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

Home » Sports » Hockey » Monarchs

April 24. 2014 11:45PM

Monarchs' second season begins


 


Monarchs vs. Admirals

Eastern Conference quarterfinals (best-of-five)

Game 1, tonight:
at Verizon Wireless Arena, 7 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday: at Verizon Wireless Arena, 7 p.m.

Game 3, Wednesday, April 30: at Norfolk, 7:15 p.m.

*Game 4, Friday, May 2: at Norfolk, 7:30 p.m.

*Game 5, Saturday, May 3: at Norfolk, 7:15 p.m.

* if necessary

It's playoff time and that means there are no easy games.

It's no different for the top-ranked Manchester Monarchs, who begin a best-of-five series with No. 8 Norfolk tonight at 7 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at VWA before the series shifts to Norfolk next week.

Manchester (48-19-9) and Norfolk (40-26-10) split the four regular-season meetings, with each team winning two games on home ice. The Monarchs come in with more rest, having played just three games in the past two weeks to Norfolk's six.

That extra time off means the Manchester players are eager to get this series going.

"It's been a long regular season and toward the last month we weren't playing many games so guys were getting kind of anxious for the playoffs," said veteran defenseman Jeff Schultz. "I think everyone is excited to get the second season started."

The Admirals are solid up and down the lineup, beginning on the blue line with a rugged defensive corps.

"They're big and physical. You look at their back end with (Garnet) Exelby (and Nolan) Yonkman are big bodied, thick guys that have been around the league for a long time. (Steve) Eminger is a crafty player. So their back end is experienced, but it's also older," said Monarchs coach Mark Morris. "Our identity has been to play a fast game and hopefully that can work to our advantage."

Up front, the Admirals are loaded with Andre Petersson (23 goals, 33 assists, 56 points), Max Friberg (17-23-40), Antoine Laganiere (10-8-18), former Monarch Dave Steckel (10-17-27) and tough guy Zack Stortini (299 penalty minutes). Steckel was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2001 and played 63 games for the Monarchs in the 2004-05 season.

"You've got experienced players like Steckel. He's a steady guy and Stortini brings an element of grit and toughness," Morris said. "They've also got some nice pieces of offense. Friberg, Langaniere ... Petersson. Those are names and guys that have been able to produce at this level."

In goal, John Gibson just came back down from a call-up to Anaheim. Gibson's NHL debut was a good one as he earned a 3-0 shutout.

As for the Monarchs, they have to endure without one of their top scoring threats as Brian O'Neill (leg injury) is lost for six to eight weeks. With him out of commission, Morris made it clear which player he will be looking to for scoring punch.

"I think a big part of our success in looking ahead is going to be that we need to rely on Linden Vey to bring his 'A' game. When he plays his game, he can elevate this team and give it another layer of depth," Morris said. "This is when you should be playing your best hockey and springtime, this is what everybody shoots for — to extend your season and see how many teams you can knock off in your quest for the cup."

Vey said he wasn't thinking about any added pressure because so many players have stepped up through the course of the season as the Monarchs have dealt with call-ups and injuries.

"Myself, (Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli), everyone has been going up and down and the thing about the whole year is that everybody has had a chance to step up and fill holes and done such a great job that it's not just one guy or one line or two lines," Vey said. "It's everybody working together and that's the reason we're so successful this year."

Entering Thursday night's Game 4 between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks, the Kings were on the brink of elimination, down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. If L.A. is knocked out, Pearson, Toffoli and Colin Fraser would all be eligible to return to Manchester for the playoffs and give the Monarchs an offensive boost.

iclark@unionleader.com


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

Keene State mum on suspension of veteran track coach

Morgan Andrews speaks: Notre Dame star undeterred by U.S. U-20 World Cup snub

Mo'ne Davis, and why no one should laugh at the idea of a woman in Major League Baseball

Curt Schilling says smokeless tobacco caused oral cancer

Bill Belichick: Eagles joint practices as productive as any

Big Knockout Boxing has grown from NH debut to Las Vegas attraction

Toronto Blue Jays Minor League System: Philosophy change?

Spring trial likely for former UNH women's hockey coach

Special golf cart helping Vietnam veteran play game he loves article

And so it begins: Equipment distribution starts a new era in Plymouth football

Tailgating changes for UNH football games

Report: Pirates' pitcher Jeff Locke cleared in gambling probe involving childhood friend from Conway

Tim OSullivan: Even with NFL success, NHs Kelly remembers his roots

Chip Kelly: 'Put some Galoshes on and go play'

Survey says Duke the most hated college hoops team in NH

Cheyenne Woods, Tiger's niece, trying to make big time article

Gorham papermill owner Lynn Tilton is getting Yale tennis award

Ex-bank president co-authors racing book

New England Patriots are the most hated NFL team in the world

Travis Hughes: It's time to drastically overhaul minor league hockey in North America

Portsmouth native, 47, conquers 21-mile swim of the English Channel

Bennett to take control of the flags for Granite State Pro Stock Series

Air Force captain serving in NH honored before Red Sox-Yankees crowd at Fenway

Newmarket woman second to run solo across the U.S.

VIDEO: A car's-eye view of the demolition derby at Cheshire County Fair

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!