Monarchs rout Beast in Game 4, eye series clincher
By ALEX HALL New Hampshire Union Leader
Monarchs' Daniel Doremus, top right, celebrates their second goal with Kevin Morris, left, and Quentin Shore, against Brampton during game four of the Kelly Cup playoffs at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
MANCHESTER — Stellar special teams play powered the Manchester Monarchs to a 6-1 victory over the Brampton Beast in Game 4 of the ECHL North Division Finals Tuesday night at SNHU Arena.
The Monarchs lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, and will try to clinch the series in Game 5 tonight (7) in Manchester.
The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and a 3-0 advantage into the third period behind three power-play goals.
Brampton forward Luc-Olivier Blain scored 7:32 into the third period to cut Manchester’s lead to 3-1. His tally marked the Beast’s first goal in the series since Jordan Henry scored 13:24 into Game 2.
Manchester forward Matt Leitner opened the game’s scoring with 8:20 left in the opening period. He jammed the puck home from the crease with four seconds remaining on the Monarchs’ second power play.
The Monarchs received a helping hand from Brampton’s Brandon Marino when they doubled their advantage on another power play with 3:20 left in the first frame. Beast goaltender Zachary Fucale (26 saves) turned away a Daniel Doremus shot but the puck deflected toward Marino, who mishandled it into the Beast net.
Doremus was credited with Manchester’s second goal, marking his third of the postseason.
Monarchs forward Kevin Morris said he thought the own goal took the wind out of the Beast’s sails.
“That’s what that does — it deflates teams and hockey is such a momentum game,” Morris said. “When you can capitalize on opportunities like that, it’s huge.”
Morris scored a rebound goal from the crease on the power play with 4:11 remaining in the second period to build a 3-0 Manchester lead.
“I thought it was a good start for us,” Manchester coach Rich Seeley said. “Special teams played an important part of that, obviously. Our power play was able to strike early, which gave us some momentum. We were able to build off that.”
The Monarchs owned the sixth-best power-play percentage (21.4) in the playoffs entering Game 4. Manchester ended the regular season with the fifth-best power-play percentage (21.7) in the league.
The Monarchs went 3-for-6 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill Tuesday night.
Ashton Rome logged Manchester’s two even-strength goals. He netted his first with 9:43 left to build a 4-1 Monarchs lead and scored on an empty net with 43.3 seconds remaining to cap the game’s scoring.
Tyler Sikura, a Dartmouth College product, scored a short-handed empty-netter with 5:31 remaining to build a 5-1 Manchester lead.
The score would have been even more lopsided if Leitner and teammate Thomas Schemitsch did not both have a goal waved off due to high sticks before their tallies.
Feelings left over from the line brawl that broke out with 6:07 remaining in Game 3 Monday appeared to carry over into Game 4. Manchester and the Beast both took three penalties in an opening period that featured more than a few dustups. The chippiness continued throughout the contest.
Monarchs netminder Sam Brittain made 26 saves en route to his seventh win of the postseason.
“We’ll enjoy this one for a little bit tonight but we know we’ve got to have the same intensity, work ethic and execution and attention to detail if we want to get the result tomorrow,” Seeley said.