The Manchester Monarchs and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguinas (Pittsburgh Penguins) have played a lot of hockey over the last two days.
Game 1 was a thrilling triple overtime win that turned into a bit of a goalie battle while Game 2 was exciting int is own way, though it never threatened to go beyond regulation.
Zach O'Brien netted the overtime game winning goal less than five minutes into the third overtime period with a nasty slapshot to beat Matt Murray on Wednesday night.
Game 1 featured some if-y goaltending on both sides (two of the three goals J.F. Berube gave up were probably stoppable while Murray allowed a questionable goal). The Monarchs' special teams could use a lot of work, especially the PK, which gave up a tying goal six seconds in (and in the last minute of the first period) but fortunately, this game was played mostly 5v5.
Manchester got on the board first in Game 1 when Nick Shore beat Murray through the 5-hole 18 seconds into the game. The Monarchs were dominating for a while so naturally the Penguins tied the game (twice) before the end of the period. The Monarchs' radio feed suggested that Colin Miller provided a moving screen when Taylor Chorney let the shot go on the first goal against.
Brian O'Neill put the Monarchs up 2-1 period after Murray gave up a huge rebound on a long shot from Miller. Murray's rebound control wasn't that great so for a team that crashes the net as much as the Monarchs, it's no surprise to see them cash in.
But then the Monarchs took a penalty late in the first period and Derrick Pouliot 's one-timer from just outside the right-wing circle beat Berube up high less than six seconds into the penalty kill with 10 seconds to go in the period.
Both teams hit the locker rooms tied at 2 after only 20 minutes.
In the middle of the second period, Monarchs won a faceoff and Bobknob's pride and joy, Colin Miller, beat Murray with a nice snapshot.
Berube made some really great glove stops in that period as the Penguins amped up the pressure. The game was more even than it was in the first period.
Michael Mersch had a great opportunity early in the third period to double Manchester's lead when nearly deked Murray out of his jockstrap but just couldn't quite elevate the puck high enough over Murray's pads.
The Penguins tied the game shortly after that when everyone had just a terrible shift. There were guys running around chasing other guys and Berube didn't know where the puck was until it was behind him. Credit the Penguins for creating chaos and scoring on their opportunity.
Both teams traded pressure late in the third, but neither were able to breakthrough and the score stayed knotted at three apiece through the end of regulation and two full overtime periods. The first OT was quite thrilling, with both teams trading chances. WBS nearly ended it but the puck never crossed the goal line and later on Adrian Kempe had an open net but missed. With 1:40 to go, Derek Forbort took a slashing penalty, but fortunately the Monarchs killed it off.
Manchester dominated the second OT period, though there were some scary moments that led to some breakaways. WBS was credited for only three SOG but Berube was sharp when called upon
With less than five minutes played in triple OT, Zach O'Brien ripped a slapshot past Murray for the game winner.
Monarchs didn't get off to quite as fast a start as they did the night before, but they did score first. They're 5-0-0-0 in the postseason when scoring first.
At 9:28, Brian O'Neill walked into the slot and wristed a shot past Murray. The Monarchs were much better defensively overall in this game, though, of course, they weren't perfect.
Manchester took their 1-0 lead into the dressing room but had 44 seconds of remaining on a penalty kill.
They were successful on that penalty kill. Unfortunately, they weren't so good when Jeff Schultz accidentally flipped the puck over the glass. Under pressure in his own zone, Schultz was attempting to clear the zone along the right wing boards but missed.
A minute and five seconds into the kill, WBS scored the equalizer. The goal came right after Berube robbed the Penguins with a fantastic lateral save. It was a little weird as it appeared (on the video feed anyway) to deflect off Berube's back and in but it doesn't matter - still counts, either way.
Things got a little crazy in the next few shifts as immediately, Justin Auger scored a go-ahead goal with a really nice deke.
But then 9 seconds later, WBS tied the game AGAIN.
Both teams combined for three goals in 24 seconds. Whew!
But Jordan Weal wasn't about to let the Penguins just walk in and score. Four minutes later, he gives the Monarchs their third lead of the night and that one stuck. There's not much to say about Weal other than he's truly a big game player and is out to send a message to the Los Angeles Kings front office.
Some puns for Bob: He's got Weal-s; he's Weal-ly good; he can Weal-ly fly; he's the Weal deal.
Once again, Manchester took a 3-2 lead into the dressing room.
In the third period, Monarchs did what they were unable to do the night before - add to their lead on the PP. Weal was the first person to beat Murray on the man advantage in the postseason.
Manchester successfully killed off three more WBS power plays and even scored in the empty net - though it did look a bit like a clown show at times.
Berube was much better in this game as was the overall team defense. There were still a lot of hairy and weird "WTF are you doing?" moments, however, Monarchs looked like the better team overall.
Manchester Monarchs 15 Playoffs Individual Stats
|14||David Van der Gulik||LW||3||0||2||2||2||2||0||0||3||0.0|
Manchester Monarchs 15 Playoffs Schedule
The Monarchs are in WBS for a three game stretch and will head back to Manchester to play out the remaining schedule as necessary.