Michael Mersch Pots Overtime Goal, Talks Monarchs Game 1 Victory

Mersch Game 1 AHL Final by Rich TiltonLA Kings prospect Michael Mersch remains the leading rookie point producer in the 2015 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs, and added to his incredible postseason run by scoring a pair of goals in Manchester’s 3-2 OT victory on Saturday, including the game winner. His first of the night came early in the third period (2:23), on the power play, converting a feed from Nick Shore. Later, Mersch ended the game 4:10 into overtime, as he scored from where he can often be found on the ice – right in front of the net. With his 13 playoff goals this year, the former Wisconsin Badger has now recorded the most goals ever by a Monarchs player in the postseason. Following the Game 1 triumph over Utica, he had this to say..

On the Game 1 victory:

“We put a lot of pucks on net and we knew we would get a rebound once or twice. I think that was the key. Getting the pucks on net, making their goalie a little flustered and playing our style of hockey.”

On how he felt coming in and how he feels after the game:

“It is the playoffs, it is fun. No matter who it is you play with all that you’ve got. You build a lot of character that way. But we had ten days off for rest, which was awesome for the team. We got a few guys hurt or to get your legs back, it was huge for us.”

On what he learned about Utica that can be used tomorrow in Game 2:

“They like to get their forwards going up ice and try to spread us out a little bit. I think that is the main thing we’re going to try and focus on.”

On what his line was able to get done and what they want to build on:

“First of all, we had a lot of guys play hard on the walls. O’Neill scores the big goal to start us off there where he sticks with the play. Then I got a pass from Shoresy that just hit my stick and went in. It is like it is everybody. Our line is contributing and it has been awesome. Jordan Weal and Brian O’Neill are awesome players and you can’t say enough about them. When I get my opportunities I’ve got to bury.”

On what it is like to play with Jordan Weal:

“You have to always be ready because he can put the puck on your stick at any moment. If you want to score goals you’ve got to be ready. He is a highly skilled player, very intelligent, great in his own end with breaking pucks out and stuff like that. I’ve said that a lot this year about him. His defensive game has gone up a whole other level since I’ve been here. It is all the little details that make him a great hockey player.”

On his thoughts during the game winning play:

“I know he’s got great speed and that he is small and explosive, but he is strong too. I knew he was going to take it to the net. I kind of slowed up a second hoping the puck would pop out and it did. It was a hard play to the net by him and I was able to pick up the rebound.”

On missing Game 4 against Hartford and returning tonight and making an impact:

“We had ten days off so you kind of get a little rusty. We had to keep it simple really and find our feet and get pucks on net early and often. Once you do that, come the second and third period your legs get under you and you take it form there.”

On if the team was antsy to start the game:

“Yeah. We had never played this team before so we were anxious to figure out how they play and what guys’ tendencies are. I think JF summed it up pretty well. Once you warm up and get your feet under you a little bit you just play.”

On if it is important to get a lot of shots on goal against a new opponent:

“Yeah absolutely. You create those second opportunities and you’re not making 50/50 plays. You’re just getting pucks to the net which is a sure thing, and plays will develop off of that.”

On if they need to clean up anything as a team for Game 2:

“The neutral zone stuff, the neutral zone forecheck. That is the biggest thing i think from my personal opinion. Coaches are going to go in and watch video and see a whole lot of different things. When you’re in the game, you just kind of play, so they could see something on video.”

On if they focused on breaking down video from the other series that Utica played:

“I think you do that with every team, but especially them since we haven’t played them this year. You do as much as you can but nothing is like playing them. The video does help, you have to have some sort of game plan against the other team.”

Do not miss what LA Kings Director of Scouting Mark Yannetti had to say about Mersch on Friday – posted here.

Also, postgame comments from Monarchs coach Mike Stothers have been posted here… and comments from goaltender JF Berube are up here.

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