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Monarchs Notebook: Home is where the wins are

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 02. 2017 11:46PM
Monarchs' Matt Leitner, top right, scores on Brampton's goalie Zachary Fucale in the first period during game four of the Kelly Cup playoffs at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER -- Not many teams have come into SNHU Arena and left with a victory over the Manchester Monarchs this season. The Brampton Beast learned that the hard way Monday in their 4-0 loss to Manchester in Game 3 of the ECHL North Division finals.

The Monarchs’ victory Monday gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and moved their home playoff record to 3-0 heading into Game 4 Tuesday.

The Monarchs’ 23-9-3-1 record at home in the regular season ranked third-best in the Eastern Conference and seventh-best in the league.

Heading into Game 4 on Tuesday, Manchester had not lost at home since a 5-1 setback against the Atlanta Gladiators March 18. The Monarchs lost, 6-5 in overtime, to Brampton on Feb. 24, the lone time the two teams met at SNHU Arena in the regular season.

“We’ve played well in our building throughout most of the year,” Manchester coach Rich Seeley said after his team’s victory over Adirondack April 15 in Game 2 of the North Division semifinals. “We’ve had a pretty good streak throughout the year of points at our home building. And anytime you’re at home, if you want to win playoff series, you need to get your home wins.”

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QUENTIN SHORE and Matt Leitner have made a habit of finding their way onto the score sheet for the Monarchs throughout the playoffs. Both Shore and Leitner entered Game 4 tied for the team lead in playoff goals (four). Leitner also had a team-high seven assists, one more than Shore.

Leitner entered Game 4 tied with Rob Flick of the South Carolina Stingrays for the fourth-most playoff points (11) in the league.

Shore and Leitner both scored in Manchester’s Game 3 victory Monday. Shore opened the game’s scoring 10:39 into the first period. Leitner capped the game’s scoring with 6:02 remaining.

Leitner had logged a point in four straight games heading into Tuesday’s contest.

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THEIR respective goals were not the only way Shore and Leitner got their names into the Game 3 box score. Shore received a minor elbowing penalty with 6:14 remaining and Leitner received a minor roughing penalty 5:11 into the second period.

Shore and Leitner’s penalties contributed to a combined 69 penalty minutes between the Beast and Manchester in Game 3.

A line brawl that broke out with 6:07 remaining accounted for 42 of the 69 minutes. A combined 24 penalty minutes were handed out over the first two games of the series.

Brampton’s Mathieu Gagnon was suspended three games and fined an undisclosed amount by the ECHL for his role in the line brawl. He received a game misconduct in Game 3 for being the aggressor and received a minor penalty for instigating and a major penalty for fighting.

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PART of the reason Manchester put four goals on the scoreboard in Game 3 was because it tested Brampton goaltender Zachary Fucale with 30 shots.

The Monarchs registered 111 shots over the first three games of the series, averaging 37 per contest. Including the regular season, Manchester averaged 37.2 shots per game over its first six meetings with the Beast. The Monarchs were averaging 32.5 shots on goal per game this season entering Game 4 Tuesday.

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GASPER KOPITAR, Joey Diamond, Mario Puskarich and Teddy Doherty did not play for the Monarchs in Game 4. Gagnon, Dalton Thrower, Tim Billingsley, Daultan Leveille and Chris Leveille were Brampton’s Game 4 scratches.

ahall@unionleader.com


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