Happy New Year! Well, happy for some.
It’s January 9, 2018 and here’s your Manchester Monarchs Week in Review.
The 2017 part of the 2017-’18 Manchester Monarchs season was pretty great by any statistical standard. At the top of the league in goals scored, in the upper half of the league in fewest goals allowed, leading the ECHL North Division with a comfortable margin.
So far, the 2018 part of the season has not lived up to that form.
In their first game of the new year, the Monarchs fell to the hosting Adirondack Thunder in post-regulation play for the second time this season, followed by humiliating road losses to Wheeling and Toledo.
The Monarchs had just seven goals during the three-game stretch, their lowest weekly total so far and the first time they’ve been kept to single digits since their mid-November slump.
Wheeling alone had seven goals against the Monarchs, led by Riley Bourbonnais’ hat trick. A day later, they were shut out for just the second time this campaign, equaling last season’s total with 32 games left to play.
Top Star: Keegan Iverson – After an uneventful inaugural stretch in with Ontario in the AHL, Iverson was one of the few bright spots during his first week in the ECHL.
Iverson recorded goals against Adirondack and Wheeling, doubling his total with Ontario
Currently in his first year as a professional, Iverson scored 190 points on 80 goals and 110 assists in 293 career games for the amateur Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks.
Iverson skated in 71 postseason games for Portland, and accumulated 25 points on nine goals and 16 assists, and was named team captain for the 2016-17 season.
Second Star: Justin Agosta – The former New Hampshire Wildcat posted a hat trick of helpers against Wheeling, almost doubling his season total to date.
Although he didn’t make much of a mark in the other two games, Monarchs fans can only hope that the Wheeling outing marks a return to his ECHL All-Star selection-worthy performance of last season.
Third Star: Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman – With a goal during the Adirondack contest, LaVallee-Smotherman regained a share of the team goal lead at 16, tied with Zac Lynch.
He’s recorded a point in eight of his last 10 contests.
Beyond the Blue Lines
In addition to Iverson, this week also saw the return of Jonathan Racine.
Racine, 24, returns to the Monarchs after being recalled to Ontario on Nov. 24. In his latest stint with Ontario, Racine played in six games without recording a point, but added 22 penalty minutes.
With the Monarchs this season, Racine has scored four points on one goal and three assists in 16 games, while accumulating 33 penalty minutes.
Also this week, Monarchs’ winger Joel Lowry was named as an ECHL All-Star, representing the North Division during the ECHL’s 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament in Indianapolis on Jan. 15
Now in his third season, Lowry has already more than doubled his previous professional goal total, currently at 31 points in 26 ECHL contests.
The Monarchs open up a six-game homestand this week, beginning with games on Friday and Saturday night against the Worcester Railers followed by a Sunday contest against the Reading Royals.