MANCHESTER – For the first time in several months, the Manchester Monarchs no longer lead the ECHL’s North Division.
Manchester dropped to second place following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday night, their second loss to the Thunder in as many days.
Pierre-Luc Mercier scored the game’s first goal for Adirondack, quickly grabbing a pass from the boards while Manchester netminder Evan Cowley was still shading to the side. Mercier, located near the inner edge of the right faceoff circle immediately shoved the puck to Cowley’s wide open right side.
Despite that first goal, the Monarchs kept up the pressure, outshooting the Thunder 15-10 in the first period.
They hit pay dirt on their 16th shot, a quick tap-in just in front of the net by Keegan Iverson.
The tie held until 11:23 into the second period when Andrew Radjenovic caught the Monarchs out of position, speeding in from the blue line to take in a casual one-timer in front of the net.
Mercier would add another goal off a slapshot from behind the left faceoff circle halfway through the third period to seal Adirondack’s victory.
It was a rough and tumble affair, with one fight during the game and another fight at the start of the second intermission that misconduct penalties for Manchester’s Alexx Privatera and James Henry.
With the win, Adirondack’s 72 points puts them one point above Manchester in the divisional standings, five ahead of Reading and seven ahead of Wheeling.
For Manchester head coach Richard Seeley, the loss signaled a renewed need to get back the basics his team emphasized earlier in the season.
However, he also noted that with several weeks left to go until the playoffs, their current five-game losing streak is not debilitating and that there’s plenty of time left to correct his team’s current woes.
“I’m not really concerned where we stand on March 3rd. Guys are judged on their season-long body of work,” said Seeley. “It’s important to go in the right direction, things have not been going right lately. It hasn’t been fun for us, but it’s important for us to learn things. We’re not paying attention to detail, we’re not executing like we did when we had success earlier.”
Manchester now has just 14 games left in its regular season campaign, with the next game coming on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Worcester.