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Monsters 2022-23 Season is off to Strong Start

Coming into the 2022-2023 AHL season, the Monsters were looking to bring playoff hockey back to downtown Cleveland for the first time since 2019 and hoist the Calder Cup for the second time in franchise history. Thus far, they’re off to a strong start by winning three of their first six games.

Last season, the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) spoiled the Monsters' home opener as they defeated Cleveland 6-4. Cleveland avenged the loss the next day with a 5-4 overtime victory. This season, Cleveland wanted to send a message that they are a different team. The Monsters accomplished that by defeating the Crunch on back-to-back nights inside the friendly confines of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Both games wound up going to a shootout, but the Monsters were able to grind out 6-5 and 5-4 victories respectively.

As the season progresses, the Monsters need to continue setting the tone when they’re on home ice. When the opposing team comes to town, the Monsters want them to know that they’re not going to have an easy night at the office.

Cleveland is in the midst of a six-game road trip, their longest of the season, which will take them to New York and Pennsylvania. So far, they’re 1-2 on the trip, losing to the Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils), splitting with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers), and losing against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins). To close out the trip, they will renew pleasantries with the Comets on October 28th and the Crunch on October 29th.

Entering Friday night’s game in Utica against the Comets, the Monsters are 3-3-0-0 with six points. This puts Cleveland in fourth place in the Eastern Conference’s North Division behind the first-place Belleville Senators (Ottawa Senators), the second-place Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) and the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres).

After the road trip, the Monsters return home for a three-game homestand where they'll be reacquainted with two old friends from the Central Division in the Western Conference. The defending Calder Cup Champion Chicago Wolves (Carolina Hurricanes) come to town for a Friday-Saturday showdown on November 4th and 5th. Then the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings), the Monsters' arch-rivals from the Central, pay a visit on November 9th.

Cleveland will be facing nothing but division foes to close out November. The Monsters will face off with Rochester, Belleville, the Laval Rocket (Montreal Canadiens) and Toronto. Despite five of the six division games being on the road, the Monsters will still have the opportunity to capitalize on their strong start and make their presence known.

Throughout the season, the Monsters are going to have to deal with moving parts on their team, as players are being transferred back and forth between Cleveland and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets already have called up defenseman Gavin Bayruther to the NHL, and the Monsters will have to roll with the punches and stay focused on the task ahead of them, regardless of who’s with them or in the 614.

Cleveland is off to a promising start this season at 3-3-0-0. They’re hoping it’s not a flash in the pan, but rather the start of a special season that brings playoff hockey back to Cleveland for the first time since 2019 and a second Calder Cup championship.

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