GAME PREVIEW: Paws and Pucks Converge at First Arena

Game 67: Elmira Jackals (16-42-7-1) vs. Manchester Monarchs (34-21-7-4)

4:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York

The Jackals and Manchester Monarchs continue their 14-game season series with the rubber match of a three games in three days series at First Arena. It's Paws and Pucks day as fans can purchase a special ticket and bring their dogs to the game. It's the 12th head-to-head match of the season and Manchester has six wins to the Jackals five.

The Monarchs are 2-1 in the first three games of their four-game road trip, which concludes today with the fourth game in five nights. They are just 4-5-1-0 in their last 10 games and 34-21-7-4 on the season. With 79 points are now in fourth place in the ever-changing North Division playoff race, tied with Reading and a point behind Brampton and two behind Adirondack.

The Jackals are playing their best hockey of the season, with five wins in their last 10 games and six wins in March, the most wins in a single month this season. Elmira is now 16-42-7-1 on the season and with 40 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.      

Broadcast Coverage
 

Jackals Pregame at 3:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM

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 TICKETS

Paws and Pucks/Postgame skate

For paws and pucks night, fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game and can do so by purchasing a special dog ticket. Dog owners must bring in copies of current proof of vaccinations for dogs to be allowed in First Arena. Fans can purchase dog tickets using this link: https://jackalshockey.formstack.com/forms/pawsandpucks2017.

After the game, fans are invited to participate in the team's final postgame skate session of the season. Jackals players will skate on the ice and fans can join them for free. Skate rentals are available through the booth at the Rec Rink for just $3.

Last time out
 

The Manchester Monarchs built up a 6-1 lead then hung on in the third for a 7-4 win over the Jackals during Pink in the Rink last night at First Arena.

The Monarchs came flying out of the gates and dominated the first period, taking a 2-0 lead on goals from Cory Ward at 1:06 and Tyler Elbrecht at 4:06. The Jackals responded to begin the second period on a power-play goal by Sebastien Sylvestre 1:09 into the second. From there, Manchester rolled off four straight goals, starting with a rebound goal by Peter Leblanc at 1:41. Ward, Eric Schurhamer and Colton Saucerman also scored for a 6-1 lead after the second. 
 

The Jackals flipped the script in the third, but couldn't overcome the large deficit. Kenton Miller potted his 29th goal of the season on a one-timer from the left circle at 2:37. Later Davis Vandane scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the blue line at 13:33 to make it 6-3 and the Sylvestre scored his second at 17:36 to make it 6-4. The Monarchs found an empty-net goal at 18:15 to hold off the Jackals for a 7-4 win.

Playing spoiler

The Jackals have just six 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 six games will help determine who finishes in what position in the North Division.

Elmira is just 8-30-2-0 against their divisional opponents this season, but their best success has come against the Monarchs, with five wins in the 11-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 5-3-2-0 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.

Tremendous trio

The Jackals newly constructed top line of Kenton Miller, Nathan Moon and Sebastien Sylvestre have had instant chemistry since being put together last week. In five games together, the three players have scored in each game, combining for 29 points (12g, 17a).

Miller, who earned Sher-Wood Hockey/ECHL Player of the Week honors last week, has goals in five straight games--the longest active goal streak in the ECHL--and 11 points (7g, 4a) in the stretch. Sylvestre, who has a new career-high with 51 points (23g, 28a) has nine points (5g, 4a) in the five games. Moon had a string of three straight multi-point games snapped last night, but still has points in all five games with nine points over that span.

Head-to-head

Tonight is the 12th game of the 14-game season series between the Jackals and Monarchs. Through the first 11 games, the Monarchs have six victories (6-3-2-0) and the Jackals have five wins (5-6-0-0). Elmira is 4-2 in six games at First Arena against the Monarchs, including including a pair of wins coming this month.

With two assists last night, Teddy Doherty leads active Monarchs players with eight points (1g, 7a) in 11 games against Elmira. Rihards Bukarts is next with seven points (1g, 6a) in eight games. For the Jackals, Casey Thrush is the top scorer against Manchester with 10 points (1g, 9a), on the strength of consecutive three-point games this weekend.

In net, Jack Flinn lost in his only appearances against the Jackals Friday night while Charles Williams won last night in his professional debut. Andy Iles is 4-3-0 in seven games against the Monarchs with a 3.52 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Jason Kasdorf is 1-2-0 with a 3.23 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage.


Scouting the Monarchs

The Monarchs are 4-5-1-0 over their last 10 games and their once secure spot in the North Division playoff picture has become a little more perilous. At 34-21-7-4, the Monarchs have 79 points and are in fourth place in the North Division. They are tied with Reading and two points behind Adirondack and one point behind Brampton. They are also seven points clear of Wheeling for the final playoff spot. 

Despite their recent struggles, the Monarchs are still fourth in the ECHL offensively at 3.73 goals per game. Through a combination of call ups, suspension and personal reasons, Manchester's top five leading scorers are all not in Elmira to play the final game of this three-in-three. That leaves Cory Ward as the top scorer with 34 points (15g, 19a) in 62 games. Peter Leblanc is next with 34 points (12g, 22a), although the majority of those came with the Cincinnati Cyclones. 

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 3-3-1-0 with a 3.90 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage. Charles Williams, a Hobey Baker award finalist this year, earned his first pro win in his first pro start last night.


Special teams

The Monarchs have power-play goals in both games this weekend against the Jackals, making them 6-for-17 (35.3%) in the last seven. Manchester is fifth in the ECHL at 22.9% (48-for-210).They are also 11-for-38 (28.9%) in the series against the Jackals.

The Jackals scored on a pair of power plays last night, giving them power-play goals in four of the last five games (6-for-13). At 37-for-215 the Jackals are 13th in the league with the power play at 17.2% and they are eighth at home at 22.1%.

Manchester's penalty kill has given up a power-play goal in six of the last eight games and in 10 of their last 13 games. They have fallen to 20th in the league at 81.4%, allowing 43 power-play goals in 231 chances. 

The Jackals stopped two of four Manchester power plays last night and they are 21st in the ECHL on the PK at 80.2%. The Jackals have dropped to 14th in the league on home ice at 83.3%.