Hartford CT – A long road, a hard battle, and the Hartford Wolf Pack’s 18th AHL season has come to an end. The Manchester Monarchs, who had been number one in the seeding’s this season, finished their four-game sweep with a 3-1 victory tonight at Hartford’s XL Center.
“This one stings, getting swept especially,” Wolf Pack defenseman Dylan McIlrath said. “We had a great push and battled in the first two rounds. We faced adversity. We faced elimination against Providence [in the first round] and played our best game.”
The Monarchs took their first stab in the net at 3:13 in the first period. The early lead came from Nic Dowd who picked up the puck from teammate David Van der Gulik; the shot was too quick for Wolf Pack’s Yann Danis to get in front of.
Then a glimpse of hope came for the Wolf Pack in the second period when Oscar Lindberg fired a shot at the net, which bounced back and was picked up by Haggerty and slammed home at 1:23. After a few rebound opportunities though, Manchester was able to take the lead again when Adrian Kempe picked up a rebound and sent it past Danis.
“It was really hard for us to generate offense,” said Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander. “I don’t know if we were a really prolific, high-energy, run and gun type of offense prior to this series, but we were certainly able to generate offense and sustain offensive pressure. We just couldn’t get it done in this series like we had in the prior two.”
Then in the third with 11:50 remaining in regulation play the Monarchs were able to score on a delayed penalty. Manchester’s Brian O’Neill managed find an open slot in front of the net and put it through.
“We fought hard in this series, but things just didn’t go our way,” said Chris Bourque. “They’re a really good team and you have to give them credit, but it just seemed a little off all series. We weren’t playing the way we were in the Hershey series and that bit us in the butt, and the next thing you know the series is over.”
The Monarchs will advance onto the Calder Cup Finals; their opponent is still to be determined.
Shots: 31-22 Manchester
1. A. Kempe (Manchester)
2. B. O’Neill (Manchester)
3. R. Haggerty (Hartford)