Monarchs desperate for a win
Manchester remains in second place in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference at 28-26-2 and will return home Saturday (Albany, 7 p.m.) and Sunday (Providence, 3 p.m.).
Plagued by injuries and further hampered by call-ups to Los Angeles, the Monarchs have had to rely on several rookies and a patchwork roster.
'We're making a lot of youthful mistakes right now and it's costing us dearly,' said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. 'It's no fun.'
The inexperience has mostly manifested itself in uneven play recently. Strong finishes by the Monarchs have not been enough to overcome sluggish starts.
'That's one of the things we've got to work on is playing 60 minutes. 40 minutes isn't going to cut it,' said rookie forward Linden Vey. 'We've got to bear down and work on some little things and come back ready for the next game.'
While the defensive corps remains strong and steady, the forward lines have been hardest hit by the roster fluctuations.
Two of the team's top scorers, Jordan Nolan and Dwight King, are in L.A. now. Manchester has just a trio of veteran players now in captain Marc-Andre Cliche, Justin Azevedo and Richard Clune.
Morris could build one strong line with those three, but has been distributing the wealth to create more balanced lines.
'We're a work in progress all the time,' Morris said. 'Azevedo has played with a number of different players and we wanted to try and distribute some of our veteran players around the lineup. When Cliche and Azevedo were on the same line we were loading up on experience there.'
NHL veteran Trent Hunter joined the team on Tuesday and will add some much-needed experience.
Hunter has logged 497 NHL games with 101 goals and 135 assists.
'With his big body and big shot, we're going to try to capitalize on that,' Morris said.