January of 2013 got off to a bad start for the Monarchs because the lockout ended and therefore all the awesomeness of Dwight King and majestic Slava Voynov departed for the NHL.
The Monarchs finished the 2012-13 season in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, going 17-14-1-2 from January to April. They faced the Springfield Falcons in the first round of the playoffs (best of five) and lost the first two games in overtime. After winning the third game, they again lost in overtime and were eliminated.
They returned for this season as an impressively better team, despite losing captain Marc-Andre Cliche, among others, to waivers. The Monarchs didn't lose a game in regulation until the ninth game of the season, and continued to rack up points. Goaltender Martin Jones was a standout from the start, earning CCM/AHL Player of the Week honors for the week of October 13.
Even when Jones and Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Linden Vey were recalled to the Los Angeles Kings, the team still found ways to win games. Since Jones has been gone, Jean-Fracois Berube has started 20 straight games. Contributions from their other young talent like Jordan Weal and Brandon Kozun has kept them in first place. The Monarchs currently sit at the top of the entire AHL standings with 49 points in 34 games (22-7-1-4).
In October, the team named Andrew Campbell the new captain. He and Andrew Bodnarchuk are two seasoned NHL defensemen who significantly contribute to the Monarchs success. Other talented and tough players that Kings fans may not know about such as Andy Andreoff and Nick Deslauriers are also consistent in their contribution to the teams success.
Good coaching has also stood out in 2013. On November 13, Monarchs head coach Mark Morris hit 300 wins as Monarchs coach and became the only coach to achieve 300 professional wins and 300 collegiate wins as a coach (Clarkson University).
In GIF form, here are some highlights from the calendar year of 2013 for the Manchester Monarchs.
Toffoli doing what Toffoli does
Let's see that again from a different angle
Here he kicks the puck to a streaking Pearson
Brandon Kozun is an underrated prospect
French Fries for everyone! - the Monarchs announcer whenever they score at least four goals, which is often.
Nick Deslauriers was moved from defenseman to forward to start this season.
He is adjusting pretty well:
Andy Andreoff can show some impressive talent. Watch this goal:
Now watch it again in slow motion.
Defenseman Chris Huxley
Brian O'Neill scored on a penalty shot against the P-Bruins
Come back, Martin Jones!
Bodnarchuk getting in on the scoring
We really miss this guy
Celebrations and hugs!
This one of Kozun and Deslauriers is one of my favorites of 2013
Now-captain Andrew Campbell
Love for the awesome goalie
Of course the Monarchs have one game left in 2013, tomorrow night against the Providence Bruins. Regardless of the outcome, I'd say it's been a pretty successful year.