The Monarchs have gotten their first win of 2018, but they haven’t quite regained their early season momentum.
It’s Jan. 18, 2018, here’s your Manchester Monarchs Week in Review.
Manchester still holds a slender lead at the top of the ECHL’s North Division, reduced further by another poor week in what has been a poor month.
On Friday, the Monarchs gave Worcester their first overtime win of the year, evening up the season series between what has become something of a defacto rivalry.
The next day, Manchester took back the series lead against the Railers in a gritty affair that saw tempers flair before the Monarchs pulled away in the third period.
However, Manchester couldn’t keep up the momentum on Sunday, in a loss to Reading that the Monarchs’ third mid-game goalkeeper change this season and the first in-game departure for Branden Komm.
Monarchs head coach Rich Seeley has held a strict platoon system in net this between between Charles Williams, and the team’s “second” goaltender: Evan Cowley, and Komm since Cowley was recalled to Springfield in early December.
Williams has cooled off in recent weeks after a hot start, but he and Komm have given the Monarchs goaltending above the league average on most nights this season.
“I think Charles has probably been our guy for awhile now, but our schedule is not so conducive to a guy playing four, five, six game in a row stretch,” said Seeley on Saturday. “There might be a situation with a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday where a goalie can play all three, but due to our scheduling issues we use both goalies, which is big, because we have both guys that the group has confidence in.”
Top Star: Spencer Watson – Watson had the team’s only goal on Friday and had a point in each of the games this weekend.
Second Star: Matt Buckles – Buckles also had a point in each game this weekend, but unlike Watson, he could not stay out of the negative side of the plus/minus over the three-game stretch. He’s been a -4 for the month so far.
Third Star: Zac Lynch – Lynch had the only multi-goal game by a Monarch over the weekend thanks to an empty netter late in Friday’s contest. He currently leads the team in goals with 18.
Beyond the Blue Lines
Sam Kurker contributed an assist for the North Division on Monday as Joel Lowry’s All-Star replacement. Lowry has not appeared on the ice for the Monarchs since Dec. 15
In regard to the roster, the only change over the weekend was the swap of Martin Nemcik for Francois Beauchemin.
Beauchemin, 21, returns to Manchester after playing 14 games this season for the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, where he has totaled three points on two goals and one assist. Beauchemin scored his first professional goal on Nov. 17 against the Charlotte Checkers in a 4-0 Thunderbirds victory.
The Monarchs finish up their January homestand this weekend with another three-day/three-game stretch.
This time, Wheeling comes to town on Friday at 7 p.m., with Jacksonville playing back-to-back on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.