McElhinney too much for Monarchs


          The Manchester Monarchs, AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings were shutout by Curtis McElhinney and the Springfield Falcons Wednesday night at the MassMutal Center down in Springfield, MA.

          The Monarchs paid a visit to the Northeast division leader, Falcons on Wednesday night. 2 crucial points were up for grabs between the two teams, Manchester needing them more as they stood outside the playoff picture entering the night. Manchester Monarchs coach Mark Morris went with the decision to put starting goaltender Martin Jones in net. The first period started off choppy with goal chances back and forth. It wasn’t until the 12:59 mark of the first period when Falcons defenseman Thomas Larkin, born in Italy and was the Columbus Blue Jackets #137 overall draft pick in 2009, scored his first goal of his AHL career who made his debut with the Falcons on March 17th, 2013 against the Connecticut Whale.

          The last goal of the night came from the Springfield Falcons at the 17:48 of the first period. Jones went to the back of his net to play the puck and passed it out front and was intercepted by Falcons center, Andrew Joudrey to stuff it into the empty net. The Monarchs put 25 shots on McElhinney, who was unstoppable Wednesday night leading him to a much deserving 1st star of the game. The Monarchs fell to 29-27-3 while the Falcons inporved to 35-18-5, increasing their lead in the Northeast division, however there was good news coming out of Manchester this evening as the Manchester Monarchs announced that there captain, Marc-Andre Cliche will return to the Monarchs lineup for the 13 remaining regular season games of the season, 7 of which being at home. Cliche has been out of the lineup for the past 17 games for the Monarchs with a lower body injury that required surgery. The Monarchs organizations was in the same place last year, outside looking into the Calder Cup Playoffs, the playoff race game down to the last game of the season as the Monarchs edged out the Portland Pirates for 8th place in the Eastern Conference, which led to a loss against the 2012 Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals in the fist round of the playoffs.

          The Monarchs return home for the weekend with a game at 7:00 against the Hershey Bears (30-24-3) and on Sunday at 3:00 vs. the St. John’s IceCaps (25-32-1) at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H.


Justin Cummings