MANCHESTER – The Manchester Monarchs sent Adirondack packing Saturday night, eliminating the Thunder from the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 7-1 win in Game 5 of the North Division semifinals at SNHU Arena.
The Monarchs scored five third-period goals in a tight game that became a rout, and won the series four games to one.
Manchester awaits the winner of the Newfoundland vs. Brampton series in the North Division finals. Newfoundland leads that series, 3-2.
The Monarchs opened the scoring at 19:39 of the first period when Pierre-Luc Mercier scored his second goal of the playoffs. Nic Pierog took a shot that bounced to the left of the crease where Mercier found the puck and wristed it over Thunder goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos.
The Thunder tied it at 9:12 of the second period when Mike Szmatula scored his first goal of the playoffs. After John Edwardh shot the puck through the legs of Monarchs goaltender Charles Williams, Szmatula found the puck sitting at the edge of the goal line and drove it home.
The Monarchs regained the lead at 13:46 of the second period when Kevin Dufour scored a power-play goal, his fourth goal of the playoffs. David Kolomatis sent a wrister wide where Dufour, positioned at the edge of the crease, redirected the puck over the glove of Sakellaropoulos.
Then the roof caved in for Adirondack. The Monarchs increased their lead at 17 seconds of the third period when Michael Doherty scored a shorthanded goal, his third of the playoffs. After picking up a breakout pass from Cory Ward, Doherty skated up the slot and sent a wrist shot over the glove of Sakellaropoulos.
The Monarchs added another at 2:34 of the third period when Pavel Jenys scored a power-play goal, his second of the playoffs. Jenys found the puck at the high slot and fired a shot through the legs of a screened Sakellaropoulos, allowing the puck to sneak through.
The Monarchs took a 5-1 lead at 7:35 of the third period when Sam Kurker scored his first goal of the playoffs on a 5-on-3 power play. Mercier slid a pass in front of the crease to Kurker, where he lifted the puck past the leg of Sakellaropoulos.
The Monarchs added another at 11:59 of the third period when Doherty scored an empty-net, shorthanded goal, his fourth of the playoffs and second of the night.
The Monarchs ended scoring at 14:17 of the third period when Dufour scored his fifth of goal of the playoffs, second of the night. Picking up the pass from Mercier at the top of the left circle, Dufour wristed the puck past Sakellaropoulos.