GAME PREVIEW: Jackals Begin March Against Manchester

Game 56: Elmira Jackals (10-37-7-1) vs. Manchester Monarchs (30-15-6-4)

7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York

The Jackals begin the final full month of 2016-17 with a home date against the Manchester Monarchs, in what is the second game of a four games in five nights stretch for the Jackals. It is the ninth game of the 14-game season series with Manchester leading five wins to three.

Manchester has slumped to a 3-4-3-0 record over their last 10 games and dropped out of first place in the North Division. At 30-15-6-4, the Monarchs have 70 points, which places them one point shy of Brampton for the top spot in the division.

The Jackals opened the week last night by completing their suspended game with the Reading Royals. The Jackals lost the game, 4-3, but they outscored Reading, 3-2, in the 46:07 that was played last night, although Reading had a 2-0 lead carryover from the first portion of the game Feb. 17. The Jackals are now 10-37-7-1 on the season and have 28 points, which puts them in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.      

Broadcast Coverage

Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM

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TICKETS

$1 Beer Night

Enjoy Bud Light and Labatt Blue all night long for just $1 each during the Jackals $1 Beer Night at First Arena.

Last time out
 

The Jackals outscored the Reading Royals, 3-2, last night during the remaining 46:07 of a suspended game from Feb. 17, but lost the game, 4-3. Reading entered last night with a 2-0 lead from the first 13:53 that was played on Feb. 17.

The Royals built on their 2-0 lead in the second period, first getting a goal on a shot from Olivier Labelle at 1:43 and then from Ryan Penny at 16:28, giving Reading a 4-0 lead into the third period. From there the Jackals nearly came all the way back. Davis Vandane opened the third period with a breakaway goal just 47 seconds into the period.
 

Less than two minutes later, Luke Sandler scored his first goal with the Jackals at 2:10 of the final frame to make it a 4-2 game. After the Royals had a goal waved off because the puck was batted in with a high stick, the Jackals got within one at 8:12 when Kenton Miller buried a shorthanded goal on a pass from Casey Thrush. The Jackals pushed late, but couldn't find the equalizer in a 4-3 loss.

Streaking

With a goal last night, Kenton Miller extended his goal-scoring streak to a season and career-high four-straight games. Over the last four games, Miller has six points (4g, 2a) and he eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the first time in his ECHL career. His 20 goals lead the Jackals and are the most he has had in a single season since potting 30 with the Missouri Mavericks in the CHL in 2012-13. The Redvers, Saskatchewan native has eight goals over his last eight games since Feb. 11.

Defenseman Davis Vandane extended his point streak to a career-high four games with a goal last night. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan native has four points (3g, 1a) during the streak, upping his season totals to a career-best seven goals and 23 points. His 23 points rank fourth on the Jackals.

Blue line production

The Jackals have goals from defensemen in each of their last four games, with Davis Vandane leading the way with three goals (Feb. 23, 24 and 28) and Brycen Martin chipping in with a goal Feb. 25. 

It's the second time this season that the Jackals defensemen have combined to score goals in four straight times. The first time was Nov. 18-26 and was ended by the Manchester Monarchs on Nov. 27, in a game the Jackals won, 2-1, in overtime.

Let by Davis Vandane's seven goals, the Jackals D-core has combined for 25 goals this season out of Elmira's 120 total goals.

Transactions

The Jackals announced a pair of additions to their roster yesterday, signing forward Robert Lepine and goalie Greg Dodds to amateur tryouts (ATO).

Lepine, 24, just completed his career at the University of Guelph by leading the team with 15 goals and adding 31 points. In his three-year career at Guelph, the Pembroke, Ontario native finished with 48 points 59 games. He will wear #13 for the Jackals.

Dodds, 24, wrapped up four years at the University of Western Ontario by appearing in 20 games this season. During his career, Dodds finished with a record of 37-26-0 with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage, including three shutouts. He will wear #39 for the Jackals.

Head-to-head

Tonight is the ninth of 14 head-to-head matches between the Jackals and Monarchs. Although the Monarchs have five wins over Elmira and points in seven of the eight games (5-1-2-0), the Jackals' three wins over the Monarchs are the most wins they have over any one opponent this season.The teams play two more in Manchester and four in Elmira, including tonight.

Matt Leitner leads the series with 12 points (4g, 8a) and a +8 rating in just six games played. Kenton Miller is the top Jackals scorer in the series with six points (5g, 1a) in the eight games.  

In net, Jonah Imoo has started five of the eight games and is 3-1-1-0 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. Sam Brittain, who has appeared in a majority of Manchester's games this season, is 2-0-1-0 in three appearances with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. For the Jackals, Andy Iles is 2-2-0 and Jason Kasdorf is 1-2-0 in the series with Manchester.


Scouting the Monarchs

Manchester's lead in the North Division has evaporated and they now trail the Brampton Beast by a point, because of a 3-4-3-0 record over the last 10 games. They have lost six of their last seven games (1-4-2-0) since Feb. 12 and are 30-15-6-4 on the season. They have been stellar at home (20-6-3-1), but they are just 10-9-3-3 away from SNHU Arena.
 

The Monarchs rank fourth in the league with 3.85 goals per game with Matt Leitner leading the way with 49 points (12g, 37a) in 44 games. Daniel Doremus is second with 40 points (8g, 32a) and Quentin Shore is third with 38 points (16g, 22a). Joe Diamond is first on the team with 18 goals and 10 players have scored at least 10 goals for the Monarchs this season.
 

In goal, Sam Brittain has seen the majority of the action, with 35 appearances and a 20-8-4-1 record. He has a 3.32 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage. Jonah Imoo is 7-4-2-2 with a 3.33 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage in 18 appearances.

Special teams

Manchester ranks fourth in the league with the man advantage, scoring 42 power-play goals in 182 chances, a 23.1% success rate. They scored four in six chances against the Jackals Jan. 21 and are 8-for-27 (29.6%) against Elmira this season.

The Jackals went 0-for-2 on the power play last night, moving to 27-for-180 (15.0%) on the season, ranking 21st in the ECHL.

Since giving up five power-play goals to Adirondack Feb. 12, the Monarchs have allowed 11 power-play goals in five of the last seven games in just 24 shorthanded situations (54.2% kill rate). That has dropped Manchester to 12th in the league at 83.2%. 

The Jackals are a perfect 12-for-12 on the PK over the last three games, their best stretch since late December. They are now 23rd in the ECHL at 80.3% on the kill this season and they scored their third shorthanded goal of the year last night.