Monarchs Freeze Icemen, 2-1

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Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman (left) and Zac Lynch head up the ice. (credit – Rich Tilton)

It’s still early in the season, but the Manchester Monarchs are off to a good start, adding a 2-1 victory against the Jacksonville Icemen on Friday night.

The Monarchs once again led in shots-on-goal, with their high energy approach was exemplified on this night by Joel Lowry, ending the game with a pair of assists, rising to 12 points so far on the year.

His first assist came thanks to a steal kept the puck in Jacksonville’s zone. Jonathan Racine capitalized, placing a shot in the upper left corner for Manchester’s first goal just before the midpoint of the second period.

Monarchs head coach Richard Seeley had praise for Lowry’s versatility, which ranges from special teams to his role on the second line.

“We’ve tried to stretch (Lowry) out of his comfort zone,” said Seeley. “I don’t think if you look at him in any one situation that he’s ‘just this.’”

Manchester continued to dominate in the proceeding minutes, but poor puck handling let Jacksonville able to tie up the contest before the second intermission. That equalizing goal came from Alexandre Goulet, catching Manchester netminder Evan Cawley out of position for his sixth goal of the season.

Cawley kept the score even after stopping a penalty shot just under two minutes later. That save let the Monarchs take back the lead with just under two minutes left in the period on power play goal from Rob Hamilton.

In addition to his goal, Racine also participated in a pair of altercations, ending the night with 11 penalty minutes in total. That puts him in the team lead for penalty minutes, but still well behind some of the league’s top enforcers.

“I don’t think I’m the enforcer here, I just play my role, said Racine. “It’s in my game, I play tough.”

With the win, the Monarchs kept pace with the Wheeling Nailers atop the ECHL’s North Division. Both teams end the evening with 15 points, with the Nailers defeating Toledo at home, 4-3.