Monarchs grab overtime victory in tight contest against Adirondack

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MANCHESTER –  The Manchester Monarchs extended their winning streak to five on Friday night, with a 3-2 victory over division rival Adirondack.

The visiting Thunder took advantage of a sloppy first few minutes from the Monarchs, with Desmond Bergin getting Adirondack’s first goal off a slap shot from the circle at 3:06 in the first.

That goal seemed to wake up the Monarchs somewhat, but they couldn’t tie the contest until the second period, when Colton Saucerman scored his fourth goal of the year.

Manchester got their first lead of the night 5:10 into the third period, with Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman connecting a pass behind the net to Matt Schmalz, who immediately slapped the puck past Adirondack netminder Drew Fielding.

However, Adirondack would even the contest back up on a power play just three minutes later, as Brian Ward’s shot from the lefthand boards slipped between the inner post and Manchester goaltender Charles Williams.

Neither team could score again in regulation, as the Monarchs could not capitalize on Ward’s third trip to the box with 50 seconds left in the third period.

The game went to overtime, and Manchester finally made the most of their man advantage, with Matt Leitner would connecting with Zac Lynch to seal the victory 13 seconds into the extra frame.

For Monarchs head coach Richard Seeley, the contest had a quirky feel due to some lingering moments of aggression between both sides that never really bubbled over or resolved themselves.

However, he was pleased with his squad’s ability to move on from their early difficulties.

“I didn’t think we played with the pace we wanted, we didn’t play well away from pucks, we didn’t have a shooting mentality,” he said. “We got better in the second period, we had some two-on-one opportunities on the rush and it was just a close game, we grinded away.”

With a little over six weeks left in the regular season, the Monarchs are slowly distancing themselves from the rest of the pack in the ECHL’s North Division.

After Friday’s win they stand at 70 points, six points ahead of Adirondack, and 10 points away from what would be the likely threshold for a playoff berth.