Backs Against The Wall
The Manchester Monarchs trail the best-of-five series against the Norfolk Admirals, 2-1, after dropping Game 3 of the 2012 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinals match-up on Wednesday night. The Admirals came out fast and hard at the Monarchs in Game 3 following Manchester’s Game 2 victory ending Norfolk’s record 29-game winning streak. Manchester now faces elimination entering Game 4 on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Desperation for the Monarchs is at a season high but they have been playing “desperate hockey” for much of the last two months as they had to keep pace with multiple teams vying for one of the final seeds in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. If past experiences are any indication of how this season’s Monarchs will play in Game 4, be on the lookout for a fast, hard-hitting and tightly played affair with Manchester having a chance to force a fifth and decisive game on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
“It is a big game and we have our backs against the wall but we have been in these situations all year,” said right wing Linden Vey who leads the Monarchs with five points (2-3=5) in the first three games. “It came down to the last weekend for us to get into the playoffs and we battled through and have stuck together, so we know what it feels like to be in this position.”
This time around, it may feel slightly different as playoff games have increased the emotions and effort put forth into each shot and check into the boards.
“Playoffs are just that more intense,” explained Vey. “I think guys are playing for each other. When it comes down to the playoffs everyone wants to win and you want to win for each other. The intensity in these games gets ramped up that much more.”
The formula for playoff success is not too different from the key to the regular season.
“We have to play 60 minutes,” said defenseman Nick Deslauriers. “Even during the regular season, but especially in the playoffs, it is crucial. We have to play not 55, not 58, but a full 60 minutes to win the game. If we do not play for five minutes on our side, then it could kill us. It has to be a 60 minute hard effort.”
Even with their backs against the wall, the Monarchs will not enter Game 4 with a los of nerves.
“No (nerves), I think we missed a lot of chances,” said Deslauriers about the Monarchs offensive performance in Game 3. “I think we have to capitalize on those and shoot more. We just looked at the video and I think if we can put a couple pucks in more than the chances we missed then it is a new game. It was not a 5-2 game. We just have to capitalize on our chances and we will be fine.”
The Monarchs should have confidence in their game. The first three games of the series have all been close games. Norfolk was saved by the final horn before the Monarchs could score the equalizer to win Game 1 by a score of 3-2. The Monarchs broke a tie game in the third period to win Game 2 and in Game 3 the Admirals held on to a one-goal third period lead before scoring two late goals for a final score of 5-2.
“You keep doing the same things you have been doing all year,” said Vey. “You have to make sure to work hard and get pucks to the net. I think we are going to set the tone and make sure we are ready all game.”
Their backs may be against the wall but their playoff future is ahead of them. All they have to do is Bring It On Home.