockford in the offseason and now finds himself on the opposite side of his youngest brother, Cleveland forward Alex Broadhurst. Last season, veteran forward Jordan Schroeder ranked third on the Monsters’ scoring list and now finds himself in an IceHogs uniform following an offseason trade for former IceHog and current Monsters net-minder Jean-Francois Berube.
- RETERNING REGIMENT: Cleveland’s 2018-19 opening night roster features a pair of returning goaltenders (Matiss Kivlenieks and Brad Thiessen), the Monsters’ leading goal scorer from a season ago (Alex Broadhurst) and, all told, 18 players (Listed numerically: Blake Siebenaler, Ryan Collins, Vitaly Abramov, Miles Koules, Justin Scott, Sam Vigneault, Broadhurst, Doyle Somerby, Calvin Thurkauf, Zac Dalpe, Thiessen, Garret Cockerill, Brett Gallant, Paul Bittner, Kivlenieks, Kevin Stenlund, Kole Sherwood and Nathan Gerbe) that have appeared in a game for the Monsters in their careers.
- MAKING HIS MARK: The Monsters received a significant boost in experience during training camp in the form of the Blue Jackets’ signing nine-year NHL veteran forward Mark Letestu to a two-way NHL-AHL contract for the 2018-19 season. In stints spanning parts of nine seasons from 2009-18, Letestu appeared in 558 NHL games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus and the Edmonton Oilers, tallying 93 goals, 117 assists and 210 points. In 2018-19, Letestu returns to the AHL for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Letestu appeared in 191 AHL games, all for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, spanning parts of four seasons from 2007-10.