MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Manchester Monarchs find themselves on the edge of elimination from the Kelly Cup Playoffs after a shutout loss to the Adirondack Thunder Sunday night at SNHU Arena.
The Monarchs (6-3) could not find a way to get the puck around Thunder goaltender Drew Fielding, who pitched the 37 shot shutout on the road. On the other side, Adirondack (7-2) absolutely victimized Monarchs’ goaltender Evan Cowley, potting four goals in just 16 shots. After taking two wins on the road from the North Division champs, the Monarchs couldn’t seal the deal at home and now find themselves one game from a premature end to their season.
Adirondack scored first at 9:52 of the opening period, on a wrister from Colton White. White received the puck in the neutral zone from Pierre-Luc Mercier, making his move into the Monarchs’ end and inside the left circle. His shot would beat Cowley’s glove to make it 1-0.
They wouldn’t score again until 4:18 of the second. After a Monarchs’ turnover in their end, James Henry centered the puck to find a waiting Ryan Schmelzer. Schmelzer’s wrist shot would best Cowley to make it 2-0 Thunder.
Goal number three came at 12:29 of the second. Schmelzer would get the assist this time, passing the puck to a waiting Blake Thompson. Thompson went from the blue line to the popular left-wing circle, where he fired the shot past Cowley to make it 3-0.
The third goal of the middle period came just a short time later at 14:49, this time from Mike Szmatula. Szmatula moved down the left boards and through into the slot, moving to the backhand to beat the glove of Cowley yet again to give the Thunder a four-goal lead.
Cowley would be pulled for Charles Williams after that goal, but their luck would not improve. Just 1:40 into the third, they would score yet again. Szmatula took a pass from Terrence Wallin and skated to the crease, where he beat Williams glove-side to make it 5-0.
The gravy goal came from former Monarch Kenton Miller at 11:49 of the third. Cherry picking in front of the night, Miller would get the pass from Henry and scored the first stick-side goal of the night, beating Williams to make it a final score of 6-0 on the night.
The Takeaway – After playing two solid games in Thunder for wins, the Monarchs had the opportunity to close out the series at the SNHU, and they dropped the ball, and in a big way. This was a demoralizing loss for any team, and now they find themselves facing two straight elimination games, including one tonight at home. It’ll be interesting to see if and how they recover from it. If they can bounce back from such a drubbing, then game seven will be totally up for grabs. If not, it’ll be “see you next year.” It’ll be up to Sealey, Giuliano, and team leaders David Kolomatis and Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman to rally the team and try to get it done.
The Thunder and Monarchs face game six tonight, with everything on the line for the boys from Manchester. Puck drop is 7:00 pm EDT at SNHU Arena.