This Christmas was not a merry one for the Manchester Monarchs, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
In two games prior to the Christmas break, Manchester came close to coming back from early deficits multiple times, only to lose both contests.
On Friday against Reading, the Monarchs allowed four goals in the first period alone, chasing Manchester netminder Chris Driedger in favor of new signing and UNH alumnus Danny Tirone.
Fortunately, the Monarchs scored two goals of their own during that opening frame, including their first power play goal at home in weeks. Manchester did add two more goals in the second period, including another power play goal, but the second goal of the night from Reading’s Alex Roos provided the difference between the two squads.
Then on Saturday, this time against Maine, the Monarchs left the opening frame with another deficit. Jack Nevins’ gave Manchester a goal in that first period, putting the Monarchs down 2-1 at the first intermission, but Maine’s Alex Kile provided the second period’s only goal.
However, Manchester recaptured their determination from Friday and tied things up by the middle of the final period. With that momentum, the Monarchs seemed destined to take the lead after Bryden Martin’s game misconduct put Maine down to four skaters for five minutes.
And yet, the Mariners would not only kill the penalty, but Ryan Gropp gave Maine the game-winning goal shortly after the Mariners returned to equal strength. Manchester would end without a power play goal once again, unable to duplicate Friday’s special teams barrage.
“We created a lot chances on the power play, you can’t always make it go in.,” Monarchs head coach Doug Christiansen . “We hit the post multiple times on the power play, we had multiple opportunities at the net front.”
Christiansen praised his team’s effort sticking in both of the contests, going as far to say that the better team did not win on Saturday night. Regardless, the only thing that matters is getting points in the standings.
If those points are coming, he’ll need more performances like those from Nevins, who was the only Monarch with goals in both games.
“Jack’s been an energy guy everywhere he’s been in his career. He’s had to fight, literally, for everything he’s got,” said Christiansen. “For him to get rewarded offensively helped get things going. There’s no reason he can’t continually chip in playing as many minutes as he is.”
Manchester has a chance at revenge against Maine as they head to Portland on Thursday (7 p.m.) followed by a pair of 7 p.m. games on the road against Adirondack on Friday and Saturday.