Game 36: Elmira Jackals (8-22-5-0) vs. Manchester Monarchs (24-10-1-2)
7:00 p.m., SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
The Jackals return from the All-Star Break and hit the halfway point of the regular season, playing game 36 of their 72-game season against the Manchester Monarchs at SNHU Arena. It's the sixth of 14 head-to-head matches and begins the second of three weekend trips to Manchester in 2016-17.
Manchester entered the All-Star Break with three straight wins over the Adirondack Thunder to bounce back from a three-game winless streak against the Florida Everblades. They are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 and have opened a seven point lead in the North Division with a 24-10-1-2 record and 44 points.
The Jackals went 1-2-0-0 in a three game series with the Reading Royals right before the All-Star Break and are 1-6-0-0 in their last seven games. With 21 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
Jackals Pregame at 6:45 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM | TV: WETM-2
Last time out
The Reading Royals scored three unanswered goals in the third period and pulled away from the Jackals in a 6-2 decision on a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matinee at Santander Arena.
The Jackals got off to a quick road start as Sam Povorozniouk fired home a rebound from the between the circles at 3:57 of the first period to stake Elmira to a 1-0 lead. The Jackals held the lead for over 10 minutes until Matt Willows tied the game with a power-play goal at 14:08 of the first. Three minutes later Justin Crandall put Reading up with a deflection goal.
The Royals went up 3-1 7:13 into the second on a backdoor goal from Ryan Penny, the Royals's second power-play goal. Tyson Fawcett got the Jackals back within one with less than 27 seconds to play in the second on a breakaway goal to make it a 3-2 game entering the third. The Royals pulled away with three goals in less than five minutes, including an empty-net goal, late in the game to win 6-2.
The Jackals and Monarchs both sent one representative to the ECHL All-Star Classic, which took place Wednesday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center, home of the Adirondack Thunder.
Sam Povorozniouk was the Jackals representative in the game, earning his spot on the team with a team-high 13 goals and 22 points, which ranks second on the team. Povorozniouk was held without a point in the All-Star Classic.
Manchester was represented by defenseman Justin Agosta, who has 21 points (6g, 15a) and a team-high +17 rating in 30 games with the Monarchs. Despite an AHL callup, Agosta still ranks in the top 20 (T-16th) in the ECHL for points among defenseman.
Tonight marks the sixth of 14 head-to-head matches this season between the Jackals and Monarchs, with Manchester winning three and Elmira winning two. The Monarchs have won the last three games of the series, including two at SNHU Arena in Manchester. The Jackals visit Manchester five more times, including tonight and the Monarchs come to First Arena four more times this season.
Daniel Ciampini, currently on recall with the AHL's Ontario Reign, is the leading scorer in the season series, posting seven points (5g, 2a) in five games. Matt Leitner is next with six points (1g, 5a) in just three games. The Jackals are led by Kenton Miller's five points (4g, 1a).
In goal, Andy Iles is 1-2-0-0 with a 3.68 goals-against average and an .887 save percentage against Manchester. Sam Brittain is 2-0-1-0 against the Jackals with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Jonah Imoo is 1-1-0-0 with a 3.03 goals-against average and .889 save percentage.
Scouting the Monarchs
The Monarchs come out of the All-Star Break with a 24-10-1-2 record, giving them 51 points and a seven point cushion for first place in the North Division. They are 14-5-0-1 in 20 home games, including two wins in two tries against the Jackals.
The Monarchs offense is second in the league at 3.92 goals per game, scoring at least five goals in each of the last three games, all Manchester wins. They are led by Quentin Shore (13g, 17a) and Daniel Doremus (5g, 25a) with 30 points apiece. Three players--Daniel Ciampini, Derek Arnold and Matt Leitner--slot right behind the leaders with 28 points.
Sam Brittain is Manchester's number one goalie, appearing in 24 of the team's 37 games. He boasts a 17-5-1-0 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
The Monarchs power play ranks sixth in the ECHL at 21.2% (28-for-132) this season. They are even better at SNHU Arena, going 17-for-70 (24.3%), which ranks third in the ECHL on home ice. Against Elmira, the Monarchs power play is 3-for-17 (17.6%).
The Jackals power play was 0-for-5 Monday in Reading, dropping to 19th in the ECHL at 14.4% (17-for-118) on the season. They're just 7-for-75 (9.3%) away from First Arena this season.
Manchester's penalty kill is the best in the ECHL, successfully killing 88.4% of opposition power plays, allowing just 17 power-play goals in 147 chances. They've stopped 13-of-14 chances against the Jackals (92.9%).
The Jackals penalty kill has been a roller coaster over the last few weeks, allowing two power-play goals in three situations Monday afternoon in Reading. That has dropped them to 18th in the ECHL at 82.7%, but their struggles are emphasized on the road, where they sit at 79.7%.