With all this recent snow, perhaps Mother Nature is trying to remind us that hockey season isn’t over quite yet. On top of the snow, our boys in black reminded us this week that they’re ready to take the season well into the warmer months.
It’s March 14, 2018. Here’s your Manchester Monarchs Week in Review.
Only two games this week, but they both continued the trend set a few days earlier in Worcester.
It took that trip to Worcester to break the Monarchs’ recent slide and Manchester followed that win with two additional wins, first in Glens Falls and then at home against Norfolk in overtime.
The Monarchs have 11 regular season games left, and while they haven’t statistically clinched a playoff berth yet, it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t get to the playoffs.
Right now, the Monarchs are at 77 points and their magic number for clinching a playoff berth is 86 points, but that number would fall with additional losses by Worcester. Generally, 80 points has been enough to secure a trip to the ECHL playoffs in recent years, a figure the Monarchs will probably reach this week.
Top Star: Rob Hamilton – Grabbing a point per game often seems to be the threshold for any stretch of games to write home about and Hamilton was one of several Monarchs with either a goal or an assist in both contests this week.
The Calgary native also added a goal and an assist in Worcester as well and he’s had a point in each game since his return to Manchester last month with the exception of last week’s home losses to the Thunder.
Second Star: Colton Saucerman – It looks like a trip to the Baby B’s was all Sauce needed to get back on track.
Saucerman got a brief stint in the AHL during last week’s slump. He returned to the Monarchs this week and ended the past two games with a goal and two assists.
He’s now third among all ECHL defensemen in assists at 34.
Third Star: Cory Ward – Like Saucerman, Ward returned from the AHL and immediately contributed a goal both of this week’s games.
Beyond the Blue Lines
The big transaction this week was the arrival of Ashton Rome, who had a few days off while waiting for the finalization of the trade involving him and Justin Agosta.
Rome had 16 points in 30 games for Worcester so far this season and appeared in 38 games for the Monarchs over the past two years.
He didn’t contribute much this week, but Monarchs head coach Rich Seeley says to give it some time following his performance against Adirondack.
“He was good,” said Seeley. “He hasn’t played in a while and we tried to work him back on. He hasn’t played a ton of minutes, but he did some good things for us out there.”
Norfolk kicked off what will be the last homestand of the year, with the Monarchs only returning to Manchester once more (April 7 against Worcester) before beginning their playoff run.
The next visitors to SNHU Arena are the Utah Grizzlies, who the Monarchs crushed over three games on the road in late November.