The Manchester Monarchs, AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, fell to the Springfield Falcons, AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1 in a thrilling overtime period.

          The Monarchs came to the MassMutual Center being in the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference while the Falcons were 2nd seeded. Monarchs’ head coach, Mark Morris put Martin Jones in net while at the other end; Falcons head coach Brad Larsen gave Curtis McElhinney the nod. This series, along with all the other Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals would be a best-of-5 series. The game started out with back and forth action with great saves coming from each end. At 5:04 of the first Monarch’s defenseman, Andrew Campbell went off for interference but the Falcons were unable to get the puck by Jones. Another interference penalty was called at 12:47 assigned to Falcons forward, Matthew Ford and the Monarchs couldn’t cash in either. With only two penalties and a combined 19 shots in the first, 9 from the Monarchs and 10 from the Falcons, both teams went into the room scoreless.

          The second period started with the Monarchs controlling the puck. Monarch’s defenseman Derek Forbort was called for slashing at 5:09, but Jones was stellar stopping of the Falcons’ shots. At 8:15 Flacons defenseman, Blake Parlett went to the sin-bin for holding. Once his 2 minutes were up he came out of the box watching the play form the blue line. There was a very questionable call when Parlett got a long pass to get a breakaway on Jones, he was pressured from the back by Vincent LoVerde but he didn’t appear to be interfering with his stick at all but the play was called for a penalty shot. Parlett went in and backhanded the puck over Jones’ head. That goal would end up being at the 10:25 mark of the second. There was only one more penalty on Springfield to Falcons’ Sean Collins for slashing but the Monarchs couldn’t capitalize. The period ended with the Monarchs leading the shot total 18-17.

          The third period started like the first, back and forth action. Another penalty was called on Falcons’ Matthew Ford for hooking 4 minutes into the third but the Monarchs still couldn’t find the back of the net. The Monarchs had received a bench minor at 6:43 for too many men which was served by Anthony Stewart. It wasn’t until 11:11 of the third when the Monarchs finally broke McElhinney’s brick wall. When a shot from Yale Graduate, Brian O’Neill went off McElhinney and slowly rolled into the back of the net knotting the game up at once a piece. After that the goal the Monarchs soon got more and more momentum and putting more and more shots on McElhinney, who was making saves left and right. At 18:08 Jordan Weal went to the box for hooking. The Falcons couldn’t do anything by the time the 3rd period ended giving them 8 seconds on the power play going into overtime. At the end of the 3rd the Falcons were leading in shots 29-28.

          The Falcons controlled the game from the 1st puck drop in overtime getting shots off very quickly. Half way through the overtime period Falcon’s forward Ryan Russell put a pass out front for Cody Bass to tip it into the left side of the net beating Jones, giving the Falcons a 2-1 win and a 1-0 series lead. In the overtime period the Monarchs only put 2 shots in goal while the Falcons put 6 on Jones. The Monarchs return to the MassMutual Center on Sunday at 4:00 to battle with the Falcons and look to tie up the series. Game 3 will be played in Thursday night at 7:00 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H.

Justin Cummings