“It is (nice to bounce back) especially headed into a break. The last thought in your head is the last game you played. So it’s nice to have that go through your head as you’re having your down time. Then you have a good feeling when you step back onto the ice,” Head Coach Mark Morris about the win.

In their last game before a couple much needed days off, the Manchester Monarchs hosted the Albany Devils for the only time in Manchester this season. They were coming off a difficult 3-2 loss to the Providence Bruins the night before in a game they battled hard.

It was only 68 seconds into the game when Manchester got onto the board for the first time in what would end up being the game winning goal. Sean Backman sniped the puck from the right face-off circle to beat Devils net minder, Scott Wedgewood. Backman’s seventh tally of the season came from Derek Forbort.

“It was a clearing attempt by Albany and Forbort kept the puck in. I actually gloved it down and took it around the top there and got it on net. I just managed to find the back of the net there,” Backman said of his goal.

Manchester continued to control the game through the rest of the period, ending up with 15 shots while only allowing the Devils to take 4. The newly reunited line of Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, and Tanner Pearson generated some quality chance with Pearson ringing pucks off one of the posts and the crossbar just in the first period.

The teams came out for the second period and the shots seemed to even out a little bit more with Albany generating a few more chances. It was Andy Andreoff’s turn to get on the score sheet when he put the Monarchs up 2-0 just over four minutes into the second. He made a nice move around Wedgewood and managed to put the puck home. It was his first goal since January 18th and his eighth on the year.

“It’s definitely a relief. When you’re having a tough time scoring, it can weigh on you. But it’s good to get it out of the way and get back like that,” Andreoff said.

Aside from just contributing a goal, Andreoff saw a lot of penalty kill time with Nick Shore. The pair did well when it came time to rely on them. Coach Morris sees Andreoff as someone he can depend on in all types of situations as a really coachable player. Andreoff commented that no matter what line he’s on or what situation he’s in, he’s always ready to play where he’s needed.

The second period scoring did not end there, though. With 1:40 left in the second period, it was Jordan Weal’s turn to add a tally. Jeff Schultz made an excellent pass across the slot that Weal one-timed past Wedgewood. It was not a fast moving puck, but it was still a good goal. It was definitely a pay off for the hard work Weal had been doing on his line with Backman and Brian O’Neill. The three were all working hard together and seemed to be using their speed to their advantage.

“The line that we have with Jordan (Weal) and Brian (O’Neill) has been pretty good the last couple weeks. It’s been great,” Backman said on playing with Weal and O’Neill. “Brian and I try to pound the puck and get it into Jordan’s hands as much as possible. He’s a really skilled player and he makes things happen with the puck.”

When the teams came out for the final period, Albany seemed to have lost what little steam they had left. They managed to put up an impressive 12 shots in the second after only 4 in the first. But they could not seem to get shots off in the final period. Towards the second half of the period, both teams looked like they had taken their foot off the gas a little bit.

With the 3 shots in the third, Martin Jones made 19 saves in the shutout. The Monarchs did a good job of controlling the puck in their defensive zone to help him. Despite the low shot total, Jones did have to come up with some impressive saves to preserve his shutout.

The Monarchs continue to struggle on the power play and have netted only 3 goals on their last 25 attempts. That includes a little over a minute of 5-on-3 play today where they were kept off the board. The newest first power play unit seems dangerous on paper with Tyler Toffoli, Nick Shore, and Tanner Pearson as the forwards, Nick Deslauriers dropping back to defense and Linden Vey acting as the quarterback at the point. However, they still seem to struggle with getting their passing and timing just right.

The AHL takes a couple days off with the All-Star Classic coming in the middle of this week. Schedules resume on Friday when the Monarchs host the Worcester Sharks.

A New England girl, born and raised, Jessica Higham has grown up loving few things more than hockey. Although she has never considered herself to be a good skater, she fell in love with hockey back when boys still had cooties and that love has only grown since. She genuinely wishes she had been alive to enjoy ‘Miracle on Ice’ and considers it to be one of the greatest moments in US history. Nothing compares to the feeling of September coming and signaling the start of a new season, complete with a whole new set of ups and downs. After having been an avid reader and occasional writer, Jessica wanted to try putting the two loves together and writing about hockey. Aside from hockey, Jessica also loves music, going to concerts, animals, and walking on the beach. Email: jessica@thepinkpuck.com @JessicaHigham

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