Three months into the 2012-13 season and the Manchester Monarchs have a record of 14-15-2-2 yet they have been anything but what their record reflects. The Monarchs started the season hot with a record of 5-1-0-0 in October. Since then, the Monarchs have been unable to put together victories on a consistent basis.
Manchester has not struggled on the ice as much as their record would indicate. The Monarchs have dominated play in many of their losses often losing strangely on an odd bounce of the puck or an untimely mental mistake. For instance, the Monarchs most recent game resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks.
Manchester trailed 2-0 and battled back to tie the game in the second period. The Monarchs came out in the third period and put 12 shots on net to Worcester’s eight on goal but they could not get that elusive third goal. Then, with just over a minute left in the third period, Worcester dumped in a puck around the boards that bounced over the goaltender’s stick as he went to play it behind the net. The puck went to the right corner where a Sharks forward passed it out front for a tap in goal handing the Monarchs a tough loss.
“I think the last game, we have to be positive about it,” said Monarchs left wing Marc-Andre Cliche. “We played well and it was just bad luck for us I think. It was one of our best team games in a long time and we will just move forward from there.”
Manchester looks like a team that is ready to take flight on a winning streak as their play on the ice becomes more consistent.
“I think we are still looking to find our consistency,” reflected Cliche, the Monarchs third year captain. “We have to be more consistent. I think the swagger will come after we get a couple wins under our belt.”
The Monarchs will look to get a few victories under their belt when they fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland to open the new year and take on the St. John’s IceCaps for a two-game set.
“We don’t have many long road trips with Manchester,” said Cliche. “I think going away like this for three or four days with the whole team together and being in the hotel. I think it can sometimes bring a group way closer and I think maybe that is what we need right now. Hopefully, we get there and get a couple wins and ride that wave into the second half of the season.”
Last season, the Monarchs traveled to St. John’s on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and swept the then Atlantic Division leading IceCaps in both games by a combined score of 6-1. The Monarchs rode the successful wave into the last 11 games of the regular season with a record of 6-3-2-0 helping Manchester make the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons.
“It is awesome anytime you go on the road together,” said veteran Monarchs defenseman Andrew Campbell. “When you are at home, you are at the rink and everyone goes there separate ways to their living spaces but on the road, you are pretty much together with the guys 24 hours a day. It would be nice to have a few more road trips and gel together but we are looking forward to it and hopefully it will send us in the right direction.”
The Monarchs will look to change their flight pattern this weekend in St. John’s.