One of the Monsters coaches should take goaltender Linden Marshall out of the way and comfort him so that Marshall doesn’t have decades of nightmares about his first AHL start:
Hearing “Son, it won’t always be this bad. Trust me on this one” might make him sleep better.
The crumbling Monsters, playing like the tired, downcast, last-place hockey team that they are, were wiped out by the Laval Rocket, 6-0, on April 14 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The game was originally scheduled for April 15, but was postponed as the Cavaliers have a home game with the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. on the 15th.
“It was kind of a total no-show,” assistant coach Mark Letestu said bluntly after the game. “You find yourself in these situations at this stage of the year, with call-ups and injuries, different players have different opportunities.
“Different players are probably playing in places where they usually wouldn’t be. Sometimes players thrive in these situations. We don’t have a lot of thriving guys. We have a lot of guys showing they can’t handle this.
The Monsters have lost six straight. One game of the skid was a 2-1 shootout loss at Grand Rapids on April 6, so they gained a standings point in that one, but it’s still a loss. The Monsters are 24-32-8-5, which means that when it comes to wins and losses, they are 24-47 with five games remaining in the season. Laval, second in the AHL North, is 36-23-4-2.
“They have to decide very quickly before the end of the season that they can deal with it and show that they can,” Lestestu continued. “We put ourselves in a position in the standings where you can give guys looks.
“Linden is here to have an opportunity. You can afford players to have a chance on a big stage and that was Linden’s chance.
Marshall, 23, was playing varsity hockey for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Pioneers, a private school in Troy, New York, a month ago. He played one game for Greenville in the ECHL before signing with the Monsters on an amateur tryout on March 8.
Jet Greaves, the Monsters’ best goaltender this season, is injured. Cam Johnson, normally Greaves’ replacement, needed a rest after suffering the 4-2 loss in the April 13 net at Grand Rapids. Letestu said he hopes Greaves returns soon.
Laval scored once at 17:09 of the first period and three times in the first six minutes of the second period. The Rocket added two more in the opening 2:17 of the third period.
“It was a tough night,” Letestu said. “I’m happy for Linden that he got his first professional start. You wish better for him, and I know the guys in front of him wanted to play better.
Johnson is expected to be back between the posts at 7 p.m. on April 16 when the Monsters host Laval in a rematch at FieldHouse.