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Holloway, Bernier Leading Monarchs in Playoffs

by Andrew Howard / Los Angeles Kings
Four game-winning goals for Holloway in the playoffs thus far.

Los Angeles has big-name athletes such as Kobe Bryant, Andre Ethier and now Anze Kopitar (see OT goal, Game 2 LA Kings-Canucks 2010 First Round Playoff Series) who have been known to step up and deliver in clutch situations.

The city of Manchester, New Hampshire has Bud Holloway to provide such late-game heroics.

Holloway has used the playoffs as a sort of coming-out party about performing at critical moments, scoring four game-winning goals as the Manchester Monarchs swept the Portland Pirates to advance to the Calder Cup Atlantic Division Final for the first time in franchise history.

"It's something that I was really happy about," Holloway said. "I don't expect it but just to be able to help the team is good. It's all about progression."

Through five games in the playoffs, Holloway has five points on four goals and one assist, tied for the team lead with Justin Azevedo (0-5=5).

While Holloway led the Monarchs with 47 points in the regular season, to perform at a high level in the postseason is an entirely different matter.

"Obviously, he's been big for us in the playoffs," Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier said.

In addition to leading the Monarchs to wins, Holloway is also setting records. In last Monday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Pirates, Holloway's game-winning goal was the fastest overtime goal scored in Monarchs history, coming at the two-minute mark of the period. Holloway's goal beat the previous record of 1:46 into double overtime by Jeff Giuliano on April 21, 2006.

"He's a great guy who works hard and guys appreciate him," Bernier said. "You can tell guys like him and want to be his teammate."

The four-game sweep marked the first time in franchise history that the Monarchs have won four consecutive playoff games, as well as the first time they have won a series in four games.

"Everyone bought in and stepped up when they needed to," Holloway said.

Bernier added that it came as a bit of a surprise that the team was able to sweep a good team such as the Pirates.

"Obviously everyone was surprised to beat a good team like that in four games," Bernier said. "It was real big for our confidence. We just stuck to our system and didn't panic, even when they scored on their second shift.

Bernier is another reason why the Monarchs have had success in the playoffs thus far. Through the first five games, Bernier has a 4-1-0 record, a 1.80 goals against average and a .943 saves percentage.

Despite a 4-3 loss to the Worcester Sharks in the opening game of the Calder Cup Atlantic Division Final on Sunday, Holloway is confident that the team will be able to bounce back in Game 2 on Wednesday.

After all they do have Holloway, who has shown a knack for stepping up and delivering when the spotlight is the brightest.

"I just come to the rink everyday and work hard [and] try to do everything right."
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