HARTFORD, CT – For the first time in franchise history, the Monarchs have advanced to the Calder Cup Finals after sweeping Hartford with a 3-1 win on Wednesday night at the XL Center. It marked the second playoff series sweep in team history.
In just their third Eastern Conference Finals ever, Manchester earned its first playoff sweep since beating Portland in four games in the Division Semifinals in 2010.
Adrian Kempe scored the eventual game-winning goal and Brian O’Neill added an insurance tally to secure the win.
Nic Dowd put the Monarchs on the board at 3:13 in the first period when he scored on a rebound opportunity off Kevin Gravel’s shot. The goal extended Manchester’s streak of scoring first to six straight games.
Hartford knotted the score at 1-1 on a goal from Ryan Haggerty at 1:23 in the first period.
Kempe’s second goal in as many nights gave the Monarchs a 2-1 lead at 6:18 in the second period. Nick Shore and Sean Backman both assisted on the goal.
The Monarchs took a 3-1 lead at 8:10 in the third period when O’Neill scored his ninth goal of the playoffs.
The Monarchs will play the winner of the Utica and Grand Rapids series. The Calder Cup Finals is set to begin on June 6 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
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- Brian O’Neill scored the Monarchs’ third goal of the game. It moved him into a tie with Michael Mersch for fourth place on the team’s all-time playoff points list (10 goals, nine assists).
- David Van der Gulik (assist) has at least one point in seven of his last nine games beginning on May 6 (2 goals, 6 assists).
- Manchester improved to 11-0 when scoring first in the playoffs.
- The Monarchs have won six straight games overall.