CCF Game 1: Postgame Comments from Monarchs Coach Stothers

Stothers-Coach-Manchester AHLAn overtime goal from Michael Mersch keeps the Manchester Monarchs streak alive; they remain undefeated in the 2015 post-season when scoring first. Overall, they are 12-0 when getting on the scoreboard ahead of their opponents, including a perfect 8-0 mark at home. The Monarchs have also won Game 1 in every playoff series this year. Following their 3-2 victory over the visiting Utica Comets in the Calder Cup Final series opener, here is what Monarchs coach Mike Stothers shared with the media…

On scoring first:

“Well, it is a team thing. We have tried to do that all season long. I think it was hard to find any ice out there for both teams. A lot of neutral zone congestion and you know what, we were good at keeping things to the outside tonight. We were good at head-maning the puck and trying to not spend time in our end. We were down to five D, we wanted to keep the puck going the other way and not spend any time in our end.”

On what he liked about Andrew Bodnarchuk’s game:

“I always like Bods, I’m a big Bods fan. But I’m a big fan of our group of defensemen. He can skate, Lo Verde can skate, Miller can skate, Gravel can skate and Forbort can skate, so it isn’t that big of a crisis when you go down to five. Those guys can all skate, they log a lot of minutes and they’re in good shape. It isn’t the ideal situation to play that length of time with five, but you’ve got to give your forwards credit too. We did a good job of recognizing when our defensemen had been out there for a good period of time and kept advancing the puck or at least skating it out of our zone so we could get some changes. It is a head up play by everybody, it is a heads up play by Berube to get a faceoff when we needed it.”

On what he learned about the Utica Comets having faced that for the first time this season:

“I learned that they’re a good team, but i knew that going in. I thought it was a great hockey game for game one of the Final. I thought it was terrific hockey and it was decided in overtime. You’ve got two evenly matched teams.”

On the loss of Jeff Schultz tonight and possibly moving forward:

“Schultzy is a big part of our hockey club, his size alone. His reach, he is a great defender and more importantly he is a veteran presence back there. We have faced this all season long. We’ve had guys injured; we’ve had guys recalled. Schultzy was out towards the end of the year and we put other defensemen in. We feel quite confident that whoever we put in, we’ve got Raine we’ve got Ebert. We’ve got guys that have played a lot of hockey for us all season long and ill tell you what; those guys have been working extremely hard. Regardless of what we do tomorrow, whoever we put in, they’ll be ready to play.”

On Michael Mersch’s game:

“You guys keep telling me he was banged up, I told you he was a healthy scratch. Do you not believe that? We had a long talk, we made up, and we’re best friends. It is playoff hockey; guys get hurt and get banged up. Sometimes you can’t play in a back-to-back situation. That’s not to say maybe he couldn’t have played if the situation was different with the series the way it was. But I don’t expect anybody to be healthy right now. That’s the way the game is. It is hard fought out there and I’m sure their guys are banged up too.”

On Mersch’s game considering his extra day off:

“It was a long layoff for everybody. He had one extra day because he didn’t play the last game because he was a healthy scratch. It wasn’t that big of a challenge. We kept ourselves busy, we extended some rest and recovery days and it was what it was. Nothing surprises me with our guys. Our guys they’re good. They’re very focused, very determined and very easy to coach.”

On Bartosak’s status:

“You’re going to get the standard answer from every coach as you guys continue to ask. He’s day to day.”

Game 1 video highlights can be seen down below. Also, additional postgame quotes can be found using these links:
Michael Mersch
JF Berube
Kevin Gravel

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