Final Regular Season Records:
Manchester Monarchs: 39-24-9 (87 pts – East Division Champions)
Adirondack Thunder: 38-28-6 (82 pts)
Game Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and All Times Local)
Game 1 – Wed., April 13 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER 7:00 pm
Game 2 – Fri., April 15 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER 7:00 pm
Game 3 – Sat., April 16 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK 7:30 pm
Game 4 – Mon., April 18 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK 7:00 pm
*Game 5 – Wed., April 20 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER 7:00 pm
*Game 6 – Fri., April 22 – Manchester at ADIRONDACK 7:00 pm
*Game 7 – Sat., April 23 – Adirondack at MANCHESTER 7:00 pm
* = if necessary
Season Series Recap: They say familiarity breeds contempt and this is a series of two teams who are more than familiar with each other. Of all the playoff matchups, the Monarchs and Thunder have met the most during the regular season with these teams going head-to-head 15 times in the campaign. The Monarchs came away with a 8-6-1 record with the Thunder posting a 7-5-3 record of their own.
How Manchester Wins: With an impressive crop of rookies, only Zac Larraza broke the 20-goal mark on the year, with him leading the way against the Thunder in the 15 games. Manchester’s leading scorer, Maxim Kitsyn, put up 10 of his 55 points against the Thunder, while Gasper Kopitar was tied for the assists lead in the season series with Kitsyn with six helpers in the 15 games between the two. Despite having the fifth best power play in the ECHL this year (19.5%, 47-for-241), the Monarchs only were able to have a 15.5% efficiency rate against the Thunder during the 15 games head-to-head. Expect Doug Carr to continue his solid play in net against the Thunder, as he was 4-1-0 with a 2.23 GAA when facing Adirondack this season.
How Adirondack Wins: The Thunder’s success this year has been thanks in large part to Michael Kirkpatrick, who lead all rookies with 29 goals this season. Six of those goals came against the Monarchs, as well as 13 of his 60 points. The addition of Mitchell Heard from Stockton in the AHL should help Kirkpatrick’s workload. Heard potted two goals and add six assists in his seven appearances in this season. Though he was solid everywhere else, Ken Appleby has only two wins against the Monarchs and sported a 2.60 GAA against them in five appearances this season. Don’t be surprised if head coach Cail MacLean turns to Drew Fielding, who had three wins and a 2.35 GAA versus Manchester this year, should Appleby have a hiccup.