Monarchs hit the road for weekend
Manchester will play at Providence tonight at 7:05 and at Bridgeport Saturday night at 7. The Monarchs have gone 2-3-0 in their last five games, alternating wins and losses in a struggle to maintain solid play night in and night out.
"I'm hopeful that the time away gets our guys on the same page and we start playing hard for one another," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "And more consistently, I should add."
The Monarchs (7-4-1) have played just three road games thus far this season, going 2-0-1. This weekend's road trip will allow the team more bonding time on the road.
"It's always nice when we get a change of scenery and I think it will benefit us," said Monarchs alternate captain Thomas Hickey. "It's a group of young guys and we hang out a lot when we're home, but on the road you're forced to hang out and it makes things a lot easier and you get to know guys in a young season."
Among the topics where Morris hopes to see improvement this weekend is puck possession. Key turnovers allowed Adirondack to blow open a 1-1 game en route to a 4-1 win on Wednesday.
"Those types of giveaways are sore spots right now," Morris said. "I'm hopeful that the impression that leaves us with is fuel for teaching and also a hard reminder that we have to play and support the puck with a lot more purpose."
The Baby Bruins (4-6-1) come in struggling with consistency as well, which has been their issue all season. Providence will be looking to avenge a 3-0 loss in Manchester a week ago.
Revenge will be on Manchester's mind come Saturday. Last weekend, Scott Pellerin's Sound Tigers (8-3-0) thumped the Monarchs, 5-2.
"These are two feisty teams, both well coached and I suspect you'll see more of what we've seen in the previous games," Morris said. "Real intense games and it will probably be decided by the team that wants to be the most consistent with their execution."
Morris was awaiting word on the status of forward Stefan Legein, who has missed the past two games after taking an elbow to the head and is close to returning to action. Defenseman Jake Muzzin should be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game due to illness.
One player who won't be back is Russian rookie forward Nikolay Prokhorkin. The 19-year-old has registered one assist in eight games this season but has decided to go home to Russia to develop his game.
"He just came in and wished us well and said goodbye," Morris said. "He's going to be an outstanding player. He's got a lot of skill and we'll see him in North America again. I think he's going to be a dynamic player."
Following this weekend's action, the Monarchs will visit Portland on Tuesday night and return home next Friday to host Worcester. The Sharks (7-5-2) have jumped over Manchester for first place in the Atlantic Division.