Monarchs Turning Up The Heat
Despite the record cold temperatures, the Monarchs are heating up as they play the beginning part of the second half of the season. The Monarchs are on a four-game winning streak which started the game after they had a three-game winning streak snapped.
In January, the Monarchs have found their stride scoring an average of 3.67 goals per game and have compiled a 7-2-0-0 record. A large reason for the Monarchs recent success has been the play of captain Marc-Andre Cliche, right wing Brian O’Neill and center Andy Andreoff.
“I think anytime you get scoring from your secondary lines, I think you are going to have a lot of success,” said O’Neill who has five assists in his last five games. “When you have the Pearson-Vey-Toffoli line, you are going to get some goals from them pretty much every game. If you can get production from your third and fourth lines then you are going to have a lot of success.”
The three players were put together on the same line in the last few games of December and were reunited in the beginning of January after Andreoff served a three-game suspension. Since being reunited, the trio has combined for 15 points (5-10=15) in the last five games.
“Ever since I started playing with Andy and Marc we have created a lot of chances together and we have been fortunate that they have potted a few goals,” said O’Neill of his linemates. “It is nice to play with those two guys and hopefully we can continue that success.”
Manchester has also seen success because of their stellar goaltending from netminders Martin Jones and Peter Mannino.
“We have had great goaltending all season but especially for the past four games,” reflected O’Neill. “I think that has been a real big key. Jones and Mannino have been just phenomenal. If our line keeps helping to contribute offensively then I think we will be a tough team to beat.”
The Monarchs look to continue their recent success with two road games this weekend against the Connecticut Whale on Friday night and the Portland Pirates on Saturday night. The games are the last two games before the AHL All-Star break.
“It would be nice to finish off the streak we are on and go into the All-Star break on a six-game winning streak,” said O’Neill. “We do have a lot of road hockey games coming up in the second half of the season. It is going to be a battle. I think it would be good for us to take care of our bodies and hopefully we can get these two wins and get a little bit of a cushion for the second half of the season.”
Through a blistering cold January, the Monarchs have heated up in the Atlantic Division, and look ready for a strong playoff push in a tight Eastern Conference race.