IceHogs Gearing Up For 4 Straight vs. Cleveland Monsters


After falling on the Grand Rapids Griffins With just 13 shots, the Rockford IceHogs seem to bounce back as they prepare for four duels with the Cleveland Monsters.

Cleveland comes into play with a record of 0-2-1-0 and ranks second worst in the Central Division. Head coach Mike Eaves and the Monster had a difficult start to the season, both offensively and defensively. They only scored five goals and had 12 goals scored. That total of goals ranks 27th in the AHL while their 12 goals allowed them to float around 12th in the league, linking them to the Hartford Wolf Pack and Manitoba Moose who played four games versus Cleveland’s three to have.

Highlights of the previous Cleveland Monsters game, a loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins

Cleveland’s special teams are a story of two units. At 22.2%, their power play ranks 12th in the AHL, but when they lose a man, the monsters only kill 58.8% of their sentences, making it 27th in the league. With a 5v12 kill clip, the IceHogs have yet another opportunity to upgrade their power play efforts that have gone cold in recent games.

The monsters’ offensive attack is led by four multipoint skaters in Zac Dalpe, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Nathan Gerbe and Ryan MacInnis, each with a goal and an assist. Dalpe has been in the league for a while, saying goodbye to the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabers and Vancouver Canucks organizations before coming to Columbus. The native Canadian from Ontario wears the “C” for the monsters and is familiar with the state of Ohio after playing his college hockey in the state of Ohio.

Fix-Wolansky is in his sophomore year with Cleveland after playing in the WHL in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. Fix-Wolansky scored 26 points in 43 games for Cleveland last season, including five of his 12 power play goals.

Gerbe has scored 62 goals in his NHL career with the Sabers, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. The Michigan native won a championship playing his college hockey at Boston College and was named AHL Rookie of the Year. The 5-foot-4 tanner was the youngest captain of the monsters. Before last season he played abroad for Geneve-Servette in Switzerland.

MacInnis started in the OHL with Kitchener, where he was captain. Upon arriving in the AHL, the 6-foot-3 winger was part of the Springfield Falcons final season. His time with the Arizona Coyotes continued in Tucson before moving to Cleveland. MacInnis also saw time with the Blue Jackets lately.

Ben Thiessen took on the goalkeeping duties for Cleveland until 2021. He has a Calder Cup and was the AHL best goalkeeper winner early in his career. After Thiessen played college hockey at Northeastern, he saw a handful of games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canadian-born goalkeeper has so far saved 0.892 percent with a goal-versus-average of just over three.

The puck drop between the IceHogs and the Monsters is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT at the BMO Harris Bank Center as the Hogs look for the elusive first win of the season. The clubs will fight tomorrow night, Friday and Saturday to round out the week. Follow the action with Live tweets All game-length and post-game reactions will follow.