Manchester Monarchs 5- Worcester Sharks 2
Monarchs lead series 1-0
And so begins yet another attempt at escaping the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs for my local team.
The AHL affiliate of the LA Kings has been a strong performer in the regular season each of it's six seasons of existance. However, when the playoffs roll around, the Verizon Wireless Arena becomes a house of horrors.
The fact that the Monarchs never advanced past the first round cost Bruce Boudreau his job after four seasons and he immediately went to Hersey and led the Bears to the Calder Cup last season. That was the proverbial salt in the wound for Monarchs fans.
This season, Manchester finished with the second most points in the league (110 points, 4 behind Hershey) and seem to have all the pieces in place thanks to being loaded up a bit by a parent club that is not in the NHL playoffs (Patrick O'Sullivan, Oleg Tverdovsky, and newly signed Brian Boyle late of BC are some of their big name players). The only piece missing right now is AHL goalie of the year Jason LaBarbara. Barbs is out with a "lower body" injury, but should return soon.
Game 2 is Friday night in Manchester and New Hampshire needs to show up. Attendance for game 1 was unusually bad, and that needs to change.