The Latest to Take Fire: Abramov, MacInnis and Korostelev
For the Cleveland Monsters, the new year has brought new lines with some of the team’s top point producers like Nathan Gerbe, Zac Dalpe and Sonny Milano in and out of the lineup. While the coaching staff tried to find different line combinations to produce wins, the trio of Vitaly Abramov, Nikita Korostelev and Ryan MacInnis were put together for the first time on Feb. 2 in Syracuse.
“I love to play with them,” said Abramov. “I can feel them on the ice and where they will be the next second. It is fun.”
Korostelev echoed the sentiment and suggested that being placed with the two has helped him put his game at an entirely new level. Korostelev has been in and out of the lineup this season but, since being placed with Abramov and MacInnis, has had a career-high three multi-point nights in six games.
“It does not matter if you are in or out,” said Korostelev. “I just keep showing up, keep my head down and work.”
Abramov has also seen some career nights with his new line mates, most recently recording his first multi-goal game on Feb. 10 and then scoring two goals again on Feb. 12. The forward gives credit to his new line for the offensive change, but also has found different ways to improve his game.
“I have started to pay more attention to my defensive plays and gained confidence,” said Abramov. “We have more plays in the D zone and that is why we have more rushes offensively.”
For Abramov and Korostelev, being able to be on the same line as one another is also an extra advantage as they are the only two players from Russia currently on Cleveland’s roster.
“We are from different parts of Russia, but when we met here we support each other, talk to each other and have a couple laughs in our own language,” said Korostelev.
With MacInnis centering the two Russian natives, the chemistry has proven to be there for the trio with 18 of the team’s points in the last six games coming from their line. Korostelev has assisted on Abramov’s last four goals, as well as MacInnis assisting on two of them. For the last six games there has consistently been a combination involving these three players when one of them scores - the only one exception being Korostelev’s second goal of the year.
With seven games remaining, February is also on track to be the best month for the three players individually when it comes to points produced this season. MacInnis has matched his October-high of five points (1G,4A), while Abramov has had his best month so far producing six points (5G, 1A), but Korostelev leads the group with seven points (1G, 6A). The line will look to continue to build off this chemistry as they kick off their first three-in-three weekend tonight against the Belleville Senators.