The Manchester Monarchs had an impressive showing last weekend as they finished with five out of a possible six points in the standings while going 2-0-1-0 in three games on the road. The journey concludes this weekend with two games against the St. John's IceCaps but the latest road trip has already proven costly to the Monarchs line-up.
As a result of the mounting injuries, the Monarchs have signed multiple players to fill the vacant spots on the roster.
"When you have guys playing in different roles and playing more ice time, it's always tough," explained Monarchs center Linden Vey. "I think the biggest thing is we just have to stick together and keep things simple. You have new guys in the line-up and you know they're going to play hard for us. This is their opportunity to perform and it's important that we stay together and play hard this weekend."
The newest Monarchs are defenseman Matt Case and forwards Hunter Bishop, Ian O'Connor and Kris Belan. O'Connor and Belan joined the team on Wednesday and could see their first game action with the Monarchs this weekend. Case and Bishop made their Monarchs debuts last weekend and did not miss a beat as the team pulled out two victories in three games.
"Last week, we got it going; our consistency was a lot better," said Vey. "I think that's the biggest thing. We have so many new faces especially over the last couple weeks with all the injuries. We need new guys to step up and we had a lot of contribution last weekend and need it going forward this weekend."
Part of the reason the Monarchs have had success as of late has been the secondary scoring to the Monarchs top line of left wing Tanner Pearson, right wing Tyler Toffoli and Vey. Manchester's line consisting of center Jordan Weal, left wing Colton Yellow Horn and right wing Brandon Kozun have been leading the charge in the team's secondary scoring. They have combined for 15 points in their last three games.
"It's been great; we are three small guys and we had chemistry right away so it's helped a lot," said Weal. "We're all small skilled players so I think all we have to do is get the puck down low and play below the top of the circle, that's where we're going to be at our best. If we keep it simple and play hard in the (defensive zone), it's only going to be good offense for us so that's all we're trying to do."
For Weal, the surge in his recent production is due in large part because of his increased ice time. Weal has recorded 17 of his 20 points this season since January 5, scoring seven goals and 10 assists in his last 20 games.
"Since the lockout ended, I started to get a little more ice time," explained Weal. "This game is really funny because when you're playing lots and in the game, you're not really thinking about anything, all you're doing is reacting. Sometimes when you get on the bench and you're sitting there for a long time you start thinking too much and it's been really nice to be able to get into games and get a feeling for everything."
Vey, Weal and the Monarchs are confident in their ability to keep the success going this weekend against the IceCaps in St. John's, Newfoundland. The Monarchs have won their last four contests at MileOne Centre dating back to last season.
"I think anytime you play in Canada, or in front of a crowd like that, it's exciting." stated Vey. It adds that much more to the game. Last time we went up there, we had a good weekend. We're excited to do the same thing and keep the ball rolling."
The Monarchs look to cap their most recent road trip with a couple more victories before returning to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday, March 6.
© 2010 Manchester Monarchs
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