GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Manchester Monarchs began their week below the Mason-Dixon Line with a convincing 7-2 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Thursday evening.
The Monarchs began the contest with four straight goals before Joe Basaraba’s goal late in the second period finally broke Manchester goaltender Matt O’Connor’s shutout.
Greenville would get another goal, a point-blank shove under O’Connor’s pads by Austin McKay 5:41 into the third period, but that would be the only other moment of Swamp Rabbit joy in an evening thoroughly dominated by the Monarchs.
Spencer Watson grabbed his second hat trick of the year for Manchester while Eric Schurhamer, Michael Downing, Joel Lowry and Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman also made their way onto the scoring sheet.
Downing was on the ice for four of the goals on top of his own, a one-game plus/minus mark topped by only four other players so far this season.
Matt Marcinew and Alxx Privitera also ended the night with a two assists a piece.
However, for Manchester head coach Rich Seeley, one of the biggest contributions came from Matt Leitner, who returned on Sunday after a monthlong absence.
“Leitner’s play for us tonight was big, things began to shift late on Sunday when he started to get back into stride and it continued tonight,” he said. “I think we were just more balanced overall.”
The Monarchs play again on Friday at 7:35 p.m. against the Boston Bruins’ ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators.