For the third straight night in a row, the Monarchs allowed their opponent to get a two goal lead, but this time they unable to answer back. Sunday afternoon the Worcester Sharks shutout the Manchester Monarchs 3-0 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
“It was a game where we weren’t very sharp” head coach Mike Stothers said. “It was not just any one individual, but it was the whole team.”
For the fifth consecutive game, the Monarchs surrendered the first goal of the game to the opposing team, forcing them to kick it into high gear as they struggled to even the score. From the very beginning of the game, the Monarchs focused on making physical body contact with the Sharks’ players. By doing so, the Monarchs allowed themselves to get caught up occupying the body which caused them to lose track of the puck. This is exactly how the Sharks scored their first goal of the game.
At just 36 seconds into the game the Sharks’ John McCarthy found the back of the net after receiving a feed from teammate, Ryan Carpenter. The play started with Eriah Hayes who carried the puck behind the net against the boards where the Monarchs defense worked to force him off the puck. While Hayes was pressed against the boards, Carpenter skated back for support by scooping up the puck and quickly transferring it to the front of the goal for McCarthy to finish on net.
Following this goal, the Monarchs continued to struggle to generate solid offensive opportunities. The team repeatedly shot the puck wide or sent it directly into the Sharks, leading to multiple turnovers in their offensive end. However, the Monarchs did demonstrate some flawless tape-to-tape passing at times which proved effective in working the puck up ice. Although they often chose to attempt to skate the puck into the Shark’s zone rather than using swift passes.
Tempers began to flare midway through the first period as both teams continually exchanged hits or slashes out of the play and after the whistle was blown. At 14:54 in the first, Monarchs Andrew Bodnarchuk tried to spark his team’s energy by dropping the gloves with Sharks’ Rylan Schwarts. The fight caused the Monarchs’ momentum to increase, but they still paled in comparison to the aggressive play by the Sharks.
The Sharks doubled their lead just 2:58 into the second period when Taylor Fedun sent a backhander over the shoulder of Monarchs’ goaltender, Jean-Francois Berube. This play served as a perfect display of the Sharks working together as a team and utilizing their patient offense. Teammate, Chris Crane helped set the play in motion by sending the puck to Schwartz and then quickly positioning himself in front of Berube as a screen.
The remainder of the game continued to be scoreless for the Monarchs, despite an occasional surge of offensive action. Despite their efforts to generate offense, they were no match for the Sharks’ strong defensive play. Throughout the game, the Monarchs were unable to hold onto their rebounds, which the Sharks were quick to take advantage of by cleaning up the trash their opponent left behind. This flaw in the Monarchs’ play help lead to the inevitable loss. The Sharks truly sealed the deal at 18:17 when Willie Coetzee notched an empty netter with assists from Crane and Schwartz.
The Monarchs return to the ice Friday February 27 when they host the Hartford Wolfpack for a 7pm match-up. Head Coach, Mike Stothers, shared some of his thoughts regarding how the Monarchs plan to prepare for yet another busy weekend of play.
“Tuesday we’ll go back on the ice and we’ll just do what we do” Stothers stated. “[We will] try to work out all our systems and get as much crammed into the week as we can and get ready for next weekend.”
Looking forward, the Monarchs plan to work out all their kinks before getting back in action as they take on the WolfPack at home.