Cleveland Monsters at Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Wednesday, December 5th
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Radio: 99x(99.1); 99x Online
Cleveland Monsters , 11-8-3-0, 25 points, .568 win%, 3rd North, 7th East
Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 13-6-1-1. 28 points, .667 win%, 3rd Atlantic, 3rd East
After an intense weekend, the Cleveland Monsters are headed to Lehigh Valley to take on the Phantoms for the first time in AHL history. The Phantoms are flying into tonight’s game hot on a three-game win-streak. While, the Monsters, despite losing their last game, have all the right pieces to put an end to the Phantoms streak.
Player to Watch
Phil Varone is one sneaky player who is great at the fake out. The Monsters’ netminders need to be aware of his every move. More importantly, the defense cannot let Varone out of the neutral zone. If he goes one-on-one with any of the goaltenders, it’s game over.
Earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets loaned defenseman Dean Kukan to the Monsters for conditioning purposes. I’m not quite sure if he will be in the lineup tonight or if they will wait to put him in the lineup on Friday against the WBS Penguins. While another veteran presence on the blue line is needed, fans have to remember Kukan has not been playing well this season. The transition may not be an easy one for him.
Brett Gallant needs to make an appearance in this game. The Phantoms play a high intensity game and have many aggressive players. He will be able to set up plays for teammates while policing the opponent.
The Other Bench
With 42 penalty minutes this season, you might think Tyrell Goulbourne is a goon. However, thus far, he’s only had two fights. Most of Goulbourne’s penalties have been poorly timed hard hits. Due to the fact he is a rough and tough player, Goulbourne tends to have a target on his back. So, a lot of soft penalties are called against him. The thing you have to watch for is how he is able to aggressively open up lanes so that guys like Varone and Greg Carey can quietly sneak towards the net.
The Phantoms score fast and often. Their scoring is spread among all lines and pairings.
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