Game 15: Elmira Jackals (2-10-2-0) vs. Manchester Monarchs (11-5-0-1)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals and Manchester Monarchs open their season series with back-to-back games to conclude a three-in-three weekend at First Arena. It's the first of 14 head-to-head matches, the most the Jackals face one opponent this season.
The Monarchs are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games, but had a six-game winning streak snapped last night at home against the Florida Everblades. Manchester leads the North Division with 23 points and is 7-3-0-1 in 11 games against the division.
The Jackals are winless over their last 10 games (0-8-2-0) after letting a one-goal lead slip away late last night against Reading. The Jackals are still searching for their first win in November and they haven't won since Oct. 25 against Adirondack.
Purchase single game tickets by calling (607) 734-7825, visiting the Main Street Box Office at First Arena or online.
Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio:1410 WELM
Last time out
The Reading Royals scored twice in the final four minutes to rally past the Jackals, 3-2, last night at First Arena.
The Jackals were tied or held a lead for much of the game, grabbing a 1-0 lead 6:36 into the first period. Greg Betzold banged in a rebound following a Jackals faceoff win for his second goal of the season, making it 1-0 Elmira. 10 minutes later, Nick Luukko scored on a mini breakaway down the left wing, tying the game at one at 16:21.
Guy Leboeuf put the Jackals back in front early in the third, blasting a one-timer from the high slot for his first goal of the season and giving the Jackals a 2-1 lead at 3:35. It stayed 2-1 Jackals deep into the third period, until Olivier Labelle scored a power-play goal on a deflection with 3:15 remaining in the third. Less than a minute later Jesper Pettersson snapped in a shot from the slot to give Reading its first lead, 3-2, and the Jackals couldn't find an equalizing goal.
The Jackals made several roster moves ahead of this weekend's three-in-three. The team added forward J.P. LaFontaine to the roster after claiming him off waivers last week. The second-year pro won the Kelly Cup with the Allen Americans last season and skated in nine games with Allen to begin this season, contributing three points (1g, 2a). He made his Jackals debut last night.
Tuesday, the Jackals and Rochester Americans (AHL) swapped goalies, with John Muse getting recalled to Rochester and rookie Jason Kasdorf being reassigned to Elmira. Kasdorf, a 6th round pick by the Winnipeg Jets in 2011, started three games for the Amerks this season after making his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres at the end of last season. He stopped 31 shots in his Elmira debut last night.
Forwards Vaclav Karabacek, a Buffalo Sabres 2nd round draft pick in 2014, and Matt Lane were reassigned to the Jackals early Friday and skated in their first ECHL game against Reading.
Defenseman Brycen Martin, who has appeared in 10 games for the Jackals and scored his first pro goal Nov. 19, was recalled to Rochester for the second time this season on Sunday. The Jackals traded Daultan Leveille to Wichita for future considerations and also released forwards Todd Christian and Colin Murray to set their roster before the weekend.
This weekend marks the first three-in-three for the Jackals this season, as they host Reading and Manchester following Thanksgiving. Elmira will play 10 three-in-threes during the regular season, but don't have another one until January.
After this weekend, the next three-in-three for the Jackals will be Jan. 20-22, when they play three straight games in Manchester. That will begin a stretch of three straight weekends of three-in-threes.
Last season, the Jackals had just four instances of three games in three nights.
Scouting the Monarchs
The Monarchs have moved to the top of the North Division with seven wins in their last 10 games. They had won six in a row, including four against the Reading Royals, before losing at home to Florida last night. At 11-5-0-1 and with 23 points, they are tied with Adirondack for first place, although the Thunder have a game in hand on Manchester. The Monarchs are unbeaten in five road games this year.
Manchester is fifth in the league in scoring at 3.76 goals per game, potting 64 goals in 17 games. 10 players are in double figures in points this season, led by Joe Diamond who has 16 points (7g, 9a), including a team-high three game-winning goals. Daniel Ciampini (6g, 10a) also has 16 points and Justin Agosta (5g, 10a) is third on the team with 15 points. Agosta is third in the ECHL in scoring among defensemen.
In goal, Sam Brittain has appeared in 11 games for the Monarchs, posting an 8-2-0-0 record with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. He had won his last five starts since Nov. 6 before taking the loss last night. He's tied for second in wins in the ECHL with three other goalies.
Tonight is the first of 14 matches between the Jackals and Monarchs in 2016-17, which is the most head-to-head meetings for the Jackals against one opponent this year. After the two games at First Arena, the series will resume Dec. 16-17 in Manchester.
Last season, in the first year of the head-to-head series, the Monarchs won six of 11 matches against the Jackals. They split the six games at First Arena in 2015-16.
Among returning players, Derek Arnold was the leading scorer in the series, posting eight points (2g, 6a) in eight games. Matt Leitner (2g, 5a) and Joe Diamond (1g, 6a) both had seven points against Elmira.
The Monarchs special teams has been a big reason for their success in 2016-17. They rank second in the ECHL on the power play at 25.4%, going 15-for-59 through their first 17 games. On the road the Monarchs power play is humming at a 26.3% success rate, 5-for-19 in five games.
The Jackals power play went 0-for-2 on the power play in their loss last night against Reading, moving to 7-for-42 (16.7%) with the man advantage, ranking 18th in the league. At First Arena, the Jackals power play is just 3-for-20 (15.0%) in seven games.
Manchester's penalty kill is among the best in the league, going 61-for-68 (89.7%) and ranking third in the ECHL. The Monarchs are even better on the road, stopping 22-of-24 (91.7%) opponent's power plays in five road matches this season.
The Jackals penalty kill was a perfect 2-for-3 last night and is now 20-for-23 (87.0%) in the last nine games. On the season they are 31-for-39 (79.5%) on the penalty kill, ranking 22nd in the league. They have been shorthanded fewer than any other team in the league.