Game 26: Elmira Jackals (6-14-5-0) vs. Manchester Monarchs (18-8-1-1)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals play their final game before the Christmas break tonight against the Manchester Monarchs in the fifth of 14 matches between the team. The two teams just played a two-game weekend series in Manchester last week, with the Monarchs winning both games.
The Monarchs had their six-game winning streak snapped in Tuesday's loss to the Wheeling Nailers, but they responded with a win Wednesday. With seven wins in their last eight, the Monarchs lead the North Division by three points over Adirondack and Brampton.
The Jackals returned home last night for their first home since Dec. 2, losing in overtime to the Adirondack Thunder, but extending their home points steak to five games (3-0-2-0). They have losses in six of their last seven games overall (1-4-2-0), dropping to 6-14-5-0 on the season. With 17 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division.
Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM
Here comes Santa Claus
As the Jackals prepare for a brief Christmas break this weekend, Santa Claus visits First Arena tonight. Fans can get pictures taken with Santa starting in the first intermission and he will make visits to those on his "Nice List" during the game.
Fans will also receive special holiday-themed posters and Mark Bennett and Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel will be available for autographs following the game.
Last time out
The Jackals overcame a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but lost to the Adirondack Thunder, 4-3, in OT last night at First Arena.
The Thunder built up a 3-0 lead in the first period, scoring three goals in just over seven minutes. Peter MacArthur started it with a deflection goal at 11:31. Alex Fedoseyev struck on a breakaway with five minutes left in the first period and then Gunnar Hughes made it 3-0 at 18:52. The Jackals began the comeback moments later, with Greg Betzold stashing a centering pass from Tyson Fawcett with 27 seconds left in the first.
The Jackals rallied with two more goals in the third period to force overtime. Kyle Rankin tipped Guy Leboeuf's point shot at 10:03 to make it a one-goal game and then Greg Amlong scored his first professional goal on a slap shot from the point for a game-tying power-play goal with 2:15 remaining in regulation. Greg Wolfe won the game with 4.3 seconds to play in overtime on a rebound at the right circle.
Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel skated in his 200th ECHL game Dec. 16 vs. Manchester. 135 of his 201 ECHL games have come with the Jackals, where he has recorded 31 of his 50 career ECHL points. He skated for Elmira in back-to-back seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Dieude-Fauvel's defensive partner, Guy Leboeuf, is in line to skate in his 150th ECHL game tonight against the Monarchs.
With last night's overtime loss, the Jackals extended their home point streak to five straight games (3-0-2-0) since Nov. 26. The first two wins of this streak came against the Manchester Monarchs Nov. 26-27. The other win came against the Kalamazoo Wings Dec. 2.
Scouting the Monarchs
The Monarchs have seven wins in their last eight games and lead the North Division by three points with an 18-8-1-1 record and 38 points. They have taken over the top spot in the Eastern Conference, one point clear of Florida and Orlando. The Monarchs have played 18 home games, second most in the league, and they lead the ECHL with 12 home wins.
Manchester hit the 100-goal plateau last Saturday against the Jackals and is fourth in the ECHL at 3.82 goals per game. It has been a balanced attack for the Monarchs this season, who have 15 players with at least 10 points. Daniel Ciampini leads the team with 25 points (9g, 16a) in 26 games, which ranks 39th overall in the league.
In goal, Sam Brittain has appeared in 18 of Manchester's 28 games, posting a 12-4-1-0 record with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He is third in the ECHL with 12 wins, but was dealt an overtime loss in one of his two starts against the Jackals this season. Jonah Imoo has only appeared in four games and he is 3-1-0-0, including a win and loss to Elmira.
Tonight is the fifth of 14 matches between the Jackals and Monarchs this season, the most the Jackals face any opponent in 2016-17. The Jackals won the first two meetings Nov. 26-27 at First Arena, winning by scores of 5-3 and 2-1 (OT) for a weekend sweep of their North Division rival. The Monarchs responded with a two-game weekend sweep at SNHU Arena last weekend, evening the series.
Steven Kaunisto and Kenton Miller both have three points in four games against Manchester, with Kaunisto recording his first ECHL multi-goal game Nov. 26. Andy Illes, has started three of the four games against Manchester, going 1-2-0-0.
For Manchester, five players have recorded four points against the Jackals. Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman leads the Monarch with three goals in the series. In net, Sam Brittain has allowed three goals on 46 shots in two games while Jonah Imoo has allowed six goals in two games.
The Monarchs power play is third in the ECHL at 22.4% (22-for-98), but they are just ninth in the league on the road at 20.0%. They are 3-for-14 (21.4%) head-to-head against the Jackals this season.
The Jackals power play snapped an 0-for-20 drought with the game-tying power-play goal last night against Adirondack as they went 1-for-2 in the overtime loss. They are 16th in the ECHL at 16.7% (13-for-78), but they have the third-best power play at home at 25.8% (8-for-31).
The Monarchs penalty kill is tops in the ECHL, allowing a league-low 10 power-play goals in 107 shorthanded opportunities, a 90.7% success rate. At 89.2% on the road, the Monarchs road penalty kill ranks third overall.
The Jackals were a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill last night and are 20-for-22 (90.9%) in the last five games. They only allowed a power-play goal in one of those five games, giving up two Dec. 16 at Manchester. Elmira is 14th in the ECHL at 83.7%.