Monarchs expect a Whale of a battle
The Whale visit the Manchester Monarchs tonight for a 7 o'clock game at Verizon Wireless Arena. The last time the teams met was on Dec. 8 in Manchester and the Monarchs put up a franchise-record nine goals in a 9-2 win.
That result is not expected this time out.
"I would imagine they're going to be ready for us," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "If we think it's going to be easy, I think we're going to have to prepare really well. We're going to concentrate on how we play and no matter who we face off against, we've got to be good."
Both the Monarchs (12-11-4, 28 points), who remain home Saturday to host Portland at 7 p.m., and Whale (11-13-2, 24) have been struggling with consistency as of late.
Manchester is 2-4-1 over the past seven contests. The Monarchs had a strong win at Adirondack last Saturday but could not hold a late lead at home Sunday, losing to Springfield in a shootout. The Whale enter tonight's game at 3-6-1 in the last 10.
"They're a tough team and a good team. Last time we played them, I don't think it was what they really are," said Monarchs forward Brandon Kozun. "We can take a lot of positives (out of last weekend). We had a lot of travel and showed a lot of heart the way the guys competed. We've got to come out against Connecticut knowing they are ready to go and we've got to show we are, too."
Saturday's game with Portland looms large as well being an Atlantic Division battle. The Pirates have stormed to the top of the standings with a six-game win streak to put them at 16-10-2 for 34 points.
The Monarchs are starting to get healthy and all the bodies available to them will mean a stronger lineup. But getting the chemistry on track will be the challenge for a Manchester team that is always in the game, but struggles to seal the deal.
"We've got to be a little better," Morris said. "We're right there on the verge of winning and we've got to find a way to make it happen."