GAME PREVIEW: Jackals Gear Up For Three-in-Three Against Manchester

Game 65: Elmira Jackals (15-41-7-1) vs. Manchester Monarchs (33-20-7-4)

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

The Jackals and Manchester Monarchs resume their 14-game season series with a three games in three nights series at First Arena, starting Friday. It'll be the final visit Manchester will make to Elmira and the 10th, 11th and 12th games head-to-head. The Monarchs have five wins in the series and the Jackals have four wins through the first nine games.

The Monarchs opened up a four game in five night stretch with a 5-1 win in Reading Wednesday night to leapfrog the Royals into third place in the North Division. That's despite the fact that Manchester is just 3-6-1-0 in its last 10 games, but the Monarchs are still 33-20-7-4 on the season. With 77 points they are two points out of first place, but just five points clear of the final playoff spot.

The Jackals are an even 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games and have five wins in March, the most wins in a single month this season. Elmira is now 15-41-7-1 on the season and with 38 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.      

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Last time out
 

Kenton Miller scored a season-high five points (2g, 3a) and Ian Young scored 1:21 into overtime as the Jackals topped the Nailers, 6-5, Mar. 19 at First Arena.

The teams alternated goals the entire night and Casey Thrush started it 4:47 into the first period by poking in his own rebound on a rush down the left wing. After Kale Kerbashian tied the score at 16:18, Sebastien Sylvestre put Elmira up 2-1 at 17:45 with a tip in on a pass from Nathan Moon. Wheeling answered to begin the second, but Sylvestre scored again on a breakaway to give the Jackals a 3-2 lead. 
 

Kevin Schulze tied it at three for Wheeling and then Kenton Miller netted his first of the night 21 seconds later for a 4-3 Jackals lead. The Nailers tied it late in the second and then Miller opened the third period with a go-ahead goal at 5:07. The Nailers pulled even for a fifth time at 8:39 to force overtime. In overtime, Ian Young converted on a 2-on-1 1:21 into the extra session to give the Jackals a 6-5 win in the final match against the Nailers.

Playing spoiler

The Jackals have just eight games remaining and they all come against the Manchester Monarchs and Adirondack Thunder, two teams in a tight race for a spot in the North Division playoffs. The results of these eight games will decide who makes the playoffs in the North Division.

Elmira is just 7-29-2-0 against their divisional opponents this season, but their best success has come against the Monarchs, with four wins in the nine-game series to date. Adirondack has points in all seven of the head-to-head matches (6-0-0-1) and the Monarchs have a 5-2-2-0 record against the Jackals.

The Jackals have finished their matches with Brampton, Reading and Wheeling. The Jackals went winless in nine games against Brampton and earned one win in 10 games against Reading and one victory in three matches with Wheeling.

Man on a mission

Jackals forward Kenton Miller is on an absolute roll since the Jackals went on their road trip to the Midwest during the second week of February. Since Feb. 11, Miller has recorded 22 points (15g, 7a) in just 17 games. He has goals in 12 of the 17 games and his 15 goals over this span still ranks third on the team overall.

Last week alone, the Redvers, Saskatchewan native produced eight points (5g, 3a) in three games including a five point game (2g, 3a) Sunday against the Wheeling Nailers. Miller has already set a personal best in the ECHL with 27 goals and he has 41 points in 63 games.

First impression

Nathan Moon, who the Jackals acquired off waivers March 13, had a great first week for the Jackals, logging six points and forming a dangerous top line with Kenton Miller and Sebastien Sylvestre. Moon notched points in all three games last week, culminating with a three assist game Sunday against Wheeling.

Including his six points last week, Moon has 29 points (9g, 20a) in 51 total games for Rapid City, Wichita, Toledo, Reading and Elmira.

Turning 20

Jackals forward Sebastien Sylvestre capped a five-point week with a three-point performance Sunday against Wheeling, including two goals against the Nailers. With those goals, Sylvestre reached the 20-goal mark for the second time in his three-year ECHL career. He scored 23 goals as a rookie for the Bakersfield Condors in 2014-15.

The Boucherville, Quebec native has matched his career-high of 47 points, also set in the 2014-15 season with Bakersfield. He reached 47 points in 69 games that year, while he has only appeared in 59 games so far this season.

Head-to-head

Tonight is the 10th game of the 14-game season series between the Jackals and Monarchs. Through the first nine games, the Monarchs have five victories (5-2-2-0) and the Jackals have four wins (4-5-0-0). Elmira is 3-1 in four games at First Arena against the Monarchs, including a 2-1 win Mar. 1 in their only matchup of the month so far.

Four of the top five Manchester scorers in the series are not currently on their active roster, leaving Daniel Doremus as the Monarchs top scorer against the Jackals with six points (2g, 4a) in eight games. For the Jackals, Kenton Miller leads the way with six points (5g, 1a)  in nine games.

Neither of Manchester's two goalies have appeared in a game against Elmira. Andy Iles is 3-2-0 in five games against the Monarchs with a 3.19 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Jason Kasdorf is 1-2-0 with a 3.38 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage.


Scouting the Monarchs

The Monarchs have slumped to a 3-6-1-0 record over their last 10 games and their once secure spot in the North Division playoff picture has become a lot tighter, although they opened the week with a critical win in Reading Wednesday night. At 33-20-7-4, the Monarchs have 77 points and are in third place in the North Division. They are a point behind Adirondack and two behind Brampton, leading Reading by a single point and their lead over Wheeling is five points for the final playoff spot. 

Despite their recent struggles, the Monarchs are still fourth in the ECHL offensively at 3.70 goals per game. Among active players Joe Diamond (22g, 22a) and Daniel Doremus (9g, 35a) lead the Monarchs with 44 points. Doremus just spent last week the AHL-Syracuse. Leading scorer Matt Leitner, who has 53 points in 51 games, is on loan to AHL-Springfield. 

In net, Colin Stevens, assigned to the Monarchs from AHL-Springfield, has appeared in nine games this season for the Monarchs. He is 3-5-0-1 with a 3.58 goals-against average and an .881 save percentage for Manchester and, including his 24 appearances for Tulsa he is 10-18-3-2 with a 3.23 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage. Rookie Jack Flinn is 3-2-1-0 with a 3.60 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage.


Special teams

The Monarchs went without a power play chance Wednesday in Reading so they are 0-for-2 over their last two games. Prior to that, they scored power-play goals in three straight games (3-for-7) so they are 3-for-9 (33.3%) in the last five. Manchester is fifth in the ECHL at 22.3% (45-for-202).

The Jackals went 2-for-6 on the power play last week, scoring goals Wednesday and Saturday. At 33-for-208 the Jackals are 18th in the league with the power play at 15.9% and they are 10th at home at 19.3%.

Manchester's penalty kill was 3-for-3 against the Royals Wednesday, but the Monarchs have still given up a power-play goal in four of the last six games and in eight of their last 11 games. They have fallen to 13th in the league at 82.6%, allowing 39 power-play goals in 224 chances. 

The Jackals stopped five of six Wheeling power plays Sunday, remaining 22nd in the ECHL on the PK at 80.7%. The Jackals are eighth in the league on home ice at 84.8%.