Stothers Wants to Talk Monarchs Players After Round 1 Victory

Stothers-Coach-Manchester AHLManchester rallied from giving away a 2-0 in their opening round series with Portland to eventually being tied 2-2 in the series and tied 3-3 entering the third period of Game 5. A pair of goals early in that final stanza helped push them out of the first round, though, and gave them their first playoff series win since 2009-10. Here are some quick quotes from Monarchs coach Mike Stothers after the team’s big win on Saturday…

On the overall game:

“We didn’t seem to make anything easy on ourselves, but Portland showed why they belonged in the playoffs. They had to do it at the end of the year, and they had to come from behind to do it. Portland should be very proud of their team. I’m more so proud of our guys. It was a hard fought battle and I think it was good for us to handle a little bit of adversity. We battled through it.”

On if he ever considered replacing JF Berube with Patrick Bartosak:

“Is there anybody in this league that has more than 37 wins? The answer to that would be a resounding no.”

On the feeling after getting two quick goals early in the third period:

“It’s happened before. We had to come out and score some goals, and we did. Fortunately for us, we have the depth and the guys who are able to step up their game. Look at Michael Mersch; he stepped up his game again. We know we always have a Weal, and an O’Neill, and now we have Shore. I know I’m leaving other guys out, but that’s the beauty of it. We never get too discouraged because we know we have somebody within our collection of guys who is going to step up their game.”

On Michael Mersch’s development this year:

“I don’t’ know if we have enough time to talk about Merschy. I just think the world of him as a hockey player, and as a person. This kid just wants to play. He plays the game the right way. He plays hard, he plays heavy, he goes to the areas you want him to. I think you can tell the trust that I have in him. When we need a big goal or a big play, he’s out on the ice. If we need to protect a lead, he’s out for defensive zone faceoffs, blocking shots; he’s a guy you can count on. The thing about him is, he’s just so unassuming. He’s so humble, he’s a great person. I think there’s a real good future for Michael Mersch.”

On how Mersch seems to fit with anybody he’s paired with:

“He’s one of those guys that other guys want to play with. He doesn’t care who he plays with. He’s not one of those guys who has to play with certain individuals. It doesn’t matter. He just wants to play.”

On Jordan Weal in the first round:

“He’s another one. This kid is going to play. He’s just an elite player at this level. He’s done it for us all season long. You guys saw it last year, and I got to see him in junior too. I got to see him when he was playing Regina when I was coaching in Moose Jaw. He was a dominate player. You built your whole game plan around stopping Jordan Weal… This kid, you don’t see that type of offense or that puck sense very often – mixed in with speed, quickness. He’s pretty good.”

On Berube being able to close things down in the third:

“You get a pretty good feel about your players as you go through the season; they’ve never let me down. Each and every one of them has played hard for this team, and for each other. Would he like to have a couple of them back? Sure. But, you know what, players turn pucks over, guys miss assignments. You don’t just automatically pull him out. You might talk to him a bit, you might address things a bit. You might ask him, ‘Do you need to my glasses?’ But you have to have faith in the people who got you to where you are, and I have a lot of faith in our team.”

On if the Monarchs past struggles in the playoffs motivates him to do more this year:

“It kind of looks like we’re still struggling because we didn’t make things easy on ourselves. I didn’t put much stock in that, though, because I wasn’t here for it. What they did in the past means nothing to me. Matter of fact, what we did in the regular season now means nothing. We’re on a mission and we know it’s going to get tougher. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the AHL or the NHL, the first round is a tough round to get through. This was a three out of five, that’s not easy. And, again, our opponent was very good.”

On having a few days of rest:

“Tomorrow will be a recovery day. I’ll probably look at some film and maybe enjoy a nice cigar. I’ll play with my dogs for a while and live a normal life for a day. Then, I’ll get right back to work on Monday.”

NOTE: A full game recap and analysis, including line combos and video highlights, can be found here.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] have been easy for Stothers to pull Berube after the third goal, but the coach indicated that it never crossed his mind. Though his troubling play continues, Berube tightened up his game in the third. Strangely, Berube […]

  2. […] ongoing development after his team eliminated Portland from post-season play (read those comments here). Arguably the Monarchs best player over the final few months of the season, Mersch tied for second […]

  3. […] shaky moments in the Monarchs opening round against the Portland Pirates. However, his coach was rather emphatic when asked if he ever had thoughts of pulling the Kings goaltending prospect – insisting it was never even […]

  4. […] of the post-season. His coach showed unwavering support for the Kings 2009 draft pick, offering a rather pointed reply when asked if he ever had thoughts of pulling him. That faith was rewarded in the second round, where Berube posted a .929 save percentage and only […]