Final Regular Season Records:
Adirondack Thunder: 41-20-7-4 (93 pts — 1st in North Division, 2nd in Eastern Conf)
Manchester Monarchs: 37-24-7-4 (85 pts — 4th in Mountain Division, 6th in Eastern Conf)
Series Schedule: (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and all times local):
Game 1 – Friday, April 14 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER at 7:00 pm ET
Game 2 – Saturday, April 15 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER at 6:00 pm ET
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 18 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK at 7:00 pm ET
Game 4 – Thursday, April 20 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK at 7:00 pm ET
*Game 5 – Saturday, April 22 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK at 7:00 pm ET
*Game 6 – Tuesday, April 25 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK at 7:00 pm ET
*Game 7 – Wednesday, April 26 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK at 7:00 pm ET
*=> If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
These two teams will hook up for the second straight year in the first round of the playoffs. Last year, the Thunder pulled the upset on the Monarchs. This year, the Monarchs will look to return the favor. This year’s series is heavily in favor of the Adirondack Thunder, who won nine of 15 meetings between the two teams, including the last three times the teams have played.
Peter MacArthur paced the Thunder with seven goals and 19 points while Mason McDonald went 6-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average against Manchester. Matt Leitner had a team-best 18 points (4G, 14A) and Zac Lynch tallied six goals. Sam Brittain appeared in eight games going 4-2-0 with a 3.25 goals-against average, but rookie goaltender Charles Williams, who joined the team late in the regular season, went 3-0-0 in his three appearances with a 2.33 goals-against average and a save percentage of .919.
How Adirondack Wins:
Adirondack has had the clear edge against the Monarchs this season, winning the season series with a 9-4-2 record. Since the two teams joined the ECHL, the Thunder have a 9-5-1 record in Manchester and would need to get one of the two in New Hampshire if they want to make this a short series.
The Thunder will have to stay out of the box if they want to make this a short series. Adirondack’s penalty kill finished 21st in the regular season, allowing 48 power play goals on 260 chances (81.5% kill rate).
While MacDonald and James Henry figure to draw most of the defensive attention from Manchester, they will need depth players like Brock Montgomery and Cullen Bradshaw to contribute offensively as well. Both Montgomery and Bradshaw were point-per-game players during the season series.
How Manchester Wins:
If there is a game that shifted the tide for this Monarchs squad, it was the game where they were thumped by Adirondack 10-4 on February 12. The Monarchs entered that game with a 29-11-4-4 record and have ended the season by going 8-12-3, including a 5-5-0 record in their final 10 games of the season, five of those coming against the Elmira Jackals.
The Monarchs will be forced out of their building after this weekend’s games, playing the final five games of the series in Glens Falls, NY. It is imperative that they use their 23-9-1 home record to their advantage to get a game or two at home before leaving.
Adirondack takes a lot of penalties (most in PIMs in the division — 907 — in the regular season) so Manchester will have to make the most of their power play chances in their series. They will also need players like Daniel Doremus, Joe Diamond, and Matt Leitner to be difference makers five-on-five. During the season series, the trio combined for 10 goals and 29 assists.
Who wins this series?