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Recap, Game 3: Too Little, Too Late

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Manchester falls in regulation as their road woes resurface and they lose two players to injury.

Solid defensive defenseman
Solid defensive defenseman
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

In the first road game against the Portland Pirates (formerly the Arizona Coyotes affiliate), the Monarchs didn't have the same jump that they'd had in the first two games of the series. Once again, Manchester found themselves holding on for dear life early in the first period.

Adrian Kempe was one of the few bright spots in this game. He was great, using his speed to create zone entries and back off opponents. He even had both goals for Manchester and had a glorious attempt a hat trick, but flubbed the opportunity.

Things were already tough defensively for the road team with Jeff Schulz being injured. Believe it or not, he provides a calm, steadying leadership on the ice and kind of acts as a stabilizer for Colin Miller. While Kevin Raine has done an admirable job stepping up and filling in, it's obviously still preferable to have your optimal starting lineup for the Calder Cup Final.

They didn't get any better when Brian O'Neill was shoved heavily into the boards early in the first period. That's a huge blow to the Monarchs both offensively and defensively, as the solid two-way winger provides a great all around game. If O'Neill is unavailable for tomorrow's game, I suspect Sean Backman will move up to take his place -- but nothing is certain.

For what it's worth, Terry Koharski is one of the worst referees in the AHL. He's completely inconsistent and he calls what he wants and just kind of randomly picks and chooses.

Utica scored shortly after an early Colin Miller penalty on a clean hit (it was a makeup call) expired. Cal O'Reilly, who had zero playoff goals coming into the game but had like 15 assists, scored the first of his two goals in the game.

Things went from bad to worse when JF Berube went out with an injury eight minutes into the first. He attempted to make a save and went down, clutching his right side.

So in came Patrik Bartosak, who didn't dress for Games 1 and 2 since he was suffering from back spasms.

Utica wasted no time in testing the cold goalie and scored shortly before the period ended.

Manchester responded shortly thereafter with a big goal. Derek Forbort kept the puck in the zone and put a shot on goal. Kempe jumped on the rebound and buried it.

Mercifully, the period ended a couple minutes later.

The second period was a little better, but not by much. Just as Manchester was starting to find their game, forcing some massive saves out of Jacob Markstrom, O'Reilly scored for Utica again. Bartosak was completely screened on the goal and couldn't do anything.

Again, the Monarchs responded after giving up the goal and again it was Kempe. He drove down the right wing boards and tried to stuff it past Markstrom. I don't know if Markstrom kicked it in his own net, but the puck just seemed to kind of trickle past him.

From there on out, both netminders slammed the door shut. Manchester had finally found its legs, but couldn't find the tying goal.

The third period was possibly the most boring period of hockey ever played. As expected, Utica has no killer instinct and went into a defensive shell. I'm not sure they even really attempted many shots. They kept three players back at all times and killed all enjoyment offensive attempts from the opposing team. Even with a late power play, the Monarchs couldn't break through. Close, but no cigar multiple times.

Here are the lineups both teams went with:

Manchester Monarchs

Mersch-Weal-O'Neill

Kempe-Shore-O'Brien

Van der Gulik-Dowd-Backman

Bissonnette-Crescenzi-Auger

Bodnarchuk-LoVerde

Gravel-Miller

Forbort-Raine

Berube

Utica Comets

Conacher-O'Reilly-Grenier

Baertschi-Friesen-Virtanen

Gaunce-Hamilton-Zalewski

Shinkaruk-Acton-DeFazio

Corrado-Biega

Andersson-Sanguinetti

Huskins-Clendening

Markstrom

In an interesting way, Markstrom kind of stole this game for Utica who went into a total defensive shell after their third goal. As we all know, defensive shells will usually burn you. It almost did were it not for Markstrom, who has been nothing short of terrific this postseason.

Notes and Player Statistics

Manchester Monarchs 15 Playoffs Individual Stats

# Player Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SHG SOG SH%
27 Michael Mersch LW 16 13 8 21 15 2 3 1 61 21.3
19 Jordan Weal C 17 10 11 21 12 16 4 0 46 21.7
22 Brian O'Neill RW 17 10 9 19 15 10 0 0 52 19.2
16 Sean Backman RW 17 4 11 15 7 8 1 0 48 8.3
37 Nick Shore C 17 3 10 13 12 2 0 0 49 6.1
26 Nic Dowd C 17 5 5 10 4 10 0 0 33 15.2
14 David Van der Gulik LW 13 2 7 9 5 4 0 0 16 12.5
5 Vincent LoVerde D 17 1 8 9 13 16 0 1 19 5.3
6 Colin Miller D 17 1 7 8 11 12 0 0 46 2.2
9 Adrian Kempe LW 15 6 1 7 2 2 0 0 25 24.0
10 Zach O'Brien RW 17 3 4 7 1 0 1 0 41 7.3
3 Derek Forbort D 17 0 6 6 8 10 0 0 21 0.0
7 Andrew Bodnarchuk D 17 0 5 5 8 10 0 0 27 0.0
4 Kevin Gravel D 17 0 5 5 2 0 0 0 22 0.0
55 Jeff Schultz D 14 0 3 3 6 10 0 0 10 0.0
21 Andrew Crescenzi C 16 0 3 3 0 19 0 0 5 0.0
39 Justin Auger RW 17 1 1 2 -3 8 0 0 21 4.8
24 Ryan Horvat LW 9 1 0 1 -2 4 0 0 5 20.0
33 Kevin Raine D 4 0 1 1 -3 2 0 0 2 0.0
13 Josh Gratton LW 6 0 1 1 0 11 0 0 2 0.0
30 Patrik Bartosak G 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
15 Paul Bissonnette LW 9 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 5 0.0
35 Jean-Francois Berube G 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
BENCH 17 0 0 0
TOTALS 17 60 106 166 114 161 9 2 556 0.108


# Goalies GP Mins W L SOL SO GA GAA SVS SV%
35 Jean-Francois Berube 17 1019:26 13 3 0 0 39 2.30 343 0.898
30 Patrik Bartosak 1 50:45 0 1 0 0 2 2.36 27 0.931
Totals 17 1073:59 13 4 0 0 41 2.29 370 0.900

  • Bartosak played pretty well as a replacement for Berube.
  • It took a while but he seemed to really settle down and play well after the third goal was scored (on which he was heavily screened).
  • He spoke with Andy Tonge after the game on Periscope (so I don't have any recorded comments) and said that his back was feeling fine and he feels good.
  • All three games have been decided by one goal. This has a distinctly familiar feeling to it and I can't quite put my finger on it...
  • Aside from Kempe, no one else really stood out much. His line was doing a lot of work and the Monarchs are going to need that depth scoring to come through, especially if they lose O'Neill for any extended period of time.

Highlights

Ignore the titles, because they're wrong. Also, thankfully the Kings didn't make the playoffs so now we don't have to deal with the shitty AHL Live feed and can actually get high quality, high definition video. Woohoo for Kings Vision!

Up Next

Manchester Monarchs 15 Playoffs Schedule

DATE Opponent Result Record Score GWG Goaltender Opposing Goaltender
Jun. 6 Utica W Text Game ReportGame SheetGAME SUMMARY 12-3-0 3-2 OT Michael Mersch Jean-Francois Berube (2 GA, 15 SVS) Jacob Markstrom (3 GA, 34 SVS)
Jun. 7 Utica W Text Game ReportGame SheetGAME SUMMARY 13-3-0 2-1 OT Nic Dowd Jean-Francois Berube (1 GA, 24 SVS) Jacob Markstrom (2 GA, 37 SVS)
Jun. 10 at Utica L Text Game ReportGame SheetGAME SUMMARY 13-4-0 2-3
Patrik Bartosak (2 GA, 27 SVS) Jacob Markstrom (2 GA, 32 SVS)
Jun. 12 at Utica 7:00 pm EDT Purchase Tickets
Jun. 13 at Utica 7:00 pm EDT Purchase Tickets
Jun. 16 Utica* 7:00 pm EDT Purchase Tickets
Jun. 17 Utica* 7:00 pm EDT Purchase Tickets

*If necessary

Today was a rest day and the Monarchs held an optional practice. Per Andy Tonge's twitter feed, Jeff Schultz skated for the second day in a row, which is a good sign, and Berube was at practice without the walking boot he had on last night, but had a noticeable limp.

Also, Jeff Lerg and Steve Mastalerz, both who were signed while Bartosak was recovering from his back spasms, practiced with the team today.

Sadly, the AHL is even more incompetent than the NHL when it comes to player safety so Alex Friesen gets away with his vicious boarding on O'Neill, who did not practice today.

Manchester returns to the Aud tomorrow and will try to close out the series on the road on Saturday night.