MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Adirondack Thunder and Manchester Monarchs took to the ice Saturday for game five of their North Division semifinal series. The Thunder had been down 3-0 in the series, but stayed alive with an impressive third-period comeback victory in game four Friday night.

The Monarchs got on the board first Saturday night. With 20.3 seconds remaining in the opening frame, former Thunder forward Pierre-Luc Mercier lifted the puck over Adirondack goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos and into the net.

The Thunder tied the game in the middle of the second period. Monarchs goaltender Charles Williams made the initial save on John Edwardh‘s shot, but the puck trickled behind him and sat unattended just long enough for the Thunder skaters to dive in and take pokes at it. Through a scramble in front, Mike Szmatula was able to poke the puck past the goal line.

Kevin Dufour was able to regain the lead a few minutes later when he tipped in a shot from David Kolomatis.  The Monarchs headed into the final frame up 2-1.

Only 24 seconds into the third, the Monarchs extended their lead with a breakaway goal from Michael Doherty. Pavel Jenys added another goal 2:10 later, and the floodgates had been opened. Sam Kurker made it 5-1 five minutes later with his rebound goal. With Manchester’s Mercier in the penalty box, Adirondack pulled Sakellaropoulos for an extra skater and the 6-on-4 man advantage. Doherty fired down the ice and into the open net. A couple of minutes later, with Sakellaropoulos back in net, Dufour added another for good measure.  With the five third period goals, the Monarchs finished the night with a 7-1 rout over the Thunder. Thunder alternate captain Peter MacArthur spoke after the game and said the third Manchester goal at the start of the final period was the backbreaker:

“it’s 2-1, a goal early in the third is not a good way for us to try to get back in the game.”

Special teams killed the Thunder Saturday night. The Monarchs scored three goals on the power play and two shorthanded.

Saturday was MacArthur’s final pro game. He said he’ll look back fondly on his teammates this season, especially Shane Conacher, who battled cancer earlier in the season.

“just a very resilient group, just good people.  it will be easy to look back on good memories with good guys who worked hard toward a common goal.  as cliché as that is, you don’t always get it, so I feel fortunate for that for sure.”

“shane conacher.  life’s bigger than the sport.  we had a special group, with something like that.”

The Monarchs move on to the North Division final series against either Newfoundland Growlers or Brampton Beast.  Newfoundland currently leads that series 3-2.

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