Monarchs seek continued momentum after Norfolk sweep

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Zeb Knutson takes a shot (credit: Sarah Hobday)

The Manchester Monarchs are back in New England riding a Virginia trip that provided sorely needed relief after a difficult ending to November.

In their three-game stint in Norfolk, the Monarchs won all three games, outscoring the Admirals 14-5 in the process.

After allowing that many goals to Maine alone prior to leaving for Virginia, one would assume that goaltending proved to be the pivotal secret to this recent success. However, Manchester Monarchs Head Coach Doug Christiansen believes the reason stems not just from goaltending, but also making the most of opportunities and getting off to quick starts.

“I thought we had great starts and we carried the momentum,” he said. “When you have good starts and you’re strong defensively, a lot of good things happen.”

The Monarchs are still dead last in the ECHL by a wide margin when it comes to the power play, with no power play goals coming during the Norfolk series. Conversely, Manchester is leading the league when it comes to average shots on goal per game.

If there’s no solution to the anemic power play, that might just be alright as long as the goals eventually appear.

“If you told me before the weekend we’d have 14 goals, I’d be happy no matter how they happened,” said Christiansen. “For us, getting the 5-on-5 scoring chances is something we’ve been able to do this year and we’ve been consistently putting pressure in the offensive zone.”

The Monarchs hit the ice again on Wednesday night with a game in Worcester, where they’ll need a win to avoid falling into the North Division cellar. Following Worcester, the Monarchs head to Maine on Friday and Adirondack on Saturday before hosting Reading next week.