The Manchester Monarchs improved to 7-3-1 and solidified their hold over the Atlantic division after winning two out of of three games this week. Here's our recap of the week's action, with highlights from MonarchsTV.
Wednesday, Nov. 7: Monarchs 4, IceCaps 1
The Monarchs dominated the first period, jumping out to 2-0 lead with PP goals by Voynov and Kozun. The rest of the game was more even, and backup goalie Peter Mannino proved he can be relied on. He was particularly good during a 4 minute penalty kill during the second period, including a full two minutes at 3v5. That could have been a turning point for St. John's, but some great saves by Mannino kept them at bay.
Later in the second, Redmond received a 5 minute major for elbowing Legein in the head and was tossed from the game. Kozun scored his second goal on the resulting power play.
Mannino's shutout bid was broken late in the third, with the game already in the bag. Toffoli topped it off with an empty-netter.
Roster notes: With Loktionov out, Cliche temporarily centered the top line. The new checking line became Clune-Andreoff-Meckler. Defenseman Mike Matczak, on emergency loan from the K-Wings, was paired with Hickey. Campbell and Kolomatis will be out the next six weeks. Legein did not return, and was held out in both games over the weekend.
Friday, Nov. 9: Sound Tigers 5, Monarchs 2
The Monarchs were outshot 21-7 in an atrocious first period. Despite the lopsided start, the only goal was by Bridgeport's Casey Cizikas. The Monarchs pushed back in the second, but Bodnardchuk's late goal was immediately answered. Deslauriers was knocked off the puck by Cizikas, who set up DeFazio all alone in front.
When the final period opened, the game was still in reach; Vey tied it 39 seconds into the third off a nice pass by Toffoli. However, another series of breakdowns unravelled them from that point on. Hamonic's shot from the circle trickled past Jones just a few minutes later. On a crucial Monarchs power play, Jake Muzzin's ill-advised pass attempt was scooped up by Brock Nelson, who put them down by two at 13:58. Finally, Niederreiter scored the game's only power play goal with three minutes left, sticking the fork in along with the knife.
The final shot total was 44-34. It was by far the most shots the Monarchs have given up this season -- a sloppy and mistake-filled affair.
Roster notes: Loktionov returned to the lineup. Matczak, Prokhorkin, Czarnik, and Meckler were also in.
Saturday, Nov. 10: Monarchs 3, Bruins 0
Needless to say, Morris wanted a tighter defensive effort from his club. The Monarchs responded with greater focus and improved back-checking the following night. This time, Manchester held the edge in shots throughout the game.
The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead in the first on another shorthanded goal by Loktionov. Dwight King chased the puck down and passed it on his knees to Lokti, who fired it past Svedberg. This was an even better highlight than all the kids and adults dancing Gagnam Style in purple mullets during the intermission. (Hooray for Movember!)
The Monarchs went up 2-0 in the third. Providence had killed off a penalty by Tardif, but the Monarchs still had possession. Hickey's shot from the point yielded a rebound which was backhanded by Tanner Pearson.
Providence tried to pull the goalie for one last chance, but the Monarchs' pressure on the forecheck soon ended it. Kozun won a battle in the Bruins' zone and got the puck to King, who waited patiently for a shot at the open net for his first goal of the season. Martin Jones made a few more late saves and earned his third shutout of the year.
Roster Notes: Defenseman Vincent LoVerde played his first game for the Monarchs, out on a tryout from the Ontario Reign. Jordan Weal and Brian O'Neill were put in for Czarnik and Prokhorkin. Cliche centered a line with Pearson and Toffoli.
The Monarchs now have 15 points and sit atop the Atlantic Division. Their next game is early in the morning on Wednesday (10 a.m ET/7 PT), when our old friends Brayden Schenn and Terry Murry come to town with the Adirondack Phantoms.
Looks like it's breakfast with Baby Kings East!