Playoff Hopes On Monarchs Sticks
Each season, 30 American Hockey League teams compete for 16 playoff spots with eight seeds up for grabs in each the Eastern and the Western Conferences. The Monarchs currently rank seventh in the Eastern Conference, holding a one point edge over the eighth place Albany Devils and two points over the Worcester Sharks and Adirondack Phantoms.
There is also a possibility for the Portland Pirates, Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Falcons to sneak into the playoffs as they only trail the Monarchs by three points for a total of 62 on the season. With so many teams battling for the final playoff seeds, the Eastern Conference playoff race is sure to come down to the final game of the regular season.
The playoff race has been tight all season and the Monarchs are keeping a close eye on the standings.
“That is something over the past couple of weeks you start to look at it every single night,” said Monarchs defenseman Thomas Hickey about watching the playoff race surrounding the Monarchs. “You don’t want to have to watch the other teams play and watch them score but the fact that we have played more games, we have had some time to sit back and the watch other teams play, you definitely keep an eye on it.”
While the Monarchs look at the standings, do not expect them to get caught up in playing “what if” scenarios.
“You hope those teams lose but at the same time, with 13 games it doesn’t matter if other teams have more games in hand on you,” said Hickey. “If you take care of your own business there is more than a better chance you will be in the playoffs.”
Hickey expects the remaining 13 games to be treated like playoff games with high intensity and desperation to earn points.
“You look at the opportunities and there are a lot of divisional games and head-to-heads where the other team is not getting points,” said Hickey. “You could come away with a four point swing. So it is important to focus in on all those games, not just the divisional ones. It seems every game has playoff implications.
Manchester has an opportunity to create some separation from the teams below them in the standings when they face-off with the St. John’s IceCaps at the Mile One Centre for a two-game series this weekend.
“Obviously, we know we only have 13 games left and we need as many points as we can get,” said Monarchs center Marc-Andre Cliche. “Even though we went there (St. John’s) before and we lost two games, we know it is going to be tough but every point counts. So if you can get one or two (wins) that would be really good.”
The Monarchs know they have a good chance at post-season play and know what they have to do if they want to play past Sunday, April 15.