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November 26. 2011 1:31AM

Monarchs go back to work tonight



MANCHESTER — There's no four-day weekend in the American Hockey League.

After two days off for the holiday break, the Manchester Monarchs are back to work tonight at 7 when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Monarchs have fought back over the .500 mark at 10-9-1, winning four in a row and five out of the last six.

“It's been a challenge trying to find that chemistry and the high compete level based on where we're at as a hockey team,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “We're still feeling the growing pains of learning the game as we're going along but we're making fewer mistakes at this stage.”

More consistent play and the confidence that comes with winning games have been important factors in Manchester's recent surge.

“We're beginning to taste what it's like to win and hopefully the guys realize it doesn't happen easily,” Morris said. “This is a tough league to play in and most nights it doesn't matter if you're in first place or last place. Teams can give you a run.”

Wednesday night's 2-1 win over Worcester was another in the learning process for Manchester. The Monarchs led 1-0 but played a sloppy start to the third period before coming to life late to score the winning goal (courtesy of captain Marc-Andre Cliche) in the final minutes.

“We put on a little burst after we met on the bench during a stoppage in play and I wanted our guys to know that mediocrity is not acceptable at this stage of the season,” Morris said. “We've had to dig out of a hole and this is no time to just go out and go through the motions.”

The Sound Tigers come in also tasting more recent success. Bridgeport is 6-3-1 in its last 10 just like the Monarchs and has improved to 9-7-2. This is the first meeting of the season between the teams and they will play again Sunday in Bridgeport at 3 p.m.

“We'll have some time to see what they've got,” Morris said. “We're a little bit familiar with them from previous years but thus far we haven't watched any tape so it's hard to predict what to expect. We'll make our own corrections and try to key on it.”

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