The Manchester Monarchs, AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Connecticut Whale, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, 3-1 for two big crucial points at the Verizon Wireless Arena Friday night.

           The Monarchs entered the weekend for their 3 last home games of the regular season; they have an opportunity to claim 6 points. Before Friday night’s game the Monarchs were 32-31-3 while the Whale were 35-28-5. Whale head coach, Ken Gernander, who was recently, inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame this past January; put Cameron Talbot between the pipes. While at the other end Monarchs head coach, Mark Morris, gave Martin Jones his 10th consecutive start. The Monarchs were in control most of the first period, keeping the puck in there zone most of the time. There were many good chances, but both goalies were a brick wall the whole night. Midway through the 1st, Brandon Kozun got a rebound off of Talbot’s pads giving him a wide open shot into the net but Talbot got across the crease in time to get the puck with the toe of his pads. There was only one penalty in the first period which was assigned to the Monarchs defenseman Nick Deslauriers for slashing at the 17:57 mark of the first. That would be the only penalty on the Monarchs for the night. The Whale were able to cash in on the power play opportunity with a backhanded shot from Chris Kreider, beating Jones glove side, giving the Whale a 1-0 lead going into the second. At the end of their first the shot were in favor of the Monarchs 12-9.

           The Monarchs came out to the second period just like they did with the first. There were 2 penalties on the Whale within the first 5 minutes of the second giving the Monarchs two power plays to work with but we unable to capitalize on them. They were putting up shot on Talbot left and right, within the first 10 minutes of the second they already record 9 shots on goal, but he gave no room. Talbot made about 8 glove saves in the second. It wasn’t until the 15:51 mark of the second when the Monarchs got a power play with a penalty on Whale forward, Kyle Jean for tripping. Then at 17:05 the Monarchs finally found the back of the net with a shot from Linden Vey, redirected by Jordan Weal knotting the game up at 1 apiece. The goal was looked at under review to see if there was a distinct kicking motion, the final call was that it was a good goal; it would go on to be Weal’s 15th of the season. Since Weal’s momentous goal, the Monarchs offense was finally finding the back of the net. Only 1:52 after the Monarchs first goal, Tanner Pearson shot the puck right in front of Talbot, getting the puck by him giving the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. Pearson collected the puck from a pass from Kozun behind the net, that goal would also be his 15th of the year. After two periods of play the Monarchs led the shot 31-15 putting 19 shots on goal in the second.

          The third period looked just like the first and second for the Monarchs getting shots in everywhere. Although Talbot gave up 2 late period goals he still made a handful of miraculous saves in the night. The Whale would go on getting two more penalties, one at 6:19 and another at 9:14, but Talbot was strong in net stopping all of the Monarchs shots. A penalty on the Whale at 17:52 of the third gave the Monarchs a man advantage, only seconds into the power play Talbot went to the bench to put the game at even strength which wasn’t enough for the Whale as Kozun skated the puck up to stuff it into the empty net closing up the game for a 3-1 win for the Monarchs. Vey had two assists on the night giving him another 1st start of the game and with Talbot’s very strong effort he received the 2nd start of the game. The Whale went 1-for-1 on the lone power play opportunity while the Monarchs went 2-for-6 on the opportunities. The Monarchs also led the shot total 45-20. The Whale fell to 35-29-5 and stands 7th in the Eastern Conference while the Monarchs improved to 33-31-3 in bring them to 10th in the Eastern Conference playoff race to get into the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Monarchs play the struggling Hershey Bears (33-29-3) who lost Friday night against the Providence Bruins, Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. With a win against Hershey the Monarchs can tie for the 8th and final spot in the conference with the Bears. The Monarchs will round out there final home game Sunday at 3:00 against the Worcester Sharks in Manchester, N.H.

Justin Cummings



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