Nathan Gerbe, the AHL All-Star
The American Hockey League’s All-Star break has come and gone as the puck drops on the second half of the season this weekend. For Monsters captain Nathan Gerbe it was an eventful break that saw the North Division claim the All-Star classic crown for the second year in a row.
The AHL All-Star weekend kicked off this past Sunday, Jan. 27 with the Skills Challenge at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
Gerbe took part in three events throughout this first night, including the Puck Control Relay, Pass and Score, and Breakaway Relay competitions. During the Pass and Score contest, Gerbe completed a nifty back-hand finish that tallied a goal for his team. Ultimately, the Western Conference edged out the Eastern Conference in total goals for the evening, pulling out a 17-14 win.
"That was excellent work..."
— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) January 28, 2019
On Monday night, Gerbe and the rest of his North Division teammates dropped their opening contest against the Pacific Division, 4-2, before defeating the Central Division, 4-2, and then besting the Atlantic Division, 4-1, thanks in part to two goals from the Cleveland captain himself.
In the championship, the North Division got the best of the Atlantic Division once again, 1-0, in the fourth round of the shootout.
— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) January 29, 2019
After departing Springfield, Gerbe returned home to Cleveland and enjoyed two days off before re-joining his Monsters teammates this morning on the ice at OBM Arena in Strongsville.
This is the most important stretch of the season for the Monsters. Each game played from here on out becomes more important than the last, and with only 13 points separating first place from last place in the North Division, the margin for error is slim and will only get slimmer from here on out as the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs draw near.
Gerbe’s ability to lead this season while also producing on the ice cannot be understated. The 5’4’, 178 lb. native of Oxford, Michigan steps into the second half of the 2018-19 campaign having posted 10-21-31 with an even rating so far in 40 games played.
For Monsters head coach John Madden, there’s been no mistake of how he feels about Gerbe and what he brings to the table.
“His work ethic, his leadership, his mentorship to our players, especially the younger players, our prospects, is invaluable,” said Madden earlier this season.
The second half of the season gets under way Friday, Feb. 1 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as Gerbe and the Monsters look to make a run for the North Division crown while securing their place in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs.