The Manchester Monarchs aren’t about to leave town quietly. Although this is the last year of their AHL existence in the Northeast, the Kings’ top minor league affiliate is making a strong statement for their longtime supporters. Like a freight train gaining momentum, after starting slow in the first round, they just completed a sweep of the Hartford Wolf Pack to advance to the AHL Calder Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
Nic Dowd opened the scoring just 3:13 into the first period, converting a rebound opportunity created by his college roommate, defenseman Kevin Gravel. The goal extended Manchester’s streak of scoring first to six straight games and they are now 11-0 in the playoffs when recording the first marker. Los Angeles Kings 2014 first round draft pick, Adrian Kempe, found the back of the net for the second straight game and Brian O’Neill notched an insurance marker in the Monarchs 3-1 road victory.
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 27, 2015
They will play the winner of the Utica-Grand Rapids series next, with the 2015 Calder Cup Final set to open with a pair of games in Manchester on June 6 and 7.
After the game, coach Mike Stothers shared the following…
On the overall game:
“It was alright. We had our moments. But hey, we’re going to the finals so I can’t be too critical of the way we played. First, you should give some props to Hartford. A great team and a hard fought opponent. Now we get some time to rest up and to heal up a little bit and some preparation for whoever it’s going to be, Grand Rapids or Utica.”
On how it feels to get to the finals in his first season in Manchester:
“I’m just happy for the guys, they deserve it. They’re the ones that put all the time in. Its a great bunch of guys, they worked hard all season long and they deserve to be where they’re at.”
On how the team fixed mistakes compared to last night’s win:
“Well we got the result we were looking for. We didn’t want to play any more games than we had to. You don’t want to run the risk of injury or something like that happening and then a team steals a game, they get another game and then next thing you know. We learned a valuable lesson in round one. I liked our focus, I liked our determination and everybody played the right way. We limited them to two chances and more importantly we stayed disciplined and kept their power play off the ice.”
On the status of rookie scoring leader Michael Mersch [who missed Game 4]:
“Michael Mersch is progressing well.”
On if Mersch will be ready for the Calder Cup Finals:
“Well, I don’t have my doctorates degree, so I don’t really know. But I’m sure in the next couple of days well find out.”
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