Game 70: Elmira Jackals (17-44-7-1) at Manchester Monarchs (35-22-7-4)
3:00 p.m., SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
The Jackals and Manchester Monarchs wrap up their 14-game season series this afternoon with the second game of a back-to-back at SNHU Arena in Manchester. It's the final road game in Jackals history and the 14th game of the head-to-head series. The Monarchs lead the series with seven wins to the Jackals six.
With a win over the Jackals last night, the Monarchs are 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 games and 35-22-7-4 on the season. With 81 points, Manchester is on the verge of clinching a playoff berth for the eighth straight year and the 15th time in 16 years of existence. They are currently third in the North Division and can clinch with a win or Wheeling loss against Reading.
The Jackals have opened the week with two losses on the road, dropping to 4-26-4-1 away from First Arena entering their final ever road game. Overall, the Jackals are coming off their first month with a winning record and they are 7-7-0-0 in their last 14 games. Elmira is now 17-44-7-1 on the season and with 42 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
Last time out
The Manchester Monarchs peppered the Jackals net with 43 shots and pulled away with two unanswered goals in the third period to defeat the Jackals, 5-2, last night at SNHU Arena.
The Monarchs grabbed a 1-0 lead 8:29 into the first when Mario Puskarich pounced on a rebound near the crease, which was created off a hard bounce off the glass on a Colton Saucerman shot. The Jackals evened the score with a Davis Vandane power-play goal at 15:37, ripping a one-timer from the left circle to tie the game 1-1. Manchester controlled play in the second period and ended up with a 3-2 lead. Daniel Doremus made it 2-1 at 6:29, potting a rebound that squirted behind Andy Iles. Then Cory Ward jammed in another rebound off the end wall at 11:34 to make it 3-1. Despite a significant shots disadvantage in the period, Perry D'Arrisso got Elmira within one again with his first professional goal at 16:45, deflecting a pass in the slot.
The Jackals played their best territorial period in the third, but the Monarchs still pulled away. Saucerman made it a 4-2 game at 5:34 with a one-timer from the slot. Zac Lynch sealed the game away with an empty-net goal with 1:01 left for a 5-2 Monarchs win.
Tonight is the final game of the 14-game season series between the Jackals and Monarchs. Through the first 13 games, the Monarchs have seven victories (7-4-2-0) and the Jackals have six wins (6-7-0-0). Elmira went 5-2 in the seven games at First Arena against the Monarchs, including three wins in March.
With two assists last night, Rihards Bukarts has nine points (1g, 8a) in 10 games against the Jackals, which is tied with Teddy Doherty (1g, 8a) for the series lead among active Monarchs players. For the Jackals, two players-Kenton Miller (8g, 3a) and Davis Vandane (2g, 9a)-lead the way with 11 points in the series.
In net, Jack Flinn earned his first win over the Jackals, improving to 1-2-0 while Charles Williams won last Saturday night in his professional debut. Andy Iles is 4-4-0 in eight games against the Monarchs with a 3.60 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Jason Kasdorf is 2-2-0 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage, including his first professional shutout last Sunday.
Scouting the Monarchs
The Monarchs 4-6-0-0 over their last 10 games, but are back in third place in the North Division with a chance to clinch an eighth straight playoff berth with a win or a Wheeling regulation loss today. At 35-22-7-4, the Monarchs have 81 points, one ahead of Reading's 80 and three behind Brampton, with a game in hand
Among active players, Joe Diamond, who returned from a two-game suspension with three assists last night, leads the team with 47 points (22g, 25a). Daniel Doremus, who missed last weekend due to personal reasons, has 45 points (10g, 35a) after scoring a goal last night. Leading scorer Matt Leitner, who had 53 points in 51 games, is on loan to the AHL's Springfield Thunderbirds.
In net, Jack Flinn has started four of their last five games last week and has appeared in 11 games this season, posting a 4-4-1 record with a 3.52 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage. Charles Williams made his pro debut and defeated the Jackals Saturday night.
The Monarchs power play was 1-for-4 last night, moving to 49-for-216 this season. Their 22.7% conversion rate ranks fifth in the league and their 25.5% rate on home ice is fourth.
The Jackals have scored power-play goals in seven of the last eight games (9-for-28). At 40-for-230 the Jackals are 12th in the league with the power play at 17.4%.
Manchester's penalty kill has surrendered goals in eight of the last 10 game and 12 of the last 15 games, including six power-play goals against in 16 shorthanded chances against the Jackals over the last four games. The Monarchs have dropped to 19th in the ECHL on the kill at 81.3%.
The Jackals penalty kill surrendered a power-play goal in four chances last night against the Monarchs, slipping to 21st in the ECHL on the kill at 80.5%, allowing 52 power-play goals in 267 chances.