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Manchester Monarchs clinch playoff spot

The Monarchs are going to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Photo by Rich Miyara, provided by Manchester Monarchs

At least one team in the Kings organization is headed to the postseason.

The Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ ECHL affiliate, clinched a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday night with a shootout win over the Newfoundland Growlers, who lead the league’s North Division.

The Monarchs are 38-29-2-2 on the season and have won six of their last 10 games as they entered the final push for a playoff spot.

The Monarchs are led this season in scoring by Nic Pierog, playing in his first full professional season after finishing a four-year career at Clarkson University. Pierog has 53 points (32 goals, 21 assists) in 67 games.

Much like the Ontario Reign, the Monarchs’ roster has spent much of the season in flux because of players moving between the NHL, AHL, and ECHL. At one point, both of Manchester’s goalies — Charles Williams and Kings prospect Cole Kehler — were up with the Reign, while Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell both dealt with injuries at the NHL level.

Kings prospects currently on Manchester’s roster include Drake Rymsha (13 points in 34 games), Boko Imama (five points in 12 games), and Kehler in net (7-7-0-0, 4.25 goals against average, 0.883 save percentage).

With playoff brackets still being set, the Monarchs’ opponent is unknown for now.

This will be the Monarchs’ fourth consecutive appearance in the playoffs. They have made the playoffs in every season since transitioning from the AHL to ECHL in 2015-16, when the Kings reorganized their affiliates, bringing their AHL team to Ontario. Last season, the Monarchs were eliminated in the second round by the Adironack Thunder.

The Monarchs have their last regular season game tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, when they play the Maine Mariners.