action:article | category:SPORTS0702 | adString:SPORTS0702 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Hockey » Monarchs

December 28. 2013 9:06PM

Ian Clark's On Hockey: Monarchs eye quick turnaround


Monarchs goalie Jean-Franois Berube makes a save against the Portland Pirates on Thursday in a 4-1 loss at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER -- Manchester Monarchs head coach Mark Morris was not pleased with his team's holiday hangover.

The Monarchs put forth a strong two-period effort, but fell apart in the third stanza in a 4-1 home loss to Portland on Thursday night. The Monarchs (21-6-5) hosted St. John's Saturday night and will host Hartford Sunday at 3 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena.

Morris' main concern was that his team recover quickly and not let Thursday's loss begin a slide. The Monarchs have the most points in the AHL and have overcome adversity all season in the form of injuries and call-ups to Los Angeles.

"We need to brush this one off and bounce back. We need better goaltending, we need better defense and we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net. Our power play right now is abysmal," Morris said. "We've got to work hard and guys aren't working hard enough to really make a difference. When you're a man up and you're getting outworked by the team that has one less player out there, that's disappointing. That's something we're continually harping on to get better and find the chemistry that's going to work."

Thursday's loss was uncharacteristic of the Monarchs this season. Strong goaltending has been a key with rookie J.F. Berube playing very well with Martin Jones called up to the Kings.

"If you look at the big picture, there have been a lot of contributions from a lot of sources," Morris said. "It all starts in the net and at that start of the season Martin Jones was stellar and J.F. Berube was real good. I don't think (Thursday) was anywhere near what we've seen so far."

A big help for the goalies all season has been a strong defensive presence in front of them. That was also lacking Thursday as Andrew Bodnarchuk and Vincent LoVerde had tough outings.

"Our D certainly has been very good and pretty solid, namely Bodnarchuk and LoVerde. Vinny was in the (penalty) box three times (Thursday). That's a killer," Morris said. "He's a character guy, he doesn't take those penalties and that's a lack of focus. He'll bounce back and Bodnarchuk . he's been one of the best plus-minus guys we've had."

On offense, the Monarchs have been balanced all season and the return of Linden Vey from L.A. will be a big help. But Vey may have been in the coach's doghouse Thursday. Vey getting back to Manchester late Christmas night was the reason Vey was a healthy scratch on Thursday and the vibe was that Vey should have worked harder to find an earlier flight.

"There were some travel issues. He traveled through the night and we didn't think it was in our best interest to play him. I don't think he would have had much energy after taking a red-eye (flight)," Morris said. "Those things happen and we'll hopefully get him back in so we can get our lines settled and start being more productive."

Thursday's loss broke a five-game winning streak and was just the second loss in regulation at home for Manchester this season. Thursday may have just been a speedbump and the result of holiday lethargy.

But with the calendar about to flip, Morris knows it doesn't take much for things to suddenly go south and he was working hard to keep the holiday hangover from hanging around and become something more.

Ian Clark covers pro hockey for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is iclark@unionleader.com.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!