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Monarchs looking for some wins

Staff report
January 12. 2012 11:20PM

The Manchester Monarchs will attempt to put the brakes on a three-game losing skid with three games this weekend.

Manchester (21-15-2, 44 points) will host Bridgeport tonight at 7 at Verizon Wireless Arena, then head to upstate New York for a game with Adirondack Saturday before closing the weekend with a visit from Portland on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The Monarchs have been off since dropping both games at St. John's last weekend. A mid-week loss to Bridgeport a few days before that started the slide.

'Three losses in a row is something we'd like to bounce back from,' said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. 'We've got a good opportunity to rebound against a Bridgeport team that beat us 4-0 in our own building. That has to be motivation to dig deep and find a way to right things for ourselves and start to develop our confidence again.'

The losses to the IceCaps allowed St. John's to jump over Manchester for first place in the Atlantic Division at 21-9-5 for 47 points.

St. John's has a further advantage by having played three fewer games. Add in a 4-0 record against Manchester this year and the IceCaps have a good grip on the division lead.

But the lost weekend in Newfoundland has the Monarchs eager to get back to the ice.

'Not coming out with any points (last weekend), we're going to be hungry this weekend to stop the bleeding,' said Monarchs all-star defenseman Thomas Hickey. 'I think we're optimistic about having a good week of practice here and going into three big games this weekend.'

The Monarchs are still without several players nursing injuries, but are expected to get Justin Azevedo back tonight.

The continued lineup flux means line combinations have been fluid and not always effective.

'As we add and delete players to the lineup, it's an ongoing challenge to find the chemistry that's going to work,' Morris said.