We’re a little over a quarter through the 2017-’18 ECHL Season and the Manchester Monarchs are atop the North Division.
In honor of that fact and the Monarchs’ schedule has lightened up over the past few days since their early glut of games, leaving little to talk about in terms of recent action, this week we’ll be looking at the top three stars so far this season for Manchester’s divisional opponents.
Next game against the Monarchs: Dec. 30
Top Star: Patrick McNally – When a defenseman leads his team in points, it either says something about his abilities or the lack of abilities from his comrades in the front.
In this case, it might be a little of both.
Coming in from two years in the AHL, McNally’s tenth in the league in points among defensemen, recording four points against the Monarchs already.
Second Star: Eamon McAdam – McAdam has been solid, if not spectacular in net so far, giving his team a chance to win on almost every night.
He’s currently 14th in the league in Goals Against Average (2.74), a ranking that takes into account three very poor performances against Manchester, Utah and Brampton where he allowed a combined 13 goals.
Third Star: Ashton Rome – Another veteran, Rome was a significant contributor to Manchester’s playoff run last year, but this year he spoiled the Monarchs’ opening night.
Rome’s second stint in Worcester comes with the Captain’s “C” on his sweater, and he’s consistently delivered in the box score so far this year for the Railers, excluding a brief slump in early November.
Next game against the Monarchs: Jan. 31
Top Star: Brandon Marino – Marino’s easily been the Beast’s most valuable player at the quarter-season mark, leading the team in assists and points.
He also has a share of the team lead in goals at seven, including two against Manchester earlier in the year.
Second Star: Chris Leveille – Leveille also shares in the goal lead and hasn’t gone more than a game without a point so far, but his plus/minus rating is far worse than Marino’s.
Still, the hometown hero has room for growth, last year in the Federal League he scored 37 goals in 29 appearances.
Third Star: Stefan Fournier – Fournier has a pair of power play goals and is tied for second in goals among Beast skaters, but also leads the team in penalty minutes by quite a distance following fights against Kalamazoo, Jacksonville and Cincinnati.
Next game against the Monarchs: Dec. 20
Top Star: Ty Loney – Loney’s currently third in the league in goals, recording four points in his two appearances against Manchester this season.
Second Star: Shane Conacher – Conacher actually has recorded more points-per-game than Loney, albeit in four fewer appearances.
The big question now is whether he’ll continue in Glens Falls to get more playing time, or if his output has earned him a trip back to the AHL.
Third Star: Desmond Bergin – Even though the Thunder are just above .500, Bergin’s been on the wrong side of the plus/minus column four times in 21 games, tied for fourth in shots-on-goal among Adirondack skaters as well.
Next game against the Monarchs: Dec. 9
Top Star: John Muse – Muse and Mark Dekanich have split the Royals’ minutes between the pipes this season, but Muse is allowing almost an entire goal less per game than Dekanich.
He’s just outside the ECHL’s top ten in Goals Against Average (2.51) and is ninth in the league when it comes to save percentage (.923)
Second Star: Matt Willows – Willows leads the team in points so far and has not gone more than four games without a point so far in his professional career.
Plus, he wore the “C” at the Whittemore Center for the Wildcats three years ago, so he gets the Granite State boost in this column at the very least.
Third Star: Alex Krushelnyski – His dad Mike was on the Oilers’ four Stanley Cup-winning teams in the 80s and he’s continuing the family tradition at this level, nipping at Willows’ heels for the team points lead.
Krushelnyski also holds a share of the team’s lead in goals and has an impressive +10, also leading the team.
Next game against the Monarchs: Jan. 5
Top Star: Cody Wydo: He’s third in the league in points (27) and fourth in the league in goals scored (12). And that comes despite missing a game after an overtime game misconduct penalty in Worcester last month.
Second Star: Reid Gardiner: Gardiner’s up there with Wydo at the top of the league’s offensive categories, leading the team with four game-winning goals and 76 shots on goal.
Third Star: Garret Meurs: Meurs is just behind Wydo and Gardiner in the points column, joining them with double digits in goals (12) and assists (11) so far. Wydo, Gardiner, Meurs and teammate Hunter Fejes have more goals combined so far than the entire roster of the Quad City Mallards, the ECHL’s lowest scoring team up to this point.