On the Monsters Beat: The farmhands keep on rolling
Lake Erie sweeps a pair from Manitoba in Winnipeg
It was two games and two more victories for the Lake Erie Monsters last week, as the Jackets' AHL affiliate ran their record to a healthy 3-1-0-1 thanks again to strong goaltending and some timely offense.
The Monsters swept the host Manitoba Moose, winning 3-1 on Thursday behind Anton Forsberg's 17-save performance, then riding Joonas Korpisalo's second consecutive shutout to a 2-0 victory Saturday.
Korpisalo's stat line so far this season for the Monsters? That would be two games and two shutouts, which of course translates into a 0.00 GAA and a 1.000 SV%. It obviously doesn't get any better than that. Korpisalo was the unsurprising first star of Saturday's game in helping the Monsters grab a spot at the top of the AHL's Central Division.
Offensively, the star of Thursday's win was center Michael Chaput, who tallied two goals, including the game-winner late in the second period and an empty-netter to seal the deal in the final minute of play. They were Chaput's first two goals of the season, but he wasn't finished yet.
On Saturday, Chaput converted a back door feed from Sonny Milano in the first minute of the third period that made it 2-0. Chaput's 3-1-4 scoring line so far puts him second on Lake Erie in scoring, just a point behind Kerby Rychel, who sits at 2-3-5 in four games played.
Captain Ryan Craig had the Monsters' first goal Saturday as he tipped in a center-point shot by Dillon Heatherington. Craig and Markus Hannikainen are tied for third on the team in scoring with three points apiece.
And hey, if you're a fan of the rough stuff, both Oleg Yevenko and enforcer par excellence Brett Gallant engaged in fisticuffs on Saturday. Neither bout was especially decisive, though Gallant's scrap with Darren Kramer pitted the AHL's top two PIM guys from a year ago against each other. Video can be found here courtesy of our friends over at hockeyfights.com.
On the transaction wire, you will note that wingers Daniel Zaar and Josh Anderson, both now healthy, have been assigned to Lake Erie by the Blue Jackets. Zaar, a 21-year-old Swede, is embarking on his first season of professional hockey in North America, while Anderson is coming off a year in which he appeared in six games for Columbus and 52 games for Springfield of the AHL. His Springfield numbers included 7 goals, 17 points and 76 PIMs.
Next up for Lake Erie is a pair of home games (Thursday and Saturday) against the Charlotte Checkers, AHL affiliate of the Caroline Hurricanes. The Checkers are one of those teams that score a lot while also giving up a lot of goals, so it will be interesting to see how well they fare against the so-far defensively stingy Monsters.