Monarchs roll up their sleeves for Game 4
MANCHESTER - They got one. That's a third of the battle.
The Manchester Monarchs still trail their best-of-five American Hockey League Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Springfield Falcons two games to one.
They will try to stare down elimination again tonight when the teams meet in Game 4 at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7 p.m. Game 5, if necessary, is scheduled for Springfield on Sunday at 4.
The Monarchs had never won a game when facing elimination before they held off Springfield, 2-1, on Thursday night at the Verizon. They were 0-10 in previous elimination games.
"It was do or die," said forward David Meckler after his second-period power-play goal lifted Manchester to the win. "We were playing for our season. Our team stepped up. We've got to do it two more times."
Meckler provided the winning goal when he knocked in a rebound with 4:30 left to play in the second period.
Goalie Martin Jones, who had 31 saves, and the defense shut down the Falcons the rest of the way.
The Monarchs, the No. 7 seed to the Falcons' No. 2, sunk into a two games-to-none hole with a pair of overtime losses last weekend at Springfield. They were happy with their compete level and how they played for the most part, but had nothing to show for the first weekend of the playoffs.
Nothing tangible, that is.
"Losing twice in overtime just shows that you could have won," Meckler said. "With a couple of bounces, a couple of shots, we could have won both of those games. . . . We were able to build some confidence even though we lost."
They'll need it going forward.
"We definitely have a lot of work ahead," Meckler said. "I think we're willing to do it and we've got to take it one shift at a time."
Monarch defenseman Nick Deslauriers opened the scoring with his second goal of the series, on the power play, just 4:49 into the game.
Springfield defenseman David Savard tied it less than four minutes later with his second of the series, also on the power play.
Colton Yellow Horn and Meckler had assists on the first Manchester goal and Jordan Weal and Brandon Kozun had them on the second.
"We had good contributions from a lot of players," said Manchester coach Mark Morris. "Hopefully we built a little momentum. Every game is a battle."
THE MONARCHS went two-for-four on the power play on Thursday night. Springfield was 1-for-8. . . . The Providence Bruins, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, also face elimination tonight. They lost a pair of games at home to No. 8 Hershey, 5-2 and 5-4 last weekend, and now must win a pair of games at Hershey just to stay alive and take the series to a Game 5. . . . The Portland Pirates are already done. The No. 6 seed, they lost a pair of games at No. 3 Syracuse last weekend. On Thursday, they upped their lead over the Crunch to 3-1 with 9:13 left in regulation. Syracuse quickly pulled back to within one goal and then Ondrej Palat scored with 1:12 to go to get it to overtime. Palat scored again with seven seconds left in OT to end Portland's season.