And 'Away' We Go!
It is here! The 2012-13 AHL regular season is ready to open up this weekend. The Manchester Monarchs open their season with road games against the Providence Bruins on Friday, October 12 and the Albany Devils on Saturday, October 13.
The Monarchs enter the start of the regular season on a roll after winning all three exhibition games last weekend including a 7-1 victory against their Atlantic Division rivals the Portland Pirates in a VIP Cup preview on Monday, October 8.
“It was good to get off to a good start,” said Monarchs right wing Brandon Kozun. “We got three wins and everyone is feeling pretty good about themselves and we have a little bit of confidence in the room right now but we have to stay even keel and just get ready for the regular season.”
When the Monarchs travel to Providence for their first regular season game on Friday, they know they will need to bring more of the same effort they had in their exhibition games.
“I think everyone is excited for that (first game),” said Monarchs second year defenseman Nick Deslauriers. “I think it feels good to get out on the ice, be with the guys and everything. It is always an intense game. I think you have to finish your hits and just play like we did in the three games (because) I think we played great defensively. Offensively, we scored a lot of goals and goalies were good. We just have to keep it going.”
The Monarchs embark on the regular season while still adjusting to a new system but so far the team has been buying in to the change of philosophy.
“I think we have a new system to get used to,” said Deslauriers. “The Kings used it a lot in the playoffs. I think we adjusted pretty good from last year to this year and everyone is buying in which is why I think we played good. I think two out of those three games we started a little sloppy but guys put their heads down and grinded. Those three games were good preparation (for the season).”
As the season begins, fans can expect a skilled Monarchs line-up with the additions of a few familiar faces from the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings team as well as a few faces that are new to the team via the Kings draft picks such as left wing Andy Andreoff, left wing Tanner Pearson, left wing Nikolay Prokhorkin, right wing Tyler Toffoli and center Jordan Weal.
“There are obviously a lot of guys that can put pucks in the net here and we got a few guys down from the Kings as well,” said Kozun. “It is going to be a good league this year and also, it is going to open up a little bit with all the better players coming down. It is probably going to be more of a skilled league than a grinder league.”
The Monarchs and Bruins are familiar opponents of each other. Typically, their match-ups have a lot of close games resulting in some thrilling hockey.
“They always get really good crowds in Providence and with the lockout, I am sure there will be a few (fans) that come from Boston as well,” explained Kozun. “It will be a packed building and they will probably have a pretty good team this year. They signed a couple older guys and it should be good. It should be a fun game with high intensity and I am definitely excited for it.”
One Monarchs player that may be a little more excited than normal is defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk who will be suiting up against his former team for the first time since signing with the Kings this past summer.
“I am excited,” said Bodnarchuk. “It is nice to get it out of the way early. I think everyone in the first game of the season has a little bit of jitters so it is good that I won’t have jitters midway through the season so to say. Their team has changed quite a bit from last year so it will be interesting to see what type of group they have but excited to go back to the old barn. It will be a little eerie being on the other side of the rink and in the other locker room but looking forward to it.”
After a long summer of waiting, the Monarchs regular season is finally here. The only thing left to do is drop the puck!