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Monarchs Thank Fans With Playoff Berth

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs are headed to the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs after defeating the St. John’s IceCaps, 4-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.  The Monarchs will face the Norfolk Admirals at the Norfolk Scope for game one of the 2012 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20.

Manchester (39-32-2-3) finished the regular season ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 83 points.  St. John’s (43-25-5-3) finished the regular season in first place in the Atlantic Division with 94 points.
“We’re in,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris.  “Getting to the post-season took three gutsy efforts against some stiff competition.  The players are to be commended for their hard work and determination.”
The Monarchs scored for the third in the first period at 13:37 with a power play tally off the stick of defenseman Patrick Mullen.  Right wing Linden Vey started the play by sending a pass from the right face-off dot to right wing Brandon Kozun in the left face-off circle.  Kozun slid a pass back to the center point where defenseman Thomas Hickey fired a one-timer.  Hickey’s shot produced a rebound between the hash marks.  Mullen buried the puck into the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened up the scoring at 6:15 of the first period.  Manchester dumped the puck into St. John’s zone and IceCaps defenseman Paul Potsma chased down the puck with left wing Andy Andreoff on his heels.  Potsma sent the puck around the boards from right to left where center Justin Azevedo interrupted the pass.  Azevedo fed the puck back to the left point where defenseman Jake Muzzin fired a shot on net. Andreoff repositioned himself into the shooting lane and redirected the puck past IceCaps goaltender Edward Pasquale for his first professional goal.
The Monarchs struck again 1:57 later at 8:12 of the first period with a goal by center Marc-Andre Cliche. Left wing Richard Clune grabbed the loose puck from behind the IceCaps net and found Cliche in the slot. Cliche carried the puck from left to right and was able to get a shot off as he fell to the ice following a hit by an IceCaps player.  Pasquale was able to get a piece of the puck near the right post but it eventually crossed the goal line for Cliche’s 17th goal of the season.
Center Patrice Cormier got the IceCaps on the scoreboard with a power play tally at 9:20 of the third period.  Defenseman Derek Meech gained the Monarchs zone on the left wing.  Meech found right wing Spencer Machacek at the top of the right face-off circle.  Machacek fired a shot on net that Cormier redirected past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for his 18th tally of the season.
Right wing Brandon Kozun gave the Monarchs an insurance goal at 17:39 of the final frame.  Left wing Ray Kaunisto started the play along the right wing boards in the IceCaps zone by passing the puck back to defenseman Patrick Mullen at the right point.  Mullen carried the puck a couple strides in from the center point before he ripped a slap shot through traffic.  Kozun tipped Mullen’s shot past Pasquale for his 20th goal of the season and gave the Monarchs a 4-1 lead.
The IceCaps finished off the scoring in the game with a goal by Machacek at 19:38 of the third stanza.  Cormier gained the Monarchs zone at the right point after taking a pass from defenseman Jason DeSantis.  Cormier dropped a pass back for Machacek as soon as he crossed the line.  Machacek took the puck through the center of the zone and weaved around Monarchs players before wristing a shot from just inside the bottom of the right face-off circle. Machacek’s shot went up and over Jones right shoulder for his 18th goal of the season.
Manchester went 2-for-5 on the power play.  St. John’s was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables:  The Monarchs earned a spot in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs for the team’s 10th time in 11 seasons…The Monarchs defeated the St. John’s IceCaps for the third consecutive time after losing the first five match-ups this season…Right wing Brandon Kozun reached the 20-goal mark for the second straight season.
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