Power-ful Play Gives Monarchs Advantage
After failing to score in consecutive games last weekend, the Manchester Monarchs defeated the reigning Atlantic Division Champion St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday night behind three power play goals. The Monarchs productive power play to begin the season is a large part why the Monarchs are ranked first in the division standings over teams like the IceCaps and Providence Bruins who come to Manchester for Mullets In Movember this Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Monarchs power play ranks second in the American Hockey League with a 25.6 percent (11-of-43) success rate. They have scored at least one power play goal in seven of their nine games this season and it has the Monarchs off to a fast start with 13 points, a record of 6-2-0-1 and has the team sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Monarchs timing on the power play could not be better right now.
“Timing is key,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It makes such a huge difference. You look at guys like (Linden) Vey, (Tyler) Toffoli, (Brandon) Kozun, (Jordan) Weal, (Brian) O’Neill, (Robbie) Czarnik and (Tanner) Pearson, some of those young skill guys are known as being prolific scorers in the respective leagues they came from and now they have blended in nicely with our veteran players because they have learned the game at the pro level. They know how to stick their nose in puck battles and high traffic areas like in front of the net. When you are doing those things and your ‘D’ are getting the puck to the net at the right time or there is the right timing between a point shot and a tip then you are bound to get a lot of great chances. It is a lot of little things that add up to a productive unit.”
While the Monarchs practice all the little details on the power play such as stick positioning or body position in front of the net, a successful power play usually boils down to one thing.
“I think the biggest thing in a power play is work,” said right wing Brandon Kozun who scored two power play goals in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over the IceCaps. “If you have five guys that are working for it then you will obviously get your chances. I think that is what is working with us right now that everyone is working for each other and supporting each other and we are getting pucks to the net and getting in front of the goalie as well. They won’t always be pretty but it is usually those second and third efforts that get the pucks in the net and is usually what a good power play is all about.”
On many occasions this season, the Monarchs power play success has been a result of outworking their opponents and forcing their opponents to take penalties.
“I think it was kind of a reflection of our start yesterday,” said Kozun. “We got off to a good start and everyone was moving their feet and we drew a couple penalties. Then the power play went out there and did a good job and kick started everything.”
The Monarchs look to continue their ‘powerful’ message on special teams as they square-off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and the Bruins at Mullets In Movember on Saturday night. Sound Tigers Head Coach Scott Pellerin will make his return to the Jungle for the first time since leaving Manchester in July following six years as the Monarchs Assistant Coach.