The regular season is over. The playoffs are here.
It’s April 9, here’s your Manchester Monarchs Week in Review.
One last three-day/three-game set, and a frustrating end to what overall had been a good regular season.
Despite leading the ECHL’s North Division for most of the season, with double digit point leads at certain points, the Monarchs late Spring collapse finally proved too much to overcome on Friday night. There, a road loss to Adirondack gave Adirondack a lead in the division they wouldn’t relinquish over the weekend.
That’s not to say Manchester couldn’t have made up for that defeat on Saturday against Worcester, but yet another poor start and a generally mediocre performance for the rest of the night put the divisional race into Adirondack’s hands, and they took advantage on Sunday with a 6-2 win over Brampton.
The Monarchs scraped together a consolation 2-0 win in Worcester on Sunday to complete the season, but it’s clear that more will be needed as the postseason begins.
“I wish I could put my finger on it, but ultimate it’s buying into what’ve given us success,” said Monarchs forward Kevin Morris on Saturday. “Getting pucks deep, being physical, sticking to the game plan from the start. When you don’t stick to the game plan, you’re taking your chances, that’s what coach (Rich Seeley) always says.”
Top Star: Kevin Morris – Two points, positive plus/minus, Kevin had a good week and is a core part of Manchester’s “second tier” of forwards behind their “core” scoring tier (LaVallee-Smotherman, Watson, Zac Lynch, Joel Lowry when he was here.)
Second Star: Michael Doherty – See Kevin Morris.
Third Star: Matt Schmalz – “Schmalzie” is also in that “second tier,” but like Doherty and Morris, has the capacity to get hot quick, as he did on Friday. He didn’t make much of a mark on Friday or Sunday’s games, but his performance on Saturday lumped with this bad week is enough to put him into this week’s top three.
Beyond the Blue Lines
Ashton Rome took the night off on Saturday following the return of Tony Turgeon and Coach Seeeley switched out Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman, David Kolomatis and Jared Kolquist for Jake Wood, Sam Kurker and Martin Nemcik for the Sunday finale.
The other other transaction news during the week was the release of Alexx Privatera’s younger brother Jarrid, who tried out with the team but did not appear in any games.
UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Matt Leitner and Colton Saucerman returned from the AHL, with Tony Turgeon and Jayce Hawryluk going back to their spots with Springfield in the AHL. Nemcik and Wood have been released, at least for now.
Instead of facing Worcester again, with the second seed in the division, Manchester will now face the Reading Royals in the playoff’s first round.
Game One is on Friday at 7 p.m. in Manchester, followed by a 6 p.m. showdown at SNHU Center on Saturday.
Manchester then heads to Reading for games on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday if necessary, heading back to Manchester if needed after that for Game Six and Seven.